[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lady_macbeth.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Fill me from the crown to the toe top full / Of direst cruelty!]]

->''"By the pricking of my thumbs,\\
Something wicked this way comes..."''
-->--'''[[BlackMagic The Weird Sisters]]''', ''Macbeth''

''The Tragedy of Macbeth'' is a 1606 play written by Creator/WilliamShakespeare. It was written at the express request of King James I/VI of England and Scotland, who asked Shakespeare to present a new play to honor his visitor, the King of Denmark.

The play takes place in the Scottish Highlands. Fresh from putting down a rebellion against King Duncan, Lord Macbeth meets three witches who relate a series of prophecies, one of them being that he will rule Scotland. When one of the other seemingly unlikely predictions comes true, his scheming and heartless wife convinces him to kill Duncan and his heir. Both are driven mad with guilt; while Lady Macbeth copes by sleepwalking and then [[DrivenToSuicide killing herself]], Macbeth enters into a paranoid frenzy, [[HeKnowsTooMuch killing everyone in sight]] in order to consolidate his power -- especially after the witches predict that "NoManOfWomanBorn" shall slay him. After being visited by the ghost of one of his victims, Macbeth is overthrown and killed by Macduff, who was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped" -- in other words, delivered via crude caesarean section from his mother's dead or dying body. [[DidntSeeThatComing D'oh.]]

Many of the inconsistencies in ''Macbeth'' come from the fact that Macbeth was a real person who was featured in ''Holinshead's Chronicles'', a best-selling popular history of Shakespeare's time. Holinshead played fast and light with the facts in many cases, though -- for instance, he includes legendary or wholly fictional characters such as Fleance, who was supposedly an ancestor of the Scottish royal family. (In the play as produced now, Fleance disappears in Act Three: in the original 1606 presentation, he was brought back on stage after the play in a "[[ViewersAreMorons dumb show]]" that explained he was the ancestor of the [[TheHouseOfStuart Stuarts]].) Holinshead also refers to Lady Macbeth as "burning with an unquenchable desire to bear the name of a queen". In reality he had no historical justification for this -- the only thing that's actually known about Lady Macbeth is that she existed (and that her first name was Gruoch, and that Macbeth was her second husband) -- but Shakespeare turned that one sentence into one of his best-known female characters.

Shakespeare also takes liberties with the facts, although in his case his changes are {{justifi|edTrope}}able as they [[PragmaticAdaptation improve the dramatic tension and the flow of the action]]; after all, he was writing a play, not a history. For instance, he makes Duncan a wise, old good king ([[AlternateCharacterInterpretation at least superficially]]) instead of a young wastrel, he has Macbeth [[DickDastardlyStopsToCheat kill him while sleeping instead of in a fair fight]], and he compresses the action into two seasons when the real Macbeth ruled for 17 years (and successfully).

Another source of the inconsistencies is that Shakespeare wanted to get in all kinds of things that he thought King James would like -- witches, ghosts, the legitimacy of the Stuart line, the divine right of kings (something James was for, to put it mildly), and the portrayal of his Scottish ancestors as [[ProudWarriorRace noble and warrior-like]]. The fact that Shakespeare [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar snuck in]] the trope that "power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely" -- possibly a criticism of James's desire for absolute power -- was not noticed until after Shakespeare had died, and may not even be noticed these days by readers [[JustHereForGodzilla looking for the blood and guts]]. And yet, even considering all this, the play still endures to this day.

Superstitious actors refer to this as "[[TheScottishTrope The Scottish Play]]" (or, occasionally, "The Tartans"). The head role is "The King" or "Mackers" anywhere outside the play itself. And though the script calls for it, sometimes things still happen, though they are usually less injurious. Some of the wackier ones talk about [[McDonalds The Scottish Restaurant]].
