The river of time thus flows on, despite the struggles of man. Although Macbeth's reign of terror has made “the frame of things disjoint,” by the end of the play the tide of time has smoothed over Scotland (III ii 18). The unnatural uprising of Macbeth now in the past, Macduff comments that "the time is free" (V xi 21). And Macbeth's life proves to be indeed a "tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" (V v 27-29). Time washes over his meaningless, bloody history: Banquo's family will give rise to the line of Stuart kings and Malcolm will regain the throne his father left him—all exactly as if Macbeth had never dared to kill Duncan.
Set in medieval Scotland and partly based on a true historical account, Macbeth charts the bloody rise to power and tragic downfall of the warrior Macbeth . Already a successful soldier in the army of King Duncan , Macbeth is informed by Three Witches that he is to become king. As part of the same prophecy, the Witches predict that future Scottish kings will be descended not from Macbeth but from his fellow army captain, Banquo . Although initially prepared to wait for Fate to take its course, Macbeth is stung by ambition and confusion when King Duncan nominates his son Malcolm as his heir.