A messenger brings word that Duncan’s forces, led by Macbeth, have been victorious in two battles – one against the King of Norway, and one against the rebellious Thane of Cawdor. Upon returning from battle, Macbeth and Banquo encounter the Wayward Sisters, who hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King and predict that Banquo will father future kings. Soon after, Ross informs Macbeth that the King has bestowed upon him the title of Thane of Cawdor.
When Lady Macbeth hears of the events, she encourages her husband to kill King Duncan when he comes to visit. When the King’s murdered body is discovered, the princes - Malcolm and Donalbain - both flee and are blamed for the murder. Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland.
Fearing the prophecy that Banquo will father kings, Macbeth hires murderers to get rid of Banquo and his son, Fleance. They kill Banquo, but Fleance escapes. As Macbeth sits down to a banquet with his thanes, the bloody ghost of Banquo silently torments him.
The Wayward Sisters give Macbeth two more prophecies:
1) His throne is safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane, and
2) He will not die by the hand of any man born of a woman.
Unfortunately the Sisters also show him a line of many kings all that look like Banquo.
Meanwhile, Macduff, the Thane of Fife, has fled to England to meet with Malcolm. Macbeth exacts revenge upon Macduff by butchering Lady Macduff and their children. Ross delivers the terrible news to Macduff, who joins Malcolm in raising an army against Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth has been slowly driven mad. While sleepwalking, she reveals the truth to her Gentlewoman and a Doctor. As the English army approaches, messengers arrive with news for Macbeth - his lords are deserting him; Lady Macbeth has died; Malcolm’s army is approaching under the cover of tree branches (Birnam Wood has begun to move toward Dunsinane).
Macbeth goes to battle and encounters Macduff. Macbeth tells him of the prophecy:
no man born of a woman may slay him. Macduff retorts that he was delivered by Caesarian section. Macduff kills Macbeth, fulfilling the final prophecy, and Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.