Macbeth Characters

King Duncan The good king of Scotland whom Macbeth, ambitious for the crown, murders. Duncan is the model of a virtuous, benevolent ruler. His death symbolizes the destruction of an order in Scotland that can be restored only when Duncan’s line, in the person of Malcolm, once more occupies the throne.
Malcolm Prince of Cumberland, The 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). Prior to this, he appears weak and uncertain of his own power, as when he and Donalbain flee Scotland after their father’s murder.
Donalbain one of Duncan’s sons who is thought to have murdered Duncan, flees to Ireland
Macbeth receives a prophecy from the witches that tells him that he will be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and king, inspired by witch’s prophecy, a man murders his way to the throne of Scotland, but his conscience plagues him and his fellow lords rise up against him; themes: unchecked ambition as a corrupting force, relationship between cruelty and masculinity, kingship v. tyranny
Lady Macbeth The true mastermind behind Duncan’s murder; accuses Macbeth of not being a man, at first. Commits suicide., Macbeth’s wife, a deeply 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 seize the crown. After the bloodshed begins, however, Lady Macbeth falls victim to guilt and madness to an even greater degree than her husband. Her conscience affects her to such an extent that she eventually commits suicide. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth apparently feel quite passionately for one another, and Lady Macbeth exploits her sexual hold over Macbeth as a means to persuade him to commit murder. However, their shared alienation from the world, occasioned by their partnership in crime, does not bring them closer together, but instead seems to numb their feelings for one another.
Fleance Banquo’s son; escapes death, Banquo’s son, who survives Macbeth’s attempt to murder him. At the end of the play, Fleance’s whereabouts are unknown. Presumably, he may come to rule Scotland, fulfilling the witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s sons will sit on the Scottish throne.
Banquo also receives a prophecy from the witches but does not change his actions because of it, Macbeth murders him and his ghost returns to haunt Macbeth, The brave, noble general whose children, according to the witches’ prophecy, will inherit the Scottish throne. Like Macbeth, this person thinks ambitious thoughts, but he does not translate those thoughts into action. In a sense, his character stands as a rebuke to Macbeth, since he represents the path Macbeth chose not to take: a path in which ambition need not lead to betrayal and murder. Appropriately, then, it is this person’s ghost – and not Duncan’s – that haunts Macbeth. In addition to embodying Macbeth’s guilt for killing this person, the ghost also reminds Macbeth that he did not emulate this person’s reaction to the witches’ prophecy.
Macduff finds Macbeth suspicious, leaves his family to go to England, eventually slays Macbeth because he is not technically born of a woman (caesarean section), A Scottish nobleman hostile to Macbeth’s kingship from the start. He eventually becomes a leader of the crusade to unseat Macbeth. The crusade’s mission is to place the rightful king, Malcolm, on the throne, but Macduff also desires vengeance for Macbeth’s murder of Macduff’s wife and young son.
Lady Macduff claims her husband is dead; will not forgive him for leaving the castle and his family vulnerable; killed by murderers, Macduff’s wife. The scene in her castle provides our only glimpse of a domestic realm other than that of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. She and her home serve as contrasts to Lady Macbeth and the hellish world of Inverness.
Ross a messenger throughout the play who tries to convince Lady Macduff that Macduff left for good reason, Macbeth’s cousin. Scottish nobleman who eventually turns on Macbeth. In Scottish army with Agnus. Talks with Old Man of the strange happenings, including horses eating each other.
Angus, Menteith, and Caithness Scottish nobles who are opposed to Macbeth
Lennox Scottish nobleman; goes with Macduff to Macbeth’s castle the night of Duncan’s murder; Macduff tells him of his suspicions about Macbeth’s guilt

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