Macbeth

William Shakespeare Playwright of Macbeth
Macbeth Army general of Scotland. His biggest character flaw is his vaulting ambition. He is the originally the Thane of Glamis, then becomes the Thane of Cawdor, and eventually becomes the King of Scotland. He is responsible for the deaths of King Duncan, Banquo, and Macduff’s wife and children. He relies heavily of the prophesies of the witches, and is eventually killed by Macduff.
Sinal Macbeth’s father.
Lady Macbeth Macbeth’s wife. She is greedy, cunning, yearns to be the Queen of Scotland, and is willing to do anything to achieve this goal. She convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan. Because of this, she overcome with guilt, which causes her to sleep walk and talk. She later commits suicide.
Lady Macbeth’s Servant A gentle woman. Tells the doctor of Lady Macbeth’s strange behavior and sleep walking and talking. It can be assumed that she knows about Macbeth and the Lady’s involvement in Duncan, Banquo, and Macduff’s wife and children’s murder.
Seyton An officer attending to Macbeth.
Porter Knock’s on Macbeth’s castle doors while drunk. Pretends that he is attending to the gates of Hell.
Duncan The King of Scotland at the beginning of the play. He is a kind man and an excellent ruler. He is naive and innocent , and admits that he is bad at reading people’s faces for deceit. He is killed by Macbeth.
Malcolm Duncan’s son. He is granted the title Prince of Cumberland, and flees to England when his father is killed. At the end of the play, he succeeds Macbeth as King of Scotland.
Donalbain Duncan’s son. Flees to Ireland after his father is killed.
Banquo Close friend of Macbeth’s at the beginning of the play. It is predicted that he will have a royal lineage. Macbeth fears this prophesy and hires murderers to kill both he and his son, Fleance. His ghost appears to Macbeth at Macbeth’s coronation.
Fleance Banquo’s son. Escapes from the three hired murderers.
Macduff A nobleman. Discovers Duncan’s dead body. He grows suspicious of Macbeth when Macbeth mentions that he killed the night guards out of loyalty to the King. He fails to make an appearance at Macbeth’s coronation. He goes to England to ask Siward to help him build an army against Macbeth. At the end of the play, it is revealed that his mother died during childbirth, so he was not technically “born of a woman.” He kills Macbeth.
Lady Macduff Macduff’s wife. She and her children are killed by murderers
Macduff’s Son Killed by a hired murderer while defending his mother.
Siward Earl of Northumberland. The general of the English forces.
Young Siward Siward’s son. Killed by Macbeth.
Macdonwald Norwegian enemy of Scotland. (Norwegian general)
Sweno King of Norway
Angus A nobleman. Alludes to Macbeth’s guilt about the murders. (“Now does he feel/ His secret murders sticking on his hands…”)
Ross A nobleman and the bearer of bad news. Tells Malcolm and Donalbain that their father was killed, and later informs Macduff that his entire family had been murdered.
Caithness A nobleman. Alludes to the fact that many are beginning to both hate Macbeth, and question his mental state.
Thane of Cawdor Traitor of Scotland that helped Norway. His title is later given to Macbeth and he is put to death
Hecate The head witch (the boss of the three witches). She becomes angry when she learns that the witches involved themselves in Macbeth’s affairs without her consent.
The Witches The three supernatural beings that appear to Macbeth and Banquo at the beginning of the play. They prophesied that Macbeth would become the Thane of Glamis, the Thane of Cawdor, and then the King of Scotland. They also tell Banquo that he will have a royal lineage.
Armed Head The first of the apparitions. Tells Macbeth to beware Macduff.
A Bloody Child The second apparition. Tells Macbeth that no one born of a woman will harm him.
A Crowned Child Holding a Tree Branch The third apparition. Tells Macbeth that he will be safe as long as he stays in his castle and avoids the Birnam woods. (Symbolized Malcolm)
Greymalkin The first witch’s magical pet cat.
Paddock The second witch’s magical pet toad.
Invisibility, Predict the Future, Create Storms The witch’s powers.
Thunder, Lightning, and Rain The three conditions that the witches only appear
Fair is foul, and foul is fair Main theme of the play. First stated by the witches and alluded to throughout the rest of the play.
The Sailor’s Wife Refuses to share her chestnuts with the witches. As a result, her husband is killed.
The Sailor On a voyage to Aleppo. He is indirectly killed by a storm at sea summoned by the witches when his wife refuses to share her chestnuts.
The Tiger The name of the sailor’s ship.
Wyrd Goddess of fate
Bellona Goddess of war; “Married” to Macbeth
Forres, Scotland A military base. Where the battle between Scotland and Norway is taking place at the beginning of the play.
Kerns and Gallowglasses Lightly armed Irish foot soldiers
The Heath Location that the witches first encounter Macbeth and Banquo
Inverness Where Macbeth’s castle is located.
Fife Where Macduff’s castle is located
Scone Where Scottish kings are crowned
Colmekill Where Duncan is buried.
Aleppo Where the captain of the Tiger was planning on docking before he was killed
Tragedy Genre of Macbeth
Dramatis Personae The list of characters at the beginning of a play
Exposition When important background information is introduced at the beginning of a play. in Macbeth, the introduction of the witches.
Exciting Force When the conflict of the play is introduced and the outcome is foreshadowed. In Macbeth, the prophesies of the witches.
Rising Action (The part of the story where things go right for the protagonist)The plan to kill Duncan, when Macbeth is named Thane of Cawdor, when Scotland wins the war, when the murderers kill Banquo.
Turning Point When the protagonist has reached his or her peak, and then something occurs to send the fortune of the protagonist spiraling downward. In Macbeth, when Fleance escapes the murderers.
Falling Action When things begin to go wrong for the protagonist. in Macbeth, when Macbeth visits the witches a second time, when Lady Macbeth dies, when people begin to grow suspicious of Macbeth, when Banquo’s ghost appears at the banquet, when Macduff fails to appear at the banquet, when Macbeth kills Macduff’s family.
Moment of Final Suspense When, at the protagonist is just above his or her lowest point, something goes right that restores hope for the protagonist. In Macbeth, when Macbeth kills Young Siward in a combat.
Catastrophe When the protagonist reaches their ultimate low. In tragedies, when the protagonist dies. In Macbeth, when Macduff reveals that his mother died in childbirth, so he was not technically “born of a woman,” when Macbeth is killed by Macduff and Malcolm succeeds him as King.
Juxtaposition Literary term that refers to when a playwright places a scene near the beginning of the play. It appears to have nothing to do with the play, but it is actually the whole play in a miniature form. In Macbeth, it is the story in which the witches kill the sailor.
Emotion This was revealed when Macbeth hallucinates the bloody dagger, sees the ghost of Banquo and goes berserk, and when Lady Macbeth dies.

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