Definition of Macbeth from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



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a play (1606) by William Shakespeare telling the story of Macbeth, a figure from Scottish history. At the start he meets three witches (= women with magic powers) who predict that he will one day become king. Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's ambitious wife, encourages him to murder the existing king, Duncan. He does so and takes Duncan's place, but finds he has to murder several more people to remain in power. Lady Macbeth loses her mind, imagining that her hands are covered with blood that cannot be washed off, and kills herself. Finally Macbeth is also killed. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works, and contains many famous lines. Actors traditionally consider it an unlucky play, and avoid mentioning it by name, calling it instead 'the Scottish play'.
Lead on, Macduff.
a famous misquote for 'Lay on, MacDuff' from Macbeth