Macbeth: List of Characters
Three Witches—Evil prophets that guide Macbeth’s destiny with incomplete information regarding his future
Macbeth—Thane of Glamis, later King of Scotland
Lady Macbeth—Macbeth’s wife and supporter of her husband’s quest for power
Duncan—King of Scotland
Malcolm—Duncan’s older son
Donalbain—Duncan’s younger son
Banquo—General in the Scottish Army and Macbeth’s friend
Fleance—Banquo’s son who is seen as a threat by Macbeth
Macduff—Nobleman of Scotland and rival of Macbeth
Lady Macduff—Macduff’s wife
Lennox and Ross—Noblemen of Scotland that support Malcolm’s fight against Macbeth
Angus—Nobleman of Scotland and supporter against Macbeth
Monteith and Caithness—Noblemen of Scotland in Malcolm’s English Army
Porter—servant at Macbeth’s castle
Murderers—Macbeth’s hired killers
Hecate—Goddess of the Witches
Apparitions—Visions conjured up by the Witches to inform Macbeth of what he should fear for the future
Doctor and Gentlewoman—Servants that witness Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking
Seyton—An Officer in Macbeth’s Army
Siward—General in the English army fighting with Malcolm
Young Siward—Siward’s son in the English army with Malcolm
Captain—Soldier in Duncan’s military that reports on Macbeth’s success in the battle against Macdonwald
Introducing the play with the Witches in the first scene creates an evil tone and mysterious setting; something sinister is about to happen. Witches were traditionally thought of in Elizabethan times as evil and connected to devil’s work. The supernatural was feared and respected. The Witches statement, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, clearly depicts that the events in the play will be evil and destructive. The thunderstorm and filthy air reinforce the evil prediction of the Witches and clearly indicates to the audience that a conflict between man and nature/good and evil exists within the world of the play.
Scene 1 creates the atmosphere of evil that will continue throughout the play. Duncan is portrayed as a concerned and interested ruler. The Captain reports the events in the battle and he characterizes Macbeth as a worthy and loyal subject to Duncan. The King is filled with gratitude and respect for Macbeth and the Captain. Duncan’s compassion, however, is limited to his loyal subjects, as he orders the Thane of Cawdor’s execution immediately upon hearing of him being a traitor.
Macbeth’s actions in battle, by contrast, are barbaric and aggressive. He not only killed the enemy, but he cut him from his navel to his mouth and cut off the victim’s head and placed it on the “battlements.” This scene reveals the historical data needed for the introduction of the conflicts Macbeth creates and faces in his struggle for power. At this point Macbeth is viewed as a noble, loyal subject fighting battles victoriously for the King Act I Summary and Analysis 17and Scotland. However, his actions on the battlefield reveal him to be a ruthless killer.
The Witches begin Scene 3...