This is Macbeth characters list, which will help you in understanding the play Macbeth. Each character has its own role to play. Read all the important characters with in-depth analysis.
Macbeth is the central character of the play. He is Thane of Glamis and Scottish general. Initially, we get an idea of his bravery and we find him perfect for his role as a general. But soon we are in doubt about his character, after his encounter with the witches. The Prophecy of the witches, that he will become thane of Cawdor and future king leaves a deep impression on his mind. He is unable to control his ambition and mind. He keeps on thinking about the throne, after one of witches prophecy, that he will become Thane of Cawdor, turns out to be true. He murders King to achieve his ambition, but still, he isn’t satisfied and continues further crimes. He murders Banquo and the entire family of Macduff. He is good as a general, but he doesn’t fit the role of a King and turns out to be a cruel tyrant. Ultimately he reaches his end and was killed by Macduff. The entire story revolves around him and we see the inner turmoil, ambition, greed of power determining his action. He is a type of man, who himself have no control over his actions and ambition. He understands that his acts are not good, and he isn’t doing justice to his soul, but still under the influence of his wife, Lady Macbeth and his over ambition, he continues his bloody act throughout the play.
Further Reading: Character analysis of Macbeth in details
Lady Macbeth is the second most important character in Shakespeare Play, Macbeth. She is the wife of Macbeth. We are introduced to her when she was reading Macbeth’s letter in ACT 1, Scene 5. Her reaction, after reading Macbeth’s letter reveals her over ambitious nature. Further, in the play, she was found manipulating Macbeth in committing the crime. Macbeth, who was not sure, whether he should or shouldn’t kill King Duncan, was convinced by Lady Macbeth and ultimately he killed King. Lady Macbeth is shown in the play as someone having no heart, she could have killed Duncan himself if his face does not resemble her father. She appears ruthless, bold, fearless woman. Later in the play, we get to know about her weak character, she feels guilty, of all the crimes. In the sleepwalking scene, she sees her hands stained with blood and ultimately she commits suicide. Shakespeare, while sketching Lady Macbeth’s character, has someone very evil but yet weak character in mind. One who has the audacity to commit the crime, but cannot withstand its adverse effects on mind and soul.
Three witches are introduced in the very First Act and Scene of the Play, Macbeth. They play a major role in the drama. In fact, the root cause of major events in the play happens due to their prophecy. They are together referred as “weird sisters”. They appear before Macbeth and Banquo, when the later were returning from the battlefield. They planted the seeds of ambition, of becoming king, inside Macbeth’s mind. Later they made Macbeth think that he is immortal by saying him, that he couldn’t be killed by anyone born out of a woman. The bizarre appearance of the witches and with their weird activities arises both the sense of fear and funny inside our mind. They possess supernatural powers and they use it for their wicked deeds. Their intention behind their wicked activities is not clear.
Banquo and Macbeth are too brave general in the play, Macbeth. They both together encounters witches, but they both have a different take on it. Banquo was announced as the father of Kings, whereas Macbeth was announced as the future king himself. Though both Banquo and Macbeth were equally ambitious about it, but Banquo didn’t let the ambition lead him astray. He has control over his ambition and action. He is noble and wise and was first to guess that Macbeth actually cheated for the throne. He was later killed by murderers, sent by Macbeth. Banquo’s character stands as a contrast to the character of Macbeth. Shakespeare sketched both the character, to show a difference between normal behavior and abnormal behavior. Macbeth himself acknowledge that there is something noble and good about Banquo. Infact Macbeth fears him, it is Banquo’s ghost that Macbeth sees and not King Duncan clearly shows the fear and guilt inside Macbeth.
Further Reading: Character analysis of Banquo in details.
King Duncan, the king of Scotland, represents a ruler, who is perfect in every respect. He is kind, good-hearted, caring and giving in nature. He was murdered by Macbeth, in order to satisfy his ambition. Scotland becomes the land of disorder immediately after King Duncan’s death. It shows that the King was the perfect ruler and people of Scotland were happy under his rule. Macbeth himself acknowledge King Duncan as a virtuous and corruption free ruler in ACT 1, Scene 7.
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued.. (ACT 1, Scene 7)
Malcolm is the elder son of King Duncan, who along with his younger brother Donalbain, fled away from scotland after his father’s death. This is a display of weak character, as he didn’t wait there to avenge his father’s death. But the time and situation was not right for him, and he saw a severe life threat because whoever murdered his father, will soon target him. Later in the play, he formed an alliance with Macduff and King of England to overthrow Macbeth, in order to bring the situation of Scotland, back to normal. The first impression we got about Malcolm, as someone weak and unworthy but soon he emerged as powerful and sane. He acted according to what was apt for the situation. He would have been definitely killed by Macbeth if he would have stayed there. So we consider him as a wise and right person for the throne of Scotland.
Donalbain is the son of King Duncan and younger brother of Malcolm. He along with his brother fled away from Scotland after his father’s death. He has played a short role in the play. He didn’t join the battle against Macbeth.
Fleance is the son of Banquo, who escapes the murder attempted by Macbeth. According to witches prophecy that, Banquo will be the father of Kings. It is Fleance, who is in line to become king. But his whereabout is unknown to us. He will certainly become the King of Scotland, as all the prophecies made by witches turned out to be true.
Macduff is the thane of Fife and he is the one who ultimately killed Macbeth and brought an end to all evils in Scotland. He was against Macbeth from the day, King Duncan was murdered. Though he wasn’t sure about the murder mystery, but he doubted that Malcolm and Donalbain would have killed their father Duncan. He left Scotland and joined Malcolm in their attempt to bring order back to Scotland, which would only happen after killing Macbeth and Malcolm getting the throne as a rightful heir. His mission to wage war against Macbeth was more intensified after his family was killed by Macbeth.
Lady Macduff is the wife of thane of Fife, Macduff. In the play, we are introduced to her when she is awe-stricken at her condition. She along with her children were left alone by Macbeth amidst the trouble of Scotland, where her life is in Danger. She is eventually killed by murderers sent by Macbeth. She has a short role in the play, but her domestic life serves as a contrast to the domestic life of Lady Macbeth.
Lennox & Ross
Lennox & Ross are the noblemen of Scotland. they joined the rebel team to bring back the order in the state and help Malcolm to become King.
The murderers were the one who was ordered by Macbeth to kill Banquo and his Son. They succeed in killing Banquo, but his son Fleance fled away. Later they were ordered by Macbeth to kill Macduff’s family, which they did. They would have carried any order, good or bad, by Macbeth for the sake of money or some gains.
Porter is a drunk man whose duty is to attend door at Macbeth’s castle. He provides a comic relief to the play after King Duncan’s murder.