Cast of Characters


At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is the thane of Glamis and a Scottish general. A complex main character, Macbeth has wild ambitions and often gives into temptations. Slightly gullible, Macbeth has the tendency to believe what others tell him without considering the situation from all possible angels. For instance, after a prophecy that declares Macbeth will become the thane of Cawdor comes to fruition, Macbeth puts much stock into the potential that he may also become king; after all, the prophecy has declared the possibility. His ambition, however, proves to be his undoing. When Macbeth gives into Lady Macbeth’s plan to kill Duncan, the current Scottish King, Macbeth feels a tinge of guilt but commits the murder anyway. He decides to stop at nothing to become king. Instead of ruling as a kind and generous king, Macbeth becomes a tyrant who relies on violence and murder to keep him at the throne.

Despite his willingness to murder, Macbeth does have a smidgen of a guilty conscience. Whereas Lady Macbeth does not hesitate, Macbeth tends to stutter and stall instead of murdering without a second thought. Self-doubt plagues Macbeth; it seems that he cannot engage in any activity if it goes against the prophecies. After he begins murdering others, Macbeth proves unable to deal with his guilt. Upon seeing Banquo’s ghost, it is apparent to Macbeth’s dinner guests and the audience of the play that he cannot emotionally handle the role of king. Although his dinner guests do not know that Macbeth is responsible for Banquo’s death, his increasingly flippant actions cause them to doubt his authority and ability to remain sane.

Ultimately, Macbeth proves to be a better warrior on the battlefield than a man suited for the position of king. The battlefield does not bring the same sense of guilt or despair to Macbeth; the men he kills on the battlefield are faces without names. When Macduff fights Macbeth, Macbeth does not give up on himself or defer to his wife as he did when he reigned as king. Instead, he...

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Essays About Macbeth