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!!TropeNamer for:
* EyeOfNewt
* LadyMacbeth
* NoManOfWomanBorn
* OutDamnedSpot
* TheScottishTrope
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!!Notable adaptations:
* The 1936 "voodoo" stage production by the Negro People's Theatre (an all-black unit of the Federal Theatre Project), directed by Creator/OrsonWelles and set in Haiti, was considered one of the best stage productions in history. (A snippet of this production was filmed for the WPA newsreel [[https://archive.org/details/we_work_again_1937 "We Work Again."]])
* Welles also made a film version in 1948, where he played the title role.
* Creator/RomanPolanski's 1971 film version, memorable for its explicit violence (allegedly influenced by [[CreatorBreakdown the murder of Polanski's wife and unborn child]] by the UsefulNotes/MansonFamily) and for Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalking scene (non-explicit). This is notable for being produced by [[Magazine/{{Playboy}} Playboy Productions]], as part of a short-lived attempt to create a mainstream film arm as well as a personal attempt by Polanski's friends to pull him out of depression.
** Oddly enough, the Welles and Polanski films are the only two straight film adaptations ever made of this, one of Shakespeare's most famous plays.
* ''Film/ThroneOfBlood'', Creator/AkiraKurosawa's take on the story, set in feudal Japan. Considered by many to be the best film adaptation of the material.
* ''From a Jack to a King''- Bob Carlton musical, with a lot of Sixties songs.
* It's one of the four adapted-to-modern-times stories from the 2006 BBC mini-series ShakespeareReTold. They changed the setting to a plush Glaswegian restaurant. Duncan is the owner, who carries the laurels off the actual chef, Macbeth (played by JamesMcAvoy).
* ''ScotlandPA'', a dark comedy also set in a restaurant, this one in 1970s Pennsylvania.
* One of several Shakespeare plays adapted into a GraphicNovel. Available in original Shakespearean, modern text, and a paraphrased version.
* ''Mac Homer'', Rick Miller's one-man show, which casts ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' characters in the roles. While largely following the play's basic story, many liberties, [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth wall breaks]] and {{lampshade|Hanging}}s unsurprisingly occur for comedic effect.
* A 2006 Australian film starring Sam Worthington, with a SettingUpdate to the [[{{Underbelly}} Melbourne ganglands]]. It sticks to the play fairly well, but adds a few silent scenes, and suggests that Lady Macbeth acted out of grief of a dead child. And she's also a cocaine addict.
* Punchdrunk and Emursive produced a loose adaptation of ''Macbeth'' mixed with elements of Hitchcock, styled in the late 1930s: Sleep No More. Characters are lifted from The Scottish Play and mingle with ones from Hitchcock's Rebecca. Bernard Herrmann's soundtracks are heard throughout the immersive play.
* A 2007 West End stage production with a SettingUpdate to a vaguely Soviet-Russia-[[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed esque]] or AlternativeHistory setting, starring Creator/PatrickStewart. Transferred to Broadway in 2008, and adapted into a television production in 2010. Free to watch on http://video.pbs.org/video/1604122998/.
* An audio novelization by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson, narrated by Alan Cumming. It features deep analysis of several characters, portraying both Macbeth and his wife as tragic figures.
* In music, Jag Panzer's "Thane to the Throne" and Rebellion's "Shakespeare's Macbeth A Tragedy in Steel" metal albums.
* An upcoming film adaptation starring Creator/MichaelFassbender and Creator/MarionCotillard, set for release in 2015.
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!!The Scottish Play provides examples of the following tropes:
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%% Zero Context Examples have been commented out. Please write up an actual example before uncommenting.
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* AdaptationalVillainy: Ross in the Polanski film, an AscendedExtra who becomes the Third Murderer and is instrumental in the murder of Macduff's family, [[KarmaHoudini but gets off scot-free]] when he defects to Malcolm.
* AgeLift: When Patrick Stewart played the role, the portrayal of the character was changed into that of an aging general with a young trophy wife, rather than the vigorous thirty-something (sometimes forty-something) warrior he is portrayed as in most film and stage productions of the last century.
