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Free Study Guide-Macbeth by William Shakespeare-Booknotes Summary
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes

KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

Mainly set in Scotland in the 11th century, mostly in Macbeth's castle and the king's palace at Forres.

Also in military camps and open fields near the battleground, and at King Edward's palace in England.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Macbeth

The evil King of Scotland who stole the throne from Duncan by murdering him and who sinks into a state of chaos because of his greed and guilt; his evil acts lead to his ruin, and rebel forces lead an attack against him, and Macduff, in a personal battle, beheads him.

Lady Macbeth

The wife of Macbeth, who is even more driven by greed and power than her husband and who is the manipulative force behind the murder Duncan. Like her husband, fear and remorse cause her ruin; she goes mad and kills herself.

Malcolm

King Duncan's oldest son, rightful heir to the throne of Scotland, who flees to England after his father's murder and later returns to lead a successful attack against Macbeth.

Banquo

A general in Duncan's army and a close friend of Macbeth prior to Macbeth's seizing the throne. Macbeth begins to fear the good Banquo and has him murdered.


Macduff

A general in Duncan's army who becomes suspicious of Macbeth's part in the king's murder. Macduff flees to England to encourage Malcolm to fight against Macbeth and seize his rightful crown. When Macbeth murders Macduff's entire family, Macduff swears personal revenge against the tyrant and succeeds in beheading him during battle.

The Three Witches

The personification of evil who prophesy that Macbeth will become the King of Scotland, planting the seed of greed in his mind. They later predict his downfall.

Minor Characters

Donaldbain

Duncan's youngest son who flees to Ireland after his father's murder and does not return.

Lennox

One of Duncan's nobles who accompanies Macbeth to Duncan's chambers after his murder. Lennox is suspicious of Macbeth and fearful for Scotland.

Ross

A Scottish noble and cousin to Macduff. He brings the good news of Macbeth's military victory and the bad news about Macduff's murdered family.

Siward

Earl of Northumberland and veteran military officer; he becomes an ally of Malcolm and Macduff and leads the first attack against Macbeth's forces.

Young Siward

The son of Siward who follows his father to fight against Macbeth in Scotland; he is killed in battle.

Seton

The only remaining officer in Macbeth's army that remains loyal to him.

Hecate

The queen of the witches.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes


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Free Study Guide-Macbeth by William Shakespeare-Booknotes Summary
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