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Investigate the characters

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  • Macbeth

    Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis and married to Lady Macbeth. He is a brave and successful captain in King Duncan’s army. He meets three witches who tell him that he will one day be king. Persuaded by his wife, he murders King Duncan and is appointed king. During his reign, he begins to fear the loyalty of those around him including Banquo and Macduff. He tries to keep the throne by murdering more people but is tormented by ghosts and dreams. He is defeated by Malcolm’s army and killed by Macduff.

    Facts we learn about Macbeth at the start of the play:

    • He is the Thane of Glamis.
    • He is a captain in King Duncan’s army.
    • He killed the rebel Macdonald in battle and helped King Duncan to achieve victory.
    • He is married to Lady Macbeth and they live in a castle in Inverness.

    Things they say:

    ‘I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’other -‘ (Macbeth, 1:7)

    Macbeth doubts himself but also confesses he is extremely ambitious.

    ‘No boasting like a fool; / This deed I'll do before the purpose cool.’ (Macbeth, 4:1)

    Macbeth's attitude towards murder changes and he quickly makes the decision to murder Macduff's family.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name’ (Captain, 1:2)

    Macbeth is well respected in King Duncan’s army for his military success.

    ‘Yet do I fear thy nature, / It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way’ (Lady Macbeth, 1:5)

    Macbeth has a kind and sympathetic personality, which Lady Macbeth fears will make him unable to achieve their ambitions through murder.

    ‘Not in the legions / Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned / In evils to top Macbeth.’ (Macduff, 4:3)

    Macbeth is no longer the worthy and brave leader he was and is now thoroughly evil.

  • Lady Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth is married to Macbeth and lives at their home in Inverness. She seems to want the throne as much as her husband, so encourages him to murder King Duncan. At first, she copes with the deeds well, but is soon plagued by guilt. She begins to sleepwalk and re-enact the murders. She kills herself.

    Facts we learn about Lady Macbeth at the start of the play:

    • She lives in their castle in Inverness.
    • She and Macbeth trust each other and plan together.
    • She has been waiting for Macbeth to return from battle.
    • She and Macbeth do not have any living children.

    Things they say:

    ‘and chastise thee with the valour of my tongue’ (Lady Macbeth, 1:5)

    Lady Macbeth knows her influence over her husband. She values her own courage.

    'I would, while it was smiling in my face, / Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums / And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn / As you have done to this.’ (Lady Macbeth, 1:7)

    Lady Macbeth would do anything rather than break her promise and is capable of great violence.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘my dearest love’ (Macbeth, 1:5)

    Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have a loving marriage.

    ‘thy undaunted mettle should compose nothing but males’ (Macbeth, 1:7)

    Lady Macbeth seems determined and unafraid, which Macbeth associates with masculinity.

    ‘his fiend-like queen’ (Malcolm, 5:9)

    Lady Macbeth has used devilish means to achieve her ambitions.

  • The Witches

    The witches are three weird sisters who have supernatural powers. They plan to meet with Macbeth after the battle and deliver prophecies to him and Banquo. Later, Hecate is angry with them for meddling. She decides that they will punish Macbeth. The witches then give further prophecies to Macbeth about the things he should fear.

    Facts we learn about the Witches at the start of the play:

    • They have decided to meet after the battle.
    • They want to meet with Macbeth on the heath at sunset.
    • The witches have familiars called Graymalkin and Paddock.
    • They cast spells and cause problems for people in the local areas.

    Things they say:

    'The weird sisters, hand in hand, / Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go, about, about…’ (Witches, 1:3)

    The witches are close, like sisters, and meet to chant spells and cast magic together.

    'Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, / And show the best our delights.' (Witches, 4:1)

    The witches delight in shocking Macbeth with their prophecies.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘So withered and so wild in their attire, / That they look not like h’inhabitants o’th’earth’ (Banquo, 1:3)

    The witches look inhuman. Their look and clothes are very wild.

    '…what seemed corporal, / Melted, as breath into the wind’ (Macbeth, 1:3)

    The witches appear to vanish into air before Macbeth and Banquo’s eyes.