* AllWitchesHaveCats: One of the witches has a {{Familiar}} named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimalkin Greymalkin]], a name associated with witches' cats.
%%* AlmostDeadGuy
* AmbiguousGender: Banquo is unsure what gender the three witches are. Remember that the play was written in a time where only men were allowed to be actors, meaning that the witches were originally played by men pretending to be women, so his line that they have beards is likely an inside joke. In the Globe version, this caused the actors to do a rather hilarious double take.
** The 2007 RSC version plays it differently -- the line about "beards" is ''sarcasm'' on Banquo's part. The witches are dressed as hospital nurses complete with surgical masks.
* AmbiguouslyHuman: The Witches, which seem to have attributes that a normal human would never have.
* AmbitionIsEvil: At least if you have to murder your king for it. What's especially sad is that Macbeth had already gained enormous prestige and rewards for his heroism in putting down the rebellion and invasion from Norway, and the high esteem he was held in by Duncan would have given him tremendous influence even if the king had stayed alive and passed the throne on to Malcolm. At that period in Scottish history the kingship was more adoptive than hereditary, and Macbeth, as a successful general and a lord in his own right, had every reason to suppose that he might be tapped as next in line to the throne. (This is the back-story to the part about "if chance will have me king, then chance may crown me" and the reason he is so shocked when Duncan names his son Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland, i.e. heir to the throne.) In real life, Macbeth drew his support from the more conservative element in the Scots ruling class, who were horrified at the thought that supreme power might become a monopoly of one family. In that sense, he might be seen as the DarkerAndEdgier version of Brutus in Shakespeare's ''Julius Caesar.''
* AndYourLittleDogToo: Macbeth goes after his families of his numerous enemies. Banquo's son, Fleance, manages to escape, leaving Macbeth in mortal fear of some future revenge.
* AntiVillain: Macduff, who is the hero of the play despite also being it's main antagonist. Macbeth is actually the play's [[VillainProtagonist villain protagonist.]] Macduff also becomes a [[TheWoobie woobie]] after Macbeth murders his wife and children.
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Witches can predict the future and cast spells, dead men can come back as ghosts, apparitions can rise from cauldrons... but trees can't move. That would be silly.
* ArcNumber: 3. Three witches, three murderers, twenty-seven (three cubed) scenes, et cetera.
* {{Badass}}: Macbeth, if all the exposition about him is to be believed.
%%* BearerOfBadNews
* BeardOfEvil: In Roman Polanski's film, Theatre/{{Macbeth}} starts as a baby-faced young Thane, and as his murderous intentions grow, so does his beard.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Inverted. Macbeth refuses to "play the Roman fool and die on [his] own sword", instead choosing to die in single combat with Macduff.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to be one: "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it."
* BondOneLiner: "Thou wast born of woman." Especially played up in the 2006 film.
%%* ByronicHero: Macbeth
* TheCaligula: Macbeth, supposedly. We never actually see any evidence of vices from him save for, y'know, all the murder. More clearly, Malcolm describes himself this way to Macduff at first, but then admits that he is nothing of the sort, and he was merely testing Macduff. (Macduff is not amused.)
* CombatPragmatist:
** The 2007 production starring Creator/PatrickStewart takes a page from the ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' book in Macbeth's fight with Young Seward:
-->'''Young Seward:''' With my blade, I'll prove the lie thou speakest!
-->''Macbeth pulls out a pistol and shoots him dead''
** The 1990s adaptation ''Macbeth On The Estate'' turns ''Macduff'' into this. He goads Macbeth into charging him, then pulls out a gun. Justified given the setting. A gun would be hard to obtain, but when taking revenge for your murdered family...
** The 2006 version from Australia turns the final fight between Macduff and Macbeth into this. After their guns run out, they go at it with knives, fists, wine bottles, broken glass, and more.
