FAQ: Macbeth

Date posted: 24 Jul 2014Author: STC Production: Macbeth

If you want to brush up on your Scottish noblemen before the iambic pentameter hits you, this cheat-sheet will help you tell your Macbeth from your Macduff.




Macbeth and Banquo are returning victorious from battle when they come across three witches. The witches predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland, while Banquo's descendants will be kings.

The first part of the prophecy is soon fulfilled when the King, Duncan, rewards Macbeth's loyal service by making him Thane of Cawdor. Encouraged by this, and playing on her husband's ambition, Lady Macbeth persuades him to murder Duncan while he is a guest at their castle. Malcolm, Duncan's son, flees to England for safety. Macbeth, now king, orders Banquo and his son, Fleance, to be murdered in an attempt to secure his own position. Fleance escapes death and Banquo's ghost haunts Macbeth at a banquet.

Macbeth sees the witches again. They warn him to beware of Macduff, but assure him that he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman. Macbeth orders the murder of Macduff's wife and children.

In England, Malcolm and Macduff raise an army to battle Macbeth. Macbeth, armed with the witches' prophecy, believes that he is invincible.

Spoiler alert: stop reading now if you don't want to know the ending.

As his enemies march towards him, Macbeth learns that his wife has killed herself. He faces Macduff in combat but when he learns Macduff was born by Caesarian section (i.e not of woman born), he realises that he will die.

With Macbeth dead, Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.




Paula Arundell plays Banquo and Lady Macduff, who are both slain by Macbeth.




Kate Box plays a Witch as well as Macduff, the nobleman who becomes Macbeth’s key opponent in the final battle.



Ivan Donato plays a Witch and also Seyton, who carries out many of Macbeth’s orders of murder.



Eden Falk plays two key roles: Malcolm, King Duncan’s son who is next in line to the throne; and Fleance, Banquo’s son.



John Gaden plays King Duncan and Macduff’s young son.




Melita Jurisic plays the Bloody Captain who reports from the battlefield at the start of the play, then takes on the role of Lady Macbeth.



Robert Menzies plays a Witch, the nobleman Rosse and the Porter, who makes a brief appearance.



Hugo Weaving plays Macbeth.





Macbeth, 21 Jul - 27 Sep 2014, Sydney Theatre