The beginning of this play is at a funeral. This is Macbeth's child death. Macbeth, who supports King Duncan in the civil war, is leading royal troops into a final battle. Macbeth emerges victorious, but there are heavy losses, including many boy soldiers. The battle is observed by three women with a small girl and an infant. They approach Macbeth and Banquo, hailing Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and future King, and Banquo as a father of Kings, before disappearing in the mist.
Duncan hears about Macbeth's victory and is brought the Thane of Cawdor who, deemed to be a traitor because he has allied himself with the Norse invaders, is stripped of his title and executed. The King orders his servants to take the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth, who reacts uncertainly. Macbeth sends a message ahead to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches' prophecies. Lady Macbeth then prays to the dark spirits in the village church, asking them for guidance. When Macbeth and his soldiers return, and her husband tells Lady Macbeth that Duncan will stay one night as their guest, she urges Macbeth to kill the King to fulfill the prophecy made by the witches. Duncan arrives at the village and a feast is being held, where the King pronounces Malcolm as his heir. Macbeth still hesitates and Lady Macbeth persuades him to commit the deed, while she slips a sleeping potion to the King's servants. After the feast ends, Macbeth sees a ghost of one of the boy soldiers who had been killed during the battle who gives him a dagger and leads him towards Duncan's tent. Macbeth brutally slays Duncan. Malcolm enters the tent and, seeing what Macbeth has done, flees in fear. Shaken, Macbeth goes to his wife and gives her the dagger he has used to kill the King. She meets Macbeth in the church where they both wash the blood from their hands and she tells him that the water has washed their deed away.
Macbeth travels by night to talk to the three witches. Once he finds them, they show him a vision of slain soldiers who tell him to beware of Macduff, and that Macbeth shall be King until Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill, where the royal castle is built. Finally, the ghost of the slain boy soldier who gave him the dagger tells Macbeth that he won't be slain by any man born of a woman. The King is found wandering the hills by Lennox who tells him that Macduff has fled to England. Anxious at this, in a fit of rage, Macbeth orders Macduff's family and servants to be killed. Lady Macduff and her children are captured and burned at the stake, while a distraught Lady Macbeth watches the execution. After the burning she takes out the dagger that was used to kill Duncan and repeatedly washes it. Meanwhile, Macduff meets up with Malcolm, who is gathering troops in England to march on Scotland. Ross and Angus inform Macduff about the murder of his family and servants. Stricken with grief and anger, Macduff swears revenge and both he and Malcolm ) join forces to challenge Macbeth.
Haunted by guilt, Lady Macbeth returns to the church in her village, which is now abandoned, and laments the terrible deeds that have been done, and how her hands are covered in blood. She then sees the ghost of her dead child, which she urges to go to bed. Then she wanders in the hills and sees the three witches as she walks towards them. In the castle, rumours spread that Macbeth has gone mad and his subjects fear his anger and tyrannical behaviour. Macbeth is told that his wife is dead. Saying "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow", he then lifts her body and carries it around the chamber in despair. Seyton then brings him news that Malcolm is leading an army against him and Macbeth orders his armour to be brought to him. Macduff sets Birnam Wood on fire, with the smoke and ashes blowing towards the castle, seemingly making the witches' prophecy come true. Macbeth leaves the castle to face the attacking army and engages in a duel with Macduff. Macduff then tells him that he was untimely ripped from his mother's womb and, using Macbeth's distraction, he stabs him. Macbeth starts to regret the mistakes he has made through his tyranny, despite knowing all too well that it's too late to redeem himself. Macbeth doesn't surrender. As soon as he finishes making his final speech to Macduff, Macbeth allows himself to be fatally stabbed by his nemesis. The three witches, who were observing the battle, leave when Macbeth dies on the battlefield. Immediately after Macbeth's death, Malcolm is hailed King of Scotland and he, Macduff and their forces abandon Macbeth's corpse and make their way to his castle. Malcolm leaves the throne room while Fleance takes Macbeth's sword and charges through the empty battlefield, disappearing into the smoke