MacBeth in 92 seconds (Videojug)
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William Shakespeare may have written some of the greatest plays of all time, but they aren't exactly easy to dip into - that is until now of course. If you need to sound like an expert in 96 seconds time then you're in the right place. Here's all you need to know about the 400 year old revenge-tragedy bloodbath that is Macbeth.


MacBeth, done in 96 seconds.

Hello and welcome to VideoJug. If you need to sound like an expert in 96 seconds’ time, then you’re in the right place. Here’s all you need to know about the 400-year-old revenge tragedy bloodbath that is MacBeth. Ready?

After a battle, three witches tell General Macbeth he'll soon be king, but then so will his best mate Banquo's descendants. Macbeth gets obsessed with the thought of being king, which develops one of the plays main themes: the corrupting influence of ambition.

Lady Macbeth decides that they should whack King Duncan to get the throne. Macbeth is iffy about the murder, does it anyway, but then freaks out. Lady M takes over and frames some servants. Before they can spill the beans Macbeth kills them.

Macbeth's rival, General Macduff, is well sus. Maccy B becomes king, but mindful of the other part of the witches prediction, plots to have Banquo and his son, Fleance, murdered. Fleance escapes. Banquo is killed. Later, Banquo's ghost turns up, causing Macbeth to have a massive breakdown.

But he recovers. The witches say Macbeth can't be killed by anyone of woman born, and he'll be king until "a forest marches up a hill." Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Confident, while MacDuff is away in England, Macbeth kills Macduff's family. Then Lady M goes mad, sleepwalking and confessing to all their sins, and then kills herself, or dies, or disappears- it's not clear.

Disguised with leaves and branches, Macduff's army attacks. At the big showdown Macduff reveals he was...DUN DUN DAA...born by Caesarean- so is not actually of woman born- in the technical sense. Macduff chops off Macbeth's head and King Duncan's son Malcolm takes over the throne of Scotland.

Want to sound clever? Compare all this backstabbing with what goes on in Washington and Westminster today. Or mention that the play was originally performed for King James I, who was supposedly descended from Banquo, making the witches first prediction the biggest theatrical in-joke of all time.

There we are, Macbeth, done in 96 seconds


BLOODBATH= an attack were lots of people die (and so there is a lot of blood, so you can have a bath in blood instead of water)

WITCH= a witch is a woman with evil magic powers. They can tell the future and make black magic.

MATE= (BrE) friend

DESCENDANTS= your descendants are your children, your children’s children and so on.

WHACK= to hit hard (in this context, to kill)

IFFY= if something is iffy you think the situation is not very clear and you feel suspicious and confused (because you don’t know IF the situation is like this or IF the situation is like that)

MURDER= to murder someone is to kill them. A murder is the act of killing someone (an assassination).

DOES IT ANYWAY= but he does it. He’s not very sure about killing the king but he kills him

FREAK OUT= (coll.) if you freak out, you are very scared, shocked, surprised, angry or confused.

LADY M= a colloquial way used here for: Lady MacBeth

TAKES OVER= takes control of the situation (away from someone else)

TO FRAME= if you frame someone, you pretend that they have committed a crime by deliberately lying, or inventing evidence which falsely accuses them.

TO SPILL THE BEANS= to divulge a secret, especially to do so inadvertently or maliciously.

SUS= (coll.) suspect. "He is well sus" means that many people think he was the murderer.

MACCY B= a very familiar and humoristic way of saying MacBeath here

MINDFUL= aware, conscious. If you are mindful of something you think about it and consider it when taking action.

GHOST= spirit

TURNS UP= appears

MASSIVE= huge, very big, immense

BREAKDOWN= a nervous or emotional collapse

ONE OF WOMAN BORN= a person born from a woman

MARCH= to walk in formation, the way soldiers walk when they go to a battle

GONNA= going to

YEAH, LIKE THAT’S GONNA HAPPEN= you say this expression when you don’t believe that may happen

MAD(BrE)= Crazy(AmE). In America, "mad" means "angry" (e.g. "please, don’t be mad at me, I’m very sorry")

SLEEPWALK= to walk in your sleep. People who do that are called "sleepwalkers" (or "somnambulists", but that’s a very formal word)

CONFESS TO= if you confess to something, you admit that you did it

SIN= an action that breaks the laws of God, a bad action

DISGUISED= if you are disguised, you alter your appearance so that nobody can recognise you (for example, in Carnival)

LEAVES AND BRANCHES= Macduff’s army attacks disguised as trees (with leaves and branches), so the army looks like a  moving forest and the prediction of the three witches comes true: "you'll be king until a forest marches up a hill". So that’s the end of MacBeth’s kingdom.

CAESAREAN= (pronounced "sizarean": /sɪzri:n/) an operation to help a woman give birth by making a cut below her stomach and taking the baby out.

CHOP OFF= separate by cutting quickly

TAKE OVER THE THRONE= become king by beating the previous king

BACKSTABBING= treasons, betrayals. To stab means to push a knife into somebody’s body. "To stab someone in the back" is an expression meaning "to betray someone", to be a traitor to them. So "backstabbing" is the act of stabbing in the back, betraying.

WASHINGTON= where political power is in the USA
WESTMINSTER= where political power is in the UK (the Parliament is in Westminster, an area in London)

PERFORMED= to perform a play is to do it, to act (a play is a show in a theatre)