In the following sections, we boost your understanding of how to interpret William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

First, we take you through some of the central themes of the play, such as ambition, fate versus free will, appearance versus reality, and order versus chaos. Many of the images or themes of the play centre around contrasts, making the story dynamic.

Second, we explore some of the most important symbols of this sinister play, such as blood, clothing, and sleep. Note that many of these overlap with the central images of the play, which you can read about in our Language section.

Third, we outline possible messages of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The play is a tragedy and as such it is instructive about how to live our lives and make the right choices. In connection with this, the question of whether or not we feel any sympathy with Macbeth, the tragic hero, becomes interesting.

In the following pages, you can dig into the elements mentioned above.