Mecbeth Essay

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CHARACTER SKETCH Duncan, King of Scotland A kindly and trusting older man, Duncan's unsuspecting nature leaves him open to Macbeth's betrayal. Both before and after the regicide, it is Duncan's particularly virtuous nature that enhances Macbeth's sense of guilt. The historic Duncan, incidentally, was a young man when he was betrayed by his general Macbeth. Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan's sons Although Malcolm and Donalbain seem to have inherited Duncan's fairness, both display a cunning that far surpasses their father. After Duncan's death, they fear for their lives rightly and both flee Scotland. Malcolm also tests Macduff's loyalty whilst abroad by putting on dishonorable and corrupt airs. Such cunning, or shrewdness, allows for their successful return to the crown of Scotland. Macbeth, Thane of Glamis Macbeth is a general in the king's army and originally the Thane of Glamis. As a reward for his valiant fighting, described in the opening scene, Macbeth is also named the Thane of Cawdor. Appropriately, the former Thane of Cawdor was a traitor to the crown who appeared loyal. At heart, Macbeth does not deserve the adjective "evil." To be sure, he commits regicide and eventually orders the death of women and children alike. But unlike Iago of Othello or Edmund of King Lear, Macbeth is not an explicitly malicious villain. His initial crime is a product of opportunistic prophecies, a weakness of character, his "vaulting ambition," and certainly the influence of Lady Macbeth. Thereafter, he is compelled to commit further crimes in an attempt to cover his tracks and defy the three witches' prophecy. After Duncan's death and the flight of Malcolm and Donalbain, Macbeth reigns as king of Scotland until his death. Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's wife What Macbeth lacks in decisiveness, Lady Macbeth makes up for in bloodthirsty lust for power and wealth. Swearing
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