** The 2010 Movie gave Macduff's army camouflage suits, in comparison to the BadassLongcoat s of Macbeth's men. Though, they do not travel through any forest despite the lines about trees moving.
* ComeToGawk: Invoked, and why he's willing to fight to death.
%%* ContractOnTheHitman
* CreepyChild: The second and third apparitions take this form.
* TheDarkSideWillMakeYouForget: Specifically, Lady Macbeth ''wants'' to become evil so that she will be able to carry out the murder without remorse.
* DecapitationPresentation: Macbeth decapitated Macdonwald (after disemboweling him), then affixes the rebel's head to a Scottish battlement. In [[BookEnds the last scene]], Macduff greets Malcolm with Macbeth's severed head.
* DeceasedFallGuyGambit: Macbeth pins the murder on a pair of guards, then kills them.
* DespairSpeech: The "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" monologue.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Mentioned by the first Witch in one of the Witches' first scenes. Supposedly, she once tracked down a sailor at sea and drove him insane by cursing him with permanent insomnia, all because the guy's wife [[EvilIsPetty refused to share some chestnuts with her]].
* DownerEnding[=/=]GainaxEnding: The 1971 adaptation adds a silent epilogue (sometimes tacked onto the play) in which [[spoiler:Donalbain goes to the witches' hut, presumably to do exactly what Macbeth did.]] It is deeply unsettling.[[note]] Interestingly, though, it may be TruthInTelevision: TheOtherWiki article for "Donald III of Scotland" mentions that he took the throne after his brother's death, usurping his brother's sons, and may have invaded Scotland to do so -- the historical record isn't clear -- and killed one of them who tried to regain power[[/note]] The Australian version has Fleance, who Banquo tried to keep out of the gang warfare, sneaking into the attack on Macbeth's home, even killing a maid in a StartOfDarkness.
* DrivenToSuicide: Lady Macbeth. Macbeth, however rejects suicide and decides to fight to the death.
* DyingForSymbolism: Banquo is more conscientious than Macbeth and tends to point out what Macbeth ought to be doing. After Macbeth [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope Jumps Off The Slippery Slope]], he has Banquo killed; this represents the loss of Macbeth's moral conscience.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Lady Macbeth mentions that the only reason she doesn't kill Duncan herself is because he looks too much like her dad.
* EvilRedhead: Given their origin, Macbeth and his lady are sometimes portrayed as redheads.
* ExactWords: Macduff's family is well at peace. Resting in peace, that is.
%%* EyeOfNewt: {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* FaceHeelTurn: Macbeth begins the story as a straight up hero of the Scottish people, despite seemingly [[ForeShadowing being a bit bloodthirsty,]] and is well regarded by his peers, feared by his enemies, and highly respected by King Duncan. But his ambition and his subsequent guilt over all the murders he's ordered done to keep his crown cause him to go straight up insane towards the end. The play seems to hint that Macbeth knows what he is doing is wrong and wants to stop, but once he's murdered the king, there is simply no way but forward since he is going to burn in hell anyways.
* {{Fainting}}: Lady Macbeth fakes a faint when Duncan's murder is discovered.
** More specifically, she does it when Macbeth almost [[SayingTooMuch says too much]] regarding his murder of the king's guards. The fainting was likely a ploy to draw attention away from her husband's actions.
* FallenHero: One of the best examples there is, possibly the TropeCodifier.
* FanSequel: Author Noah Lukeman's play ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tragedy_of_Macbeth_Part_II The Tragedy of Macbeth Part II: Seed of Banquo]]'' continues the story about ten years after the original's conclusion, following Malcolm's reign as king, his marriage to Macbeth's daughter, and his eventual downfall at the hands of a vengeful Fleance.
* GenreSavvy: Upon hearing of their father's murder, Malcolm and Donalbain immediately resolve to leave the country, realizing the murders are unlikely to stop with Duncan.
