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The Tragedy of Macbeth Main Characters

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1 The Tragedy of Macbeth Main Characters
Duncan – King of Scotland, evidently a mild-mannered king, murdered by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Malcolm- son of Duncan. When Duncan is murdered, Malcolm, fearful of meeting the same fate, flies to England. Macduff urges Malcolm to retrun to Scotland and claim his throne.

2 Character List Continued
Macbeth – General of the King’s army, afterwards King of Scotland. He recoils at first from the murder of Duncan even though he is ambitious to become king. Under the prodding of his wife, he murders King Duncan. Banquo – General of the King’s army. Macbeth murders Banquo because Macbeth realizes that Banquo suspects that Macbeth murdered Duncan.

3 Characters Continued Macduff – Macbeth’s special nemesis. Since Macduff has been born without the labor of his mother, he can circumvent the prophecy made to Macbeth by the witches. Lady Macbeth – wife to Macbeth. She has often been played as a villainess. She seems more bloodthirsty than her husband in the early stages of the play. Her sleepwalking scene in Act V shows that she possesses a conscience.

4 Supporting Characters
Angus – Scottish noble Caithness – Scottish noble Donalbain – younger son of Duncan Fleance – Banquo’s son, who manages to escape his father’s fate Hecate Lennox – Scottish noble Lady MacDuff – killed by order of Macbeth

5 Supporting Characters Continued
Menteith – Scottish noble Ross – Scottish noble Seyton – an officer attending Macbeth Siward – Earl of Northumberland Young Siward – Northumberland’s son Three Witches – the weird sisters Gentlewoman; an old man; an English doctor and a Scotch doctor; Captain; a drunken porter etc.

6 Background The probable date of composition is The only text is to be found in the First Folio (1623), a version which many scholars believe to be garbled.

7 Act I Duncan, King of Scotland, has found it necessary to meet two threats to his kingdom. The first threat, a rebellion led by Macdonald, has been put down by Macbeth and Banquo. Then the Norweigians launched an attack on Scotland. When Macbeth and Banquo meet three witches, they hail Macbeth first as Thane of Glamis, next thane of Cawdor , and finally as one who shall be king hereafter. Macbeth’s ambition begins to grow. When King Duncan decides to stay the night at Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth

8 Act I Continued Reinforces Macbeth’s desire to kill King Duncan while he sleeps at their home. Although Macbeth realizes there are many reasons why he shouldn’t commit the crime, he determines to proceed.

9 Act II Macbeth and Lady Macbeth go ahead with their plans for murder. Lady Macbeth drugged the King’s servants whom she plans to blame for the crime. Macbeth enters the King’s chamber and stabs King Duncan. Lady Macbeth smears the blood on the King’s servants, so they will be blamed for the murder. Macduff and Lennox have traveled here to meet the King, and they discover the murdered king. The servants are immediately blamed and Macbeth then kills them to avenge the death( to keep them quiet). The King’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain fear for their lives and

10 Act II Continued flee to England and Ireland . Because of their quick departure, they are believed to be accomplices in the murder of their father. Macbeth is then chosen to be king.

11 Act III Summary Scene 1 At the king’s palace at Forres, Banquo reveals that he suspects Macbeth of having murdered Duncan. Macbeth invites Banquo to a banquet that night and learns that Banquo and his son Fleance will come. Macbeth hires three murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance.

12 Act III Scene 2 Lady Macbeth expresses her discontent in a brief soliloquy. She urges Macbeth to be fearless and more cheerful. Macbeth says that he envies Duncan, who is at peace, and says that he fears Banquo and his children. He also says that a dreadful deed will soon be accomplished. He tells Lady Macbeth nothing of his plans to have Banquo and Fleance murdered.

13 Act III Scene 3 Near the palace the murderers kill Banquo. Fleance escapes. Scene 4 The banquet at Forres is under way when one of the murderers calls Macbeth aside to tell him that Banquo is dead but Fleance is not. Macbeth alone among the guests sees Banquo’s ghost. He speaks to it, causing the other guests to think he is mad. He and Lady Macbeth say that he is ill, and Lady Macbeth dismisses the guests. Macbeth says that he will send for Macduff and visit the witches.

