William Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Macbeth, or Macbeth, is one of his shorter tragedies, and was probably written between 1599-1606. Shakespeare penned the play during the reign of James V1, who was a patron of the playwright's acting company. The play is set primarily in Scotland, and follows the character of Macbeth, a bold Scottish general, as he becomes power-hungry and demented with political ambition.
Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death.
Shakespeare brilliantly portrays Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's downward spiral as they struggle with the punishing physical and psychological effects of greed.