Banquois Macbeth’s best friend. He helps Macbeth to lead Duncan’s troops in battle. He has a son called Fleance, who he is very close to. Banquo is with Macbeth when they first encounter the witches. Banquo is interested to hear what the witches have to say but unlike Macbeth he leaves his future to fate. Banquo is told that he will not be king but that his sons will provide a line of kings. Macbeth decides that Banquo and his son must be killed to ensure that they do not steal his crown and produce that line of kings. Banquo is killed but Fleance manages to escape. Macduffis another nobleman. He becomes important later in the play when the witches tell Macbeth that Macduff is the only one that he should fear. Macbeth responds by sending men to kill him and his family. Fortunately, Macduff has managed to flee Scotland, although his family are not so lucky. In the final scene Macduff avenges his family’s death by killing Macbeth. He reveals that he was born by caesarean section and henceforth he was not born ‘of a woman’, as the witches had prophesised. Duncanis the king of Scotland at the start of the play. He is well liked but seems to be a bad judge of character. At the start of the play he has been betrayed by the Thane of Cawdor. Shortly afterwards, he is killed by Macbeth. He has two sons, Donalbain and Malcolm, who are initially blamed for Duncan’s death. They flee Scotland and return later to defeat Macbeth. Angus, Ross and Lennoxare all Scottish noblemen. They provide examples of the correct way for noblemen to behave. They also help to move the action along by serving as messengers for other characters or the audience.
CharacterisationBy ‘characterisation’, we mean all of the different ways in which the writer creates convincing and realistic characters. In a play such as Macbeth, characterisation is achieved through what the characters say and what they do. Skilful characterisation means that as the audience watches the play they can believe in the characters and share in their joys and sorrows. Macbeth Macbeth is the lead character in the play. He lives in a castle in Inverness with his wife Lady Macbeth. He is a relative of King Duncan and has the title Thane of Glamis. At the beginning of the play, he is on his way back from leading Duncan’s army in battle, with the help of his friend Banquo. On his way back from battle, he and Banquo meet three weird women, who prophesy that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king. Macbeth is a very ambitious character and these prophecies appeal to his ambition. Macbeth writes to his wife about the prophecies and she becomes intent on bringing him to the throne as soon as possible. She makes a plan to help him secure the throne by killing Duncan and goads Macbeth into carrying out the plan.