* GirlsWithMoustaches: The Weird Sisters are bearded.
* HappilyMarried: We never see Macduff and his wife in a scene together, but they seem to be this. He's certainly devastated when she's killed, along with their children.
* HealingHands: King Edward is said to be able to cure diseases.
* TheHecateSisters: The Weird Sisters clearly invoke this trope, though atypically they are all crones.
%%* HeelRealization: "Out, damn'd spot!"
* HenpeckedHusband: Macbeth. His wife loses her hold on him, however, after Duncan's murder.
%%* HeroAntagonist: Macduff and Malcolm.
* HeWillNotCrySoICryForHim: Malcolm attempts this to Seward. Seward stops him.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The actual historical figure Macbeth is based on killed Duncan fairly on the field of battle (after Duncan invaded his lands), then proceeded to rule with little resistance for 17 years and was generally celebrated as a generous and decent king.
%%* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Duncan
* HourglassPlot: Twofold:
** At the start of the play, the original Thane of Cawdor, who has turned traitor, is put to death for treason, and is redeemed by his bravery in death. At the end of the play, Macbeth, who had become the new Thane of Cawdor, has the same fate.
** Initially, Macbeth shows more scruples/hesitancy to kill Duncan than does his wife, and she pushes him into doing it. Afterward, however, while Lady Macbeth goes increasingly mad from guilt, Macbeth's reaction to guilt is to seemingly lose all emotion and scruples and he far surpass his wife in villainy.
* HumanResources: The potion in Act IV includes some.
* IgnoredEpiphany: Macbeth [[HeelRealization realizes]] several times, most prominently after the feast, the wrongness of what he's done and that he has a chance to turn back. He doesn't.
* IHaveComeTooFar: "I am in blood / Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er"
* IWillFightSomeMoreForever: As befitting an ex-soldier. This is Macbeth's [[FamousLastWords last line]] to Macduff, even though he's re-interpreted the prophecy and already knows he's screwed.
* TheInsomniac: "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and there Cawdor/Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!"
* ItGetsEasier: Macbeth feels a lot more guilty about murdering Duncan than about any of his later crimes.
* ItsPersonal: Macduff learns that his wife, kids, and servants are all murdered.
* ItWasHereISwear: Banquo's ghost.
* KarmaHoudini: The Murderers who do in Banquo and Macduff's family, depending on the production.
** In the 2006 version there's a silent scene where Macduff and Malcolm kill them before attacking Macbeth.
* KickTheDog: The witches have a lengthy discussion of all the petty, cruel things they've been doing in their free time.
* KlingonPromotion: How Macbeth becomes thane of Cawdor, and later king.
%%* LadyMacbeth: [[TropeNamers Guess who]]?
* LastNameBasis: Lady Macbeth's first name is never stated. This may be because the historical Lady Macbeth had what most non-Scots would consider to be an EmbarrassingFirstName -- Gruoch.
* LastVillainStand: Macbeth has an extremely famous one.
* LeaveNoWitnesses: Banquo, who was unlucky enough to be present at the witches' citation.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: The Porter's scene is chock full of this stuff.
%%* LonelyAtTheTop
%%* By [[MagpiesAsPortents Maggotpies]] and [[CrowsAndRavens Choughs and Rooks]]: Act 3, scene 4, line 126.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Macbeth wouldn't have gone so far without the encouragement of his wife.
%%* ManipulativeBastard: Macbeth. Also, LadyMacbeth is the Manipulative Bitch.
* ManlyTears: Macduff, after learning of the death of his children, reprimands Malcolm for suggesting that real men don't cry.
-->'''Malcolm:''' Dispute it like a man.\\
'''Macduff:''' I shall do so; / but I must also feel it as a man: / I cannot but remember such things were, / that were most precious to me.
* MedicalMonarch: In England, while Malcolm is taking refuge there, King Edward is touching for the King's Evil off-stage -- thus providing a {{Foil}} to [=MacBeth=]'s less humane and efficacious kingship.
