Macbeth Characters

King Duncan And His Role

Duncan is the king of Scotland. He is well liked and respected by his people. He is known for being a just and honest ruler. Macbeth and his wife murder him in his sleep so that Macbeth can take the crown. His leadership contrasts with macbeths

In the play, Duncan:

  • listens to reports of Macbeths actions and praises his courage
  • Decrees thyat Macbeth will have the tile when he leans that the Thane of Cawdor has been treacherous
  • Praises Banquo for his worthiness and makes Malcom heir to his throne
  • Visits the Macbeths at Dunsinane and greets Lady Macbeth warmly
  • Is murdred by Macbeth
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Macbeth And His Role

Macbeth is a warrior and the Thane of Glamis. His ambitions lead him to betray and murder his king to take the throne of Scotland.

In the play, Macbeth:

  • Defeats the armies of rebellion against Duncan
  • Meets three witches who prophecy that he will be king
  • Plots with his wife to murder Duncan and assume the throne
  • Arranges for his friend Banquo to be murdered in fear of the witches prediction that Banquos children will be king
  • Has Macduffs family killed on the basis of another prophecy
  • Is cornered by English and Scottish forces
  • Killed in single combat by Macduff
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Lady Macbeth And Her Role

Lady Macbeth is the ambitious wife of Macbeth, who encorages him to murder Duncan, help him do it, and so becomes Queen of Scotland.

In the play, Lady Macbeth:

  • Invokes the powers of evil to help her influence her husband to commit murder and regicide 
  • Subsequently acts as the perfect hostess to the king in a false display of duty and affection
  • Is an acomplice in the murder and in establishing an alibi in the form of Duncans guards
  • Uses quick thinkig and presence of mind to save Macbeth from admitting his guilt to the thanes when Banquos ghost appears at their banquet
  • Is increasingly isolated from her husband and experiences somnambulism (sleepwalking)
  • Is obsesed with nightmares of her actions and finally commits suicide
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Banquo And His Role

Banquo is Macbeths honourable and loyal friend. He resists the temptation presented by the witches and is later murdered by Macbeth.

In the play, Banquo:

  • Helps defeat the enemies of Duncan
  • Recives prophecies from the witches along with Macbeth
  • Warns Macbeth against trusting the prophecies
  • Suspects something before and after Duncans murder
  • Is assasinated at Macbeths orders whilst riding with his son
  • Appears as a ghost to Macbeth and disrupts his celebrations
  • Appears as an apparition in the witches cave, confurming that his offspring will become future kings of scotland and more
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Macduff And His Role

Macduff is the honourable thane who ultimatly brings retribution to Macbeth. He is the man of destiny, "not born of woman".

In the play,Macduff:

  • Discovers Duncans murder
  • Suspects Macbeths guilt and refuses to attend his coronation
  • Abandons his castle and flees to England without his family
  • His family are murdered in his absence
  • Hunts out and kills Macbeth in single combat
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The Witches And Their Role

The witches embody demonic intelligences; they provide information, but do not directly invite human beings to commit crimes. Their prophecies are told in half truths.

In the play, The Witches:

  • Seem evil and appear to provide information about the future
  • This destabilises the present by tempting Macbeth
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Ahh u little suasage!

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