Our storyteller Delia tells us one of Shakespeare's famous tales—Macbeth is a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from three witches.
Art created by Anna Ha
Storytelling by Delia Barnett
Thunder struck as three witches gathered together. “When shall we three meet again?” They asked each other. They decided to meet upon the heath, when the battle being waged was as over, “There to meet with Macbeth.” And then they disappeared.
The battle did end and King Duncan was victorious with the mighty, powerful Macbeth at his side. Macbeth and Banquo were walking through he forest headed to the king’s castle to celebrate when they came upon the three weird sisters.
“Hail Macbeth” They called to him. They told him that one day he would be KING! Then they greeted Banquo and let him know what one day his descendants would be Kings, although he never would be. Then the three witches disappeared. Banquo and Macbeth continued on towards the castle. They were perplexed and confused by what the witches had told them.
When they arrived at the castle saw the King Duncan, very much alive and they celebrated their great victory with their King. Kind Duncan was so thankful for Macbeth for his incredible fighting during the battles that he heaped so many treasures onto his favourite soldier.
Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth had received a letter written to her by her husband. He let her know what the witches had told him. She became excited. She could feel the crown upon her head and she wanted to do whatever she could to help her husband gain it. “Come Spirits” She called, summoning the spirits to make her brave. Just then a messenger came to let her know that Macbeth and the King would be coming to have dinner at the castle tonight. She took a deep breath and thought about what she would need to do to make her husband King. Just then, Macbeth came home and the two of them began to plan. They decided they didn’t want to wait till King Duncan died of natural causes, so they would have to be the cause.
After dinner, King Duncan retired to his bed chambers for a wonderful evening’s sleep. Macbeth was working up the courage to do what he needed to do. In the passageway, he became he was getting so scared he began to see things “Is this a dagger I see before me? Come, let me clutch thee.” he reached out for the dagger in front of him and is disappeared and then re-appeared again. “I have thee not and yet I see thee still,” Macbeth lamented. The bell tolled and Macbeth took a deep breath and went to do the gruesome deed.
Afterwards, Macbeth went down to the kitchens to clean the blood from his hands. Lady Macbeth was there and she helped him clean his hands. “A little water clears us of this deed,” she said and the two of them went to bed.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Macduff had come to the castle to pay his respects to the king. When he went to the King’s bedroom, he found found him slain and he raised the alarm. The King’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain fled, for fear that they might be next. Macbeth was named King that evening.
As Macbeth wore the crown, he quickly became worried that he might not be able to keep it. He became worried that his friend Banquo might try to put his own children on the throne. And so, Macbeth decided he would hire 3 murders to kill his best friend and his best friend’s son Fleance.
The three murders surprised Banquo and Fleance. They quickly managed to killed Banquo but Fleance fled. He ran far, far away to safety.
Meanwhile, Macbeth was throwing a great dinner party. When he went to sit at his seat at the table there he saw Banquo. And he was so scared, his conscious was getting the best of him and he fled back to his room. Lady Macbeth was left to smooth things over with their guests.
Malcom, King Duncan’s eldest son had fled to England, there he meet up with Macduff. The two of them discussed the weird circumstances around the King’s death and if Macbeth was a tyrant or not. They began to make plans to see if they could do anything about this situation.
That evening the witches were casting a spell within their Cauldron. “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Just then, they paused, realizing: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” They were right- in walked Macbeth. Macbeth wanted to know what he could do. The witches told him that he could not be killed by any man born of woman and that he will not be defeated till the Wood of Birnam came to Dunsinane, his castle. He felt very safe at that time.
Despite having his worries eased by the witches, he began to feel worried that Macduff, who discover the King murdered in his bed, may come after him. So Macbeth sent his men to kill all of Macduff’s family, hoping that the grief would stop the man from trying to take revenge on Macbeth.
Macduff, still in England with Malcom heard word of his families’ passing. He was furious. Him and Malcom sought out to end Macbeth’s reign.
Lady Macbeth’s conscious was also getting the better of her, she would often be found at the castle- sleepwalking late at night, wringing her hands together; “Out spot, out I say. Will these hands nere be clean?” She lamented seeing the blood on her hands, never able to wash it free.
Malcom and Macduff began their siege on Macbeth’s castle. They needed cover to get close to the castle walls. They decided to dig up the trees at Birnam Wood and hide behind them. Slowly marching closer and closer and closer to the castle walls. Macbeth saw this and was terrified. The opposing soldiers soon breached the castle walls. Then Macbeth heard a scream and he realized that his wife had died. He had to defend his crown, he had little left to live for.
He squared off against macduff. The two fought valiantly with their swords. “I have no words:
My voice is in my sword: thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out!” Macduff spat to Macbeth. Macbeth laughed at MacDuff and let him know that no man born of woman could ever kill him. MacDuff smiled and bitter smile and let Macbeth know he was born of cesarian section, so not born of his mother. They fought again and Macduff was victorious, killing Macbeth and ending his tyranny. Malcolm became King of Scotland that day.
But what of Banquo? What of the Witches’ premonition for him? Well, his descendants did one day become King of Scotland and England because Banquo’s descendent was James the 6th of Scotland and James the first of England.