Macbeth Main Characters – Introduction
Macbeth is a tragedy play by William Shakespeare. The play is a classic case of man versus the world. The main character, Macbeth, is considered to be the protagonist while a case can be made that almost every other character in the play is an antagonist.
Macbeth falls victim to outside influences, scheming villains, and supernatural forces that all contribute to his downfall. His wife, Lady Macbeth, manipulates and influences him to take actions he probably would not otherwise have taken.
Many of the other military men plot against Macbeth and treat him as a force that must be eliminated. On top of all this, the three Witches provide supernatural complications for Macbeth as well.
Macbeth Character List
Who is the main character in Macbeth?
- Macbeth Protagonist — Macbeth
- Macbeth Antagonist — Everyone else
Macbeth Character Description
Macbeth Character Traits – In the start of the play, Macbeth is introduced as a Scottish military general. He is the thane of Glamis and has the potential to rise nobly through the ranks. However, it is quickly revealed that Macbeth is easily influenced by outside forces when three Witches show up with a prophecy that he will become king of Scotland. Aside from his fatal flaw of being easily influenced, Macbeth is painted as a brave war hero who has done everything he can for his country. Once Macbeth leaves behind the battlefield to test his abilities as a leader, it becomes clear that Macbeth does not have the patience or cleverness to claim the throne and keep it. He tends to meet problems with violence and murder in an attempt at a quick fix, which drives him down a path of madness. His descent into madness shows his extreme discomfort with being a crooked leader and murderer.
Lady Macbeth Character Description
Lady Macbeth Character Traits – She is ambitious and serves as the driving force behind Macbeth’s pursuit of the throne. Although becoming king was something Macbeth did want on his own, he did not have the wild ambition that Lady Macbeth has in the pursuit and she quickly overpowered his own vision for how he could become king. After Lady Macbeth has pushed Macbeth to murder the king, she goes mad with guilt. Her descent into madness is much quicker and more acute than Macbeth’s and probably contributed to her husband’s demise because of this.
The Three Witches Character Description
The Three Witches Character Traits – The play has three mysterious witches who wreak havoc against Macbeth through their prophecies. The reasons behind the Witches’ involvement in the play aren’t entirely clear, other than that they contribute to a spooky and gloomy mood. In many ways, these Witches resemble the classic Greek Fates, who have the task of determining the lifespan and destiny of all people on Earth. The Three Witches, however, are a bit more evil than the Fates of Greek legend.
Hecate Character Description
Hecate Character Traits – The goddess of witchcraft who rules over the Three Witches.
Banquo Character Description
Banquo Character Traits – A war general who is ambitious about his family’s role in inheriting the throne but doesn’t take brash action like Macbeth does. The Three Witches prophesize that Banquo’s sons will take over the Scottish throne. Once killed, Banquo’s ghost haunts Macbeth as he represents a more even-tempered pathway to the throne, which Macbeth failed to take.
Fleance Character Description
Fleance Character Traits – Banquo’s son who survives Macbeth’s plot to have him murdered. Even though, at the end of the play, Fleance’s location is unknown, it is suspected that he will one day rule Scotland since the Witches’ prophecy said that Banquo’s lineage would one day take the throne. This leaves the question—what sort of violence will lead to this?
King Duncan Character Description
King Duncan Character Traits – The King of Scotland at the beginning of the play. He is murdered so that Macbeth can become king. King Duncan represents virtue as a leader.
Malcom Character Description
Malcom Character Traits – The eldest son of King Duncan. His ascension to the throne at the end of the play symbolizes Scotland’s return to virtue and greatness.
Donalbain Character Description
Donalbain Character Traits – The youngest son of King Duncan.
Macduff Character Description
Macduff Character Traits – A Scottish nobleman who is against Macbeth from the start of his ascension to the throne. After Macbeth murders Macduff’s wife and son, he becomes vengeful. Macduff serves as the leader of a movement to remove Macbeth from the throne in order to replace him with Malcom.
- 1 Macbeth Main Characters – Introduction
- 2 Macbeth Character List
- 3 Macbeth Character Description
- 4 Lady Macbeth Character Description
- 5 The Three Witches Character Description
- 6 Hecate Character Description
- 7 Banquo Character Description
- 8 Fleance Character Description
- 9 King Duncan Character Description
- 10 Malcom Character Description
- 11 Donalbain Character Description
- 12 Macduff Character Description