14 Act III Scene 5 At a witches’ haunt, Hecate, the queen of the witches, meets the weird sisters and berates them for leaving her out of their dealings with Macbeth. Scene 6 A conversation in the palace brings developments up-to-date. Lennox explains his suspicions of Macbeth and asks a Scottish lord where Macduff is in England, raising an army against Macbeth. Macbeth, he reports summoned Macduf but Macduff refused to come.

15 Act IV Scene 1 The weird sisters chant before a caldron. Macbeth enters demanding to know the future. The witches show him three apparitions (an armed head, a bloody child, and a child wearing a crown), and theses visions give him advice and make predictions. The first tells Macbeth to beware of Macduff; the second says that no one born of woman will hurt Macbeth; and the third tells him that he will not be conquered until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.

16 Act IV Scene 1 Continued When Macbeth demands to learn more, the witches show him another apparition: eight kings, including Banquo, who points to these kings as his descendants and holds up a mirror to indicate the continuation of his line. The witches vanish, and Lennox appears and tells Macbeth that Macduff has fled to England. As the scene ends Macbeth is planning to murder Lady Macduff, her children, and anyone else of Macduff’s lineage.

17 Act IV Scene 2 At Macduff’s castle, Ross tells Lady Macduff that Macduff has gone to England. Ross leaves and as Macduff has gone to England. Ross leaves, and as Lady Macduff and her young son talk, a messenger arrives and warns them to flee. The murderers arrive immediately and kill first her son and then her. Scene 3 In England, Macduff attempts to secure Malcolm’s aid in fighting Macbeth. Malcolm first tests Macduff’s loyalty to Scotland.

18 Act IV Scene 3 Continued After Macduff proves his integrity, Malcolm tells him that an army is ready to attack Macbeth. Ross then tells Macduff that his wife, children, and servants have been murdered. Macduff prays to meet Macbeth in battle.

19 Act V Scene 1 At the castle at Dunsinane, Lady Macbeth’s lady-in-waiting and doctor discuss Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking. As they talk, Lady Macbeth enters, walking in her sleep. She rubs her hands repeatedly as if to rid them of the blood that she imagines stains them. From Lady Macbeth’s words the onlookers infer that the Mabeths murdered Duncan. The doctor will not speak of his suspicions.

20 Act V Scene 2 In Birnam Wood, near Dunsinane, Malcolm, Macduff, and their forces gather. The Scottish lords discuss their plans and Macbeth’s reported state of mind. Scene3 Inside the castle at Dunsinane, Macbeth, because of the witches’ prophecies, feels confident that he is invincible. A servant brings news of the approaching army.

21 Act V Scene 4 The troops have gathered near Birnam Wood to attack Macbeth. Malcolm orders the soldiers to carry branches from the woods as camouflage. Scene 5 In the castle at Dunisnane , as Macbeth awaits the approaching army, an offstage cry is heard. Seyton, Macbeth’s attendant, enters with news that lady Macbeth is dead. Macbeth delivers his famous soliloquy(“tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…”). A messenger brings the news that Birnam Wood is approaching the castle.

22 Act V Scene 6 On the field near the castle, Malcolm orders his troops to throw down their camouflage and attack. Scene 7 Elsewhere on the field, Macbeth kills Young Siward, son of Siward, the earl of Northumberland. Macbeth exits with Macduff in pursuit.

23 Act V Scene 8 Elsewhere on the field, Macduff confronts Macbeth, who at first refuses to fight him, warning him that no one born of a woman can harm him. Macduff explains that he was not born of a woman but by Caesarean section. Macbeth still refuses to fight, but Macduff goads him by vowing to place him in a cage and display him as a fallen tyrant. Their fight begins and continues offstage. Ross reports to Siward that Young Siward has died bravely. Macduff returns with the head of Macbeth and acclaims Malcolm king of Scotland. Malcolm promises to restore peace and order to Scotland.

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