    ‘Have I not reason, beldams, as you are, / Saucy and over-bold?’ (Hecate, 3:5)

    The witches have meddled with things they should not have. They are over-confident.

  • Banquo

    Banquo is a friend of Macbeth and a fellow captain. Along with Macbeth, he has led the Scottish troops to victory. He is also given a prophecy by the witches. As he sees the prophecies come true for Macbeth, he begins to suspect his friend of evil deeds. Macbeth has him killed, but the ghost of Banquo continues to haunt Macbeth.

    Facts we learn about Banquo at the start of the play:

    • He is a successful captain in Duncan’s army alongside Macbeth.
    • He is curious about the witches’ prophecies for both himself and Macbeth.
    • He has a son called Fleance.

    Things they say:

    ‘So I lose none / In seeking to augment it, but still keep / My bosom franchised and allegiance clear, / I shall be counselled.’ (Banquo, 2:1)

    Banquo is loyal to Duncan and vows to do nothing devious to make the prophecy come true.

    'In the great hand of God I stand and thence / Against the undivulged pretense I fight / of treasonous malice.’ (Banquo, 2:3)

    Banquo is courageous. He leads the other thanes in a vow to discover who has committed the treasonous murder of King Duncan.

    'May they not be my oracles as well / And set me up in hope?’ (Banquo, 3:1)

    Banquo is hopeful that the prophecy about his children will come true too. He has ambitions.

    Things others say about them:

    'Noble Banquo, / That hast no less deserved, nor must be known / No less to have done so, let me enfold thee / And hold thee to my heart.’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    Banquo is greatly valued for his bravery and loyalty.

    'Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be feared.’ (Macbeth, 3:1)

    Banquo has royal and noble qualities. He could make a good king.

  • Macduff

    Macduff is the Thane of Fife. He is married to Lady Macduff and has children. Macduff suspects Macbeth of killing Duncan, and joins with Malcolm to overthrow him. When Macduff's family is killed by Macbeth, he vows revenge. Macduff fights with Macbeth and kills him.

    Facts we learn about Macduff at the start of the play:

    • He has a wife and children.
    • He visits Macbeth’s castle in Inverness to meet with King Duncan.
    • He is loyal to Duncan and does not go to Macbeth’s coronation

    Things they say:

    'But I must also feel it as a man; / I cannot but remember such things were / That were most precious to me.’ (Macduff, 4:3)

    Macduff feels has a strong bond with his family and grieves for them when they are killed.

    'My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain / Than terms can give thee out.’ (Macduff, 5:8)

    Macduff is a man of action, rather than words.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘Here comes the good Macduff’ (Ross, 2:4)

    Macduff is valued as an ally and a friend.

    'How says thou that Macduff denies his person / At our great bidding?’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    Macduff has integrity and stands up for what he believes in, even if it puts him at risk.

    ‘Macduff, this noble passion, / Child of integrity, hath from my soul / Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts / To thy good truth and honour’ (Malcolm, 4:3)

    Macduff is loyal to Scotland and its people, which reassures Malcolm of his honesty and goodness.

  • Duncan

    Duncan is the King of Scotland. He has two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain. He trusts Macbeth and honours him with a new title and a visit to his castle. Whilst he is visiting, Macbeth murders him in his sleep.

    Facts we learn about Duncan at the start of the play:

    • He is a well-liked and successful king.
    • His army has just defeated the rebel Macdonald’s forces and the Norwegian troops.
    • He has two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain.
    • He shows gratitude to those loyal to him through praise, land and titles.

    Things they say:

    'He was a gentleman on whom I build / An absolute trust.’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    Duncan is a trusting man who puts faith in the loyalty of those serving him.

    'The sin of my ingratitude even now / Was heavy on me.’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    Duncan is grateful to the men who have supported him.

    Things others say about them:

    'Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead like angels’ (Macbeth, 1:7)

    Duncan is a gentle and fair ruler. Duncan is well respected by his lords and officers.

