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Macbeth Characters Project

A revision tool for students
by

Jessica Rancourt

on 20 December 2012

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Transcript of Macbeth Characters Project

Duncan Macbeth Lady Macbeth Banquo The Witches The Players in the Drama Macbeth Play Themes Macbeth is a brave and valiant soldier, ready to die for his king, Duncan. However, the prophecies of the witches have a powerful effect on him, especially when he learns the first has come true, and he becomes the Thane of Cawdor. He thinks more and more about being king, and he is easily persuaded to agree to murder Duncan. However, he often appears weak - he starts to have visions, he asks lots of questions, he cannot make a decision and never really seems sure of himself. For example, he panics after the murder and has to rely on his wife to find an alibi. Later in the play he appears to be more in control and less reliant on his wife. For instance, he plans to murder Banquo without even telling his wife. He also ignores his visions and makes decisions quickly, giving orders rather than asking questions. At times he is full of confidence but he is also distant and seems to ignore the death of his wife.
Lady Macbeth is power hungry. She manipulates her husband .She can remain in control, does not panic and orders Macbeth around. She shows no remorse She says "Give me the daggers" She sees Macbeth as a coward. Lady Macbeth is powerful She tells the lords to "speak not" and "go at once"
She becomes delusional and tries to wash imaginary blood from her hands and we are told she commits suicide. Duncan is the king at the start of the play. He is presented as a strong ruler. For instance, when he finds out the first Thane of Cawdor is a traitor, he immediately executes him and puts Macbeth in his place. He is also perceptive, and knows that you can't always tell who is a traitor. For example, when begging Macbeth to come back to scottland he asked him a bunch of questions to gain trust. He is respected by everyone. However, he perhaps leads Macbeth into thinking about murder. Duncan announces that his son, Malcolm, will become the next king, and this starts Macbeth thinking of ways he might become king himself. The witches introduce the play and control the mystery of the world. They know the future and their prophesies put Macbeth under their spell. Their magical words are well known "Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble." Banquo is one of Macbeth's close friend and ally. He knows about the witches and their predictions but doesn't take them seriously at first. Later he thinks more about it, but he is never tempted in the way Macbeth is. However, he starts to realize how interested Macbeth is and then gets suspicious of him. Banquo is also presented as a very brave and completely loyal soldier - even when Macbeth tempts him, Banquo makes it clear he wants to keep his loyalty to the kind. Macduff is the one who first finds Duncan's body and who eventually kills Macbeth. He is seen as completely loyal to Duncan and his country. He is brave, swearing to investigate the murder and he doesn't go to see Macbeth crowned. This implies Macduff is already suspicious. He then goes to England to raise an army and his family are murdered on Macbeth's orders. He convinces Malcolm to join his attack against Macbeth. He kills Macbeth in the final battle because he is not born of a woman. He is inferior to his peers. MacDuff Malcolm is Duncan's son and is named as the Prince of Cumberland, so will inherit the throne from his father. However, when his father is murdered he runs away to England to save himself. He returns later and is convinced by Macduff to join the attack against Macbeth, the murderer of his father. Malcolm

A major theme is the supernatural - the idea that there are mysterious forces controlling what is happening in our lives. The very first characters we meet are the three witches, and their prophecies are what drives the story forward. In Shakespeare's time, belief in witchcraft was very strong and many so-called witches were burnt at the stake. It is not surprising that his audience would have taken these ideas seriously and felt that Macbeth was somehow possessed. There are lots of references to this - he is unable to say 'Amen', he has visions, he is disturbed and even thinks no-one can kill him.
The final battle scene also contains many elements of the supernatural. Macbeth believes he is invincible because many of the witches' prophecies appear impossible to fulfil and yet just as the witches predicted Birnamwood does indeed move to Dunsinane, and Macbeth is killed by Macduff because he is not born from a woman. By:
Jessica Rancourt
and
Rachel Bazzano
Full transcript