Dramatis Personae

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- As seen by others in the beginning-
- "brave Macbeth" - Captain , I, ii
- "Bellona's bridegroom" - Ross, I, ii
- " valiant cousin, noble Macbeth, peerless kinsman" - Duncan, I, ii and V
- During the course of the novel till the end : character decreases - "this dead butcher"

1)Faults- burning ambition=> coupled with treacherous words of witches => thoughts of murder
- Macbeth knows the evil within him- " ...only /vaulting ambition" ( I, vii)
- Macbeth tries to Macbeth's evil but is swayed by the taunts and scolding of his wife. Act I, vii
- Act II- needs the support of his wife in carrying out the murder of Duncan

2)Guilt- strong imagination- turns guilt feelings into the physicality of a bloody knife ( Act I, iii) "..gouts of blood.."
- thinks he hears a voice call out when returning from the murder of Duncan
- sees Banquos Ghost

3)Fear- finds it easier to kill out of fear
- does not trust anyone
- ex- does not consult wife when he kills Banquo
- out of control- "I am blood/ stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
=> conscious decision to go on with evil deeds

4)Surrendered to Evil: ex- asks witches if he is now one of them - (IV, i)
- vows to be more brutal => orders the murder of Macduff's family ( IV, i 142-155)
- now described as "Devilish, treacherous, hell kite, fiend"

5)Realization- V, v- realizes that he has lost much more than he has gained

6)Pathos: treachery of the witches
- "Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw the warlike shield, lay on Macduff, and damned be him that first cries "hold enough'

Lady Macbeth: ( fiend-like Queen)

1)Beginning- violence of her determination and ambition => wants to be pitiless, to be male, to be cruel so she can achieve her "fell purpose"
- seems stronger than Macbeth

2)Macbeth- she is the driving force behind murder
- she shows her devotion to her husband in violent ways such as killing her own child

3)Guilt- does not realize the consequences of the deed
- guilt overcomes her ( III, vi ) "noughts had, all's spent, / Where our desire is got without content"
- by ( III, iv0 scene of the Banquet all drive's gone
- sleep walking- shows that the guilt has totally overcome her
- before= " a little water cleans the deed"
- after- "... all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
=> ends up committing suicid


- ( descendant of King Jams I of Shakespeare's time )
- major character in first two acts
- comparable standard to Macbeth
- more susceptable about witches words- "The instrument of darkness tell us truths/... to betrays/ In deepest consequence."
- moral will not let him be drawn into evil but is disturbed by the Witches and appeals to "Merciful Powers"
- will only do things that are honourable
- Macbeth- jealous of his virtue and the promise of a line of Kings as descendants <= provokes murder
- on Banquo ".. in his royalty of mature/ Reigns that which would be faced. 'Tis much he dares.." III, 1, 47-48 plus => wisdom and valour


-is disclosed as a shrewd and honourable man, maybe too honourable for his own good
-his knocking at the gate marks Macbeth’s downfall after Duncan’s murder and other than Banquo, Macduff is the first to be suspicious of Macbeth
-too trusting - leaves family in Scotland
-scene w/ Malcolm reveals his honour and loyalty
-the grief he shows at the news of his family’s slaying is profound
-Macduff like Banquo, is a character that contrasts Macbeth
-he is made known to audience after Banquo’s murder
-Banquo and Macduff = characteristics of honour and loyalty are embodied in them


-Model of a good king, just as Macbeth embodies evil king ship
-a dignified and gentle ruler, keen on rewarding those who have shown him loyalty
-Duncan’s faults - too generous and too trusting
-is generous in his praise of Macbeth “More is thy due...”
-Macbeth uses Duncan’s virtues when deciding whether or not to assassinate him
-Duncan can act firmly as a king, as shown when he orders the Thane of Cawdor executed

The Witches:

-they are more able to tempt men to do evil instead of committing evil deeds themselves
-King James I wrote a book about witchcraft
-Banquo rejects them and lives
-Macbeth becomes tempted and is lost in powers of darkness
-main examples of equivocation
-prime examples of disorder
-create an atmosphere of mystery and excitement
-often targets of exam essay topics
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