%%* MobileShrubbery: "Birnam Wood to Dunsinane."
* MoodWhiplash: Between the scene in which Duncan is murdered and the scene where his body is found, we're treated to an interlude involving a drunk doorman complaining about how he can't get an erection when liquored up.
** In his famous essay "On the Knocking at the Gate in ''Macbeth''", Thomas De Quincey argues that MoodWhiplash is the ''entire point'' of this interlude, commencing of course with the loud knocking from offstage; its effect is to increase the horror of what the Macbeths have done by abruptly throwing us back ''out'' of the horror and into more mundane concerns.
%%* MoreDeadlyThanTheMale: Lady Macbeth.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: A ham-fisted murder coverup quickly turns into a bloodbath as Macbeth targets his potential rivals. He's got a big field to go after, too.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Lady Macbeth in the sleepwalking scene.
* NeverOneMurder: Explored from Macbeth's perspective as the body count rises.
%%* NietzscheWannabe: Macbeth becomes this.
%%* NoManOfWomanBorn: Another TropeNamer.
%%* OhCrap: When Macbeth learns of Macduff's birth.
%%* OminousFog
* OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The Three Witches. They observe everything in the play, but never interfere with the plot.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: One of the assassins hired by Macbeth notes that they shouldn't doubt the orders they're given as long as they get paid.
%%* OutDamnedSpot: Still another TropeNamer.
%%* OutlawCouple
* PetRat: The murderers Macbeth hires to kill Banquo.
* {{Pride}}: Like a lot of Shakespeare's tragedy protagonists, Macbeth has this as a major failing.
* ProperlyParanoid: The survivors flee to England to marshal forces against Macbeth, just as he feared.
%%* ProphecyTwist
* ProtagonistJourneyToVillain: Macbeth's journey from war hero to psychopathic tyrant king is one of the most famous examples of this trope ever.
%%* ProtagonistTitle
* ARealManIsAKiller: Lady Macbeth makes this point to convince her husband to murder the king, but the rest of the play can be seen as a massive deconstruction of this trope. Also played straight in Act I Scene ii, where a minor character recites Macbeth's bloodthirsty feats of arms to universal applause. "Unseamed him from the nave to the chaps and fixed his head upon our battlements" comes pretty close to LudicrousGibs.
* RememberTheNewGuy: The Third Murderer, who appears out of nowhere--Macbeth charges two Murderers with killing Banquo and Fleance, but when the time comes three show up. Given that the Third Murderer is of no importance, this is probably a continuity error due to textual corruption.
** In most productions, the mysterious third murderer is usually was another previously established character in service to Macbeth, charged with being a ''spy'' on the first two. The idea adds more depth to the idea that Macbeth is pretty paranoid at this point.
** Even the other murderers act this way, asking, "But who did bid thee join with us?"
%%* RightfulKingReturns: Malcolm
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The ''Tiger'', wracked at sea "Sennights nine times nine", was based off the story of a ship called the ''Tiger's Whelp''. This ship had disappeared at sea and been presumed lost in 1604, but returned to port five hundred sixty-seven days later.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Suffice it to say that Macduff does not take the [[RelativeButton murder of his family well.]]
* RuleOfThree: The witches total three, chant in threes, and spin around in circles ('winding up' their spells, so to speak, like a clock) three times.
%%* SacredHospitality
* SanitySlippage: An archetypal example, as gnawing guilt drives the Macbeths crazier and crazier as the story progresses. Lady Macbeth also suffers this, as she starts to have visual and aural hallucinations and eventually kills herself.
%%* TheScottishTrope
* SecretTestOfCharacter: When Macduff finds Malcolm, Malcolm claims to be a lustful, greedy son of a bitch completely unfit to rule and then asks if Macduff will still restore him to the throne. Horrified, Macduff refuses, and then Malcolm explains it was a test and he's actually PurityPersonified, and knowing Macduff has scruples means he can join the righteous cause of toppling Macbeth.
