Macbeth Characters

Macbeth – a Scottish general and the thane of Glamis – Macbeth is led to wicked thoughts by the prophecies of three witches, especially after their prophecy that he will be made thane of Cawdor comes true – Macbeth is a brave soldier and a powerful man, but he is not virtuous.- He is easily tempted into murder to fulfill his ambitions to the throne, and once he commits his first crime and is crowned king of Scotland, he embarks on further atrocities with increasing ease.- Macbeth cannot maintain his power because his increasingly brutal actions make him hated as a tyrant – never comfortable in his role as a criminal. – He shows at the beginning of the play that he knows right from wrong, and chooses to do wrong without being able to justify it to himself. – Ultimately, he is unable to bear the psychic consequences of his atrocities.
Lady Macbeth – Macbeth’s wife – ambitious woman who lusts for power and position – Early in the play she seems to be the stronger and more ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill Duncan and become king- Lady Macbeth begins to feel guilt and madness to an even greater degree than her husband. Her conscience affects her to such an extent that she eventually commits suicide
The Three Witches – Three mysterious hags who plot mischief against Macbeth using charms, spells, and prophecies. – Their predictions made Macbeth murder Duncan and to order the deaths of Banquo, and Fleance – predicted Macbeth will be king and Banquo’s children will be king
Banquo – the brave, noble general children – according to the witches’ prophecy, will inherit the Scottish throne. – more thoughts than action- Banquo’s ghost haunts Macbeth
King Duncan – the good king of Scotland – Macbeth murders him for the crown – virtuous, benevolent ruler – death symbolizes the destruction of an order in Scotland (can be restored Malcolm occupies the throne)
Macduff – a Scottish nobleman – hostile to Macbeth’s kingship from the start – becomes a leader of the crusade to unseat Macbeth (mission is to make Malcolm king) – desires vengeance for Macbeth’s murder of Macduff’s wife and young son.
Malcolm – son of Duncan, whose restoration to the throne signals Scotland’s return to order following Macbeth’s reign of terror – Malcolm becomes a serious challenge to Macbeth with Macduff’s aid (and the support of England) – he appears weak and uncertain of his own power (he and Donalbain flee from Scotland)
Hecate – the goddess of witchcraft – helps the three witches work their mischief on Macbeth
Fleance – Banquo’s son – survives Macbeth’s attempt to murder him- comes to rule Scotland seeing that King James I is from the same line as Banquo
Lennox – Scottish nobleman
Ross – Scottish nobleman
The Murderers – group of ruffians ordered by Macbeth to murder Banquo, Fleance (whom they fail to kill), and Macduff’s wife and children.
Porter – the drunken doorman of Macbeth’s castle
Lady Macduff – Macduff’s wife – her home life shows a contrast from Lady Macbeth’s life- her and her son killed by Macbeth
Donalbain – Duncan’s son and Malcom’s younger brother

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