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Free Study Guide-Macbeth by William Shakespeare-Booknotes Summary
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

Macbeth as the personification of greed and resulting evil. He kills the king to seize the throne for himself and continues to murder to protect himself from discovery.

Antagonist

His conscience and guilt, which are his undoing (and the forces of good at work)

Climax

At the banquet scene (at mid point in the play), Macbeth can no longer hide his torment and guilt and incriminates himself saying "Thou canst say I did it." From this point forward in the play, there is no hope for Macbeth. His mind and his country sink into chaos. It is obvious that he is beyond the point of recovery, and his story will end tragically.


Outcome

The play ends in tragedy, for the main character loses his battle with himself. Since the main character is the personification of greed and evil, the theme of the play indicates that evil will not prevail.

(A more simplistic way to view the conflict is to name Macbeth as the protagonist and the good people of Scotland, specifically in the persons of Malcolm and Macduff, as the antagonist trying to overthrow an evil king. If viewed in this manner, the climax is then delayed until the point when Macduff actually murders Macbeth in the closing scene of the play.).

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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