Macbeth - Presentation of Characters
Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare written sometime between 1603-1606, is a
tragic story of death and deceit amongst the noblemen of Scotland. The two main
characters are Macbeth, Thane of Glamis and his wife Lady Macbeth. The play is
based around the conflict in Scotland at the time between the King and
rebellious Scotsmen, who were overcome single-handedly by Macbeth on the side of
the King, Duncan. Macbeth and his fellow kinsman Banquo were met on a heath by
three witches who prophesised Macbeth becoming Thane of Cawdor, and later King
of Scotland. When he later learned he had been made Thane of Cawdor for his
service to the crown, he believed that it was the work of the witches. However,
rather than leaving it to the witches, Macbeth decided he would have to kill the
king himself if he wanted the crown, fulfilling his ambition.
the influence and assistance of his wife, he eventually murdered King Duncan,
with himself then becoming king. He is r!
esultantly guilt ridden, but his wife is very calm and accepts no responsibility
for Duncan?s death. The tables turn later on in the play though, with Macbeth
continuing his killing to gain more power and becoming more independent from his
wife, eventually leading to her going mad and committing suicide.
This play and the topics explored within it were very relevant to the time in
which it was written. Practising witchcraft became an executable offence in
1604, so the witches in the play would have caused quite some controversy.
Regicide, the murder of a king or queen, was also an extremely serious crime as
the king was believed to have been chosen by God, so to kill the king was to act