Page 131 of the First Folio published in 1623.

First Folio page 131 - Macbeth

Macbeth the KickAss Way

Complete Play with both Common and First Folio Texts


Macbeth Orientation

What Shakespeare would have assumed his audience would know and be familiar with.


A non-hereditary title given to men who provided great service to the Scotish King, usually in the military. Along with the title they received lands which, while still belonging to the king, were theirs to manage and from which they derived their income. When the king gave them lands the name of those lands became part of how they were referred to, e.g. if the area was known as Cawdor their title became Thane of Cawdor.

Their wives were referred to simply as Lady.


Not meant as a desert in the modern sense with lots of sand and camels but rather a 'deserted place'.


Witchcraft and witches were real to the people of the 17th century and even more so 600 years earlier at the time the events of Macbeth took place. They were thought to be able to control the weather and even influence the fates of human beings. King James who was on the throne at the time Macbeth was written fancied himself an expert on witchcraft and had even written scholarly work on the subject.


A barren land devoid of human inhabitants usually covered with scrub brush. A place travellers passed through, not a place to live not even briefly.


In the middle-ages countries and Kings were often thought of as being the same. So references to a country's name such as Norway could either refer to the country or its king all depending on the context.

Macbeth Quick Facts

When written Likely between 1603 and 1606. For more see the Wikipedia article here.
One of Shakespeare's four major tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. Of these Macbeth is likely the last to be written and is the most compact with a single theme and plot.
Acts, scenes, speeches, lines

5 acts, 28 scenes (7, 4, 6, 3, 8) , 650 speeches (121, 120, 128, 159, 122) numbers in parentheses refer to the number of speeches in each of the five acts.. Number of lines: a whole bunch. (Note that both the number of speeches and expecially the number of lines depend greatly on the format of the text.)

Classic Structure
Traditional, five act tragedy:
Act I - introduction,
Act II - development
Act III - pivot point
Act IV - unraveling
Act V - tragic climax.

Based on Very loosely and with great artistic license Macbeth is based on accounts in Holinshed's Chronicles. Shakespeare probably read the edition of Holinshed published about twenty years before his time. You can see the sections (in their original spelling and syntax) that are relevant to Macbeth at Holinshed's Chronicles Relevant to Macbeth on
Source for this text
First Folio, published in 1623. The text is based on the which is from the Complete Moby(tm) Shakespeare. But the text has been corrected and updated.
For more about the First Folio see the Wikipedia article here.