* {{Seers}}: The Witches appear to have powers like this, as they predict various things set to happen to Macbeth.
%%* SelfFulfillingProphecy
* SelfMadeOrphan: Subverted in that Malcolm and Donalbain are suspected of murdering Duncan because they fled, although they are in fact innocent.
* SettingUpdate: Very popular for this particular play, with the kingdom usually replaced with either a business or an organised crime syndicate. The fun part is seeing what the Witches are changed to (practitioners of Wicca, Gothic schoolgirls, Japanese forest spirit, black garbage collectors, nurses/organ poachers...).
* ShoutOut: Macbeth disdains the idea of acting like a "Roman fool" who "dies on my own sword," as Brutus does in Shakespeare's own Theatre/JuliusCaesar.
* ShutUpHannibal: Macduff delivers one to Macbeth during their climactic fight.
%%* SmugSnake: Lady Macbeth.
* StartOfDarkness: The beginning of Act II, when Macbeth murders King Duncan.
* SuperOCD: Freud compared Lady Macbeth's obsession with bloodstains with mysophobia, a typical trait of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
* SymbolicBlood: Macbeth is drenched in symbolic blood, like the blood on the floating dagger and the blood on Lady Macbeth's hands.
%%* ThisCannotBe
* ThoseTwoGuys: Many productions put Ross and Lennox together as this. Some productions in which Ross is given more presence play Lennox and Angus as this.
%%* {{Tragedy}}
%%* TragicHero or TragicVillain: Depending on how you view Macbeth.
* UngratefulBastard: Macbeth, as Duncan rewards him for his heroism by giving him the lands and titles of Macdonwald, the rebellious thane who tried to help King Sweno of Norway conquer Scotland. He'd have probably been more than happy with this if the witches hadn't inflamed Macbeth and his wife's ambitions.
%%* UnwittingPawn
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Shakespeare changed lots of historical details in order to please the newly crowned King James, who believed himself to be a descendant of Banquo, a friend of and probable co-conspirator with Macbeth that Macbeth eventually killed. [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade The character of Macbeth himself was also changed dramatically]]. In reality, Donnchad (Duncan) failed badly at invading part of England, and so decided to pillage Mac Bethad's (Macbeth's) territory. Mac Bethad defeated him in battle, Donnchad dying, and Mac Bethad became King. He proceeded to rule for the best part of two decades and evidently felt pretty secure in his position, since it's documented that he took several months off to go to Rome and get personally blessed by the pope. The time frame of Shakespeare's play isn't entirely clear, but seems to be quite a bit shorter than the seventeen years of Mac Bethad's historical reign.
* VillainousBreakdown: Macbeth has one when he hears Lady Macbeth has died. "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day..."
* VillainousBSOD: Well, sort of. Macbeth's brain sort of breaks for a while after he kills Duncan.
%%* VillainProtagonist
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** So Donalbain just stayed in Ireland, then?
** Whatever happened to Banquo's son, Fleance? It was hinted by the witches that he would become king, but he flees from some murderers at one point and never returns.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Macbeth mentions that he could face a tiger without fear, but seeing Banquo's ghost is too much for him.
* WorthyOpponent: Banquo is killed not only because of what he knows but because Macbeth ''respects him so highly''; in fact, he is the one man Macbeth is intimidated by. So of course, Banquo has to go.
* WouldHurtAChild: Lady Macbeth claims she would kill her baby child if she had sworn to. Later Macbeth has no qualms about sending his murderers to kill Macduff's children.
* WrittenByTheWinners: Or written to appeal to a descendant of the winners, to be more precise; Duncan was an ancestor of King James, and portraying him in a historically accurate way might have upset King James; he was in fact an ineffective ruler who died in an unsuccessful attack on Macbeth.
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