Macbeth


Approximate Running Time: Three hours, with 2 intermissions

In Italian with English captions

What's Going On?

Set in Scotland

Macbeth and his friend Banquo, generals in King Duncan’s army, are crossing a desolate heath when they are greeted by three witches. The hags proclaim Macbeth Thane of Cawdor and the next king of Scotland. They also call Banquo the father of kings. The witches disappear, and a messenger appears from the king, proclaiming Macbeth the new Thane of Cawdor. The amazed Macbeth wonders if the rest of the witches’ prophecy will come true.

After reading a letter from her husband telling of his strange encounter, Lady Macbeth pledges to use her cunning and courage to further Macbeth’s ambition. King Duncan and his entourage, including Macbeth, arrive at the castle. Lady Macbeth tells her husband to be bold and commit murder that night. Urged on by his wife, Macbeth stabs the king in his bedchamber. Lady Macbeth takes the dagger and smears the blood on the previously drugged royal guards so they will be blamed for the murder. Now both their hands are bloody, proclaims Lady Macbeth, but a little water will clean them again.

Having gained the throne, Macbeth cannot forget that the witches foretold that Banquo’s line would rule Scotland. Once again, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth resolve to murder their potential rivals. Macbeth hires assassins to kill Banquo and his son. Banquo is killed, but the boy escapes. Macbeth enters his hall for a feast and sees Banquo’s ghost seated at the table. As she did on the night of Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth tells him to be courageous, that the dead cannot return.

Frightened by his vision of Banquo’s ghost, Macbeth seeks out the witches. They proclaim that Macbeth must be wary of Macduff, that no man born of woman can harm Macbeth, and that Macbeth cannot be defeated until Birnam Wood marches against him. Finally, the witches show him Banquo’s ghost and the ghosts of Scottish kings, confirming their prediction that Banquo’s family will eventually rule. Once again, when she learns of the witches’ prophecies, Lady Macbeth counsels her husband to be resolute, to murder Macduff and his family, and to continue to seek Banquo’s son.

Later, a group of Scottish rebels gather in Birnam Wood to end Macbeth’s tyranny. Macduff mourns the loss of his family, killed because of Macbeth’s fear of him. Malcolm, the son of the murdered King Duncan, joins the rebels and instructs the soldiers to cut down the branches of Birnam Wood for camouflage.

Lady Macbeth wanders the halls of the castle, now more haunted by the murders than her husband. Observed by her lady-in-waiting and a physician, the sleepwalking Lady Macbeth describes the murders and tries to clean her hands of blood.

Macbeth receives the news of his wife’s death. He barely acknowledges her death. Instead, Macbeth mourns his own fate, full of regrets that he ever heeded the witches’ prophecies and coveted Duncan’s crown. Then he hears the message that Birnam Wood appears to be marching towards his army. Macbeth finally confronts Macduff, who tells Macbeth how he was “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb and was not “of woman born.” All the prophecies for Macbeth’s defeat are fulfilled, and Macduff kills Macbeth.

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