William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth is set in Scotland in the 11th century and displays one man’s fatal attempt to seize power. As we meet Macbeth in the beginning of the play, he has just won a battle against a rebel army for his king. He is a well-respected nobleman and soldier and favoured by King Duncan, and he seems to have a close and loving relationship with his wife, Lady Macbeth.
However, things change when he and his fellow nobleman Banquo come across three witches who predict that Macbeth will gain two new titles on top of him already being thane of Glamis: He will become thane of Cawdor and then king. Banquo, in turn, will not become king, but he will be the father of many kings. This prophecy from the witches kick-starts Macbeth’s ambition, and when he is soon after made thane of Cawdor, he decides to act.
He informs his wife about the prophecy, and because Lady Macbeth is worried that her husband is too weak to seize power, she asks evil spirits to fill her with cruelty so she may help him. When her husband soon after seems to be losing his courage, she asks him to act like a man and tells him about her plan: As King Duncan stays the night at their castle, Macbeth must murder him. Lady Macbeth will get the King’s servants drunk and make it look like they committed the murder.