  • Malcolm

    Malcolm is King Duncan’s eldest son, and is set to inherit the throne after Duncan’s death. When Duncan is murdered in Macbeth’s castle, Malcolm is immediately suspicious and fearful so flees to England. He and Macduff lead an army to overthrow Macbeth. Once Macbeth is defeated, Malcolm becomes the new King of Scotland.

    Facts we learn about Malcolm at the start of the play:

    • He is the eldest son of King Duncan.
    • He has a younger brother called Donalbain.
    • He is with his father and brother when they receive news of victory in battle.
    • He is given the title the Prince of Cumberland and will inherit the throne.

    Things they say:

    'The murderous shaft that’s shot / Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way / Is to avoid the aim.’ (Malcolm, 2:3)

    Malcolm wants to protect his brother Donalbain. He is cautious in his response to his father’s death.

    'Let not my jealousies be your dishonours, / But mine own safeties.’ (Malcolm, 4:3)

    Malcolm does not trust easily. He is suspicious of the other thanes after the murder of his father.

    Things others say about them:

    ‘We will establish our estate upon / Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter / The Prince of Cumberland’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    Malcolm is declared as the successor to the throne after his father Duncan.

    ‘Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons, / Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them / Suspicion of the deed.’ (Macduff, 2:4)

    Malcolm’s action of running away after his father’s death is viewed as suspicious by the other thanes.

    'Revenges burn in them, for their dear causes / Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm / Excite the mortified man.’ (Menteith, 5:2)

    Malcolm is a passionate leader, who inspires his followers with his cause.

  • Ross

    Ross is a thane in Scotland. He brings reports of Macbeth’s bravery to King Duncan. Ross visits Lady Macduff to tell her that Macduff has fled to England. Later, he delivers the news to Macduff that his family have been murdered. He is part of the army that overthrows Macbeth.

    Facts we learn about Ross at the start of the play:

    • He is a Scottish thane.
    • He is trusted by Duncan to deliver news about the battle.
    • He is given the job of telling Macbeth about his new position as Thane of Cawdor.

    Things they say:

    ‘I dare not speak much further, / But cruel are the times when we are traitors / And do not know ourselves’ (Ross, 4:2)

    Ross is sympathetic and reassuring to Lady Macduff. He is diplomatic and careful about what he reveals to her because there is a lot of danger.

    Things others say about them:

    'The worthy Thane of Ross’ (Malcolm, 1:2)

    Ross is liked and respected by King Duncan and his sons.

    'My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.’ (Macduff, 4:3)

    Ross has a kind and good nature.

  • Fleance

    Fleance is Banquo’s young son. Macbeth begins to fear him after hearing the witches’ prophecy that one day Banquo’s sons will be kings. Macbeth sends murderers to kill Fleance but Fleance escapes.

    Facts we learn about Fleance at the start of the play:

    • He is Banquo’s son.
    • The witches' prophecy says that Fleance or his descendants will be kings.
    • He is with Banquo at Macbeth's castle when they return from battle.

    Things others say about them:

    'Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!’ (Banquo, 3:3)

    Fleance is loved and protected by his father Banquo.

    'The worm that's fled / Hath nature that in time will venom breed, / No teeth for the present’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    Fleance is young, which makes Macbeth believe he is not yet a great threat to him.

Explore their relationships

Macbeth

  • Macbeth - Lady Macbeth

    From the way Macbeth describes Lady Macbeth at the start of the play, they appear to have a strong relationship. Macbeth tells her about everything that happened with the witches and they plot together to kill Duncan.

    ‘This I have thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee.’ (Macbeth’s letter, 1:5)

    Macbeth waivers over killing Duncan, which angers Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is persuaded by his wife to go through with the murder.

    ‘What beast was’t then / That made you break this enterprise to me?’ (Lady Macbeth, 1:7)

    The couple work as a team to murder Duncan and his guards. Lady Macbeth criticises Macbeth for bringing the daggers back and returns them to the murder scene herself. She helps Macbeth wash away the blood.

    ‘A little water clears us of this deed.’ (Lady Macbeth, 2:2)

    Their relationship is publicly strained when Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo at a feast. Lady Macbeth is irritated by his lack of courage and has to send the guests away. Macbeth makes plans to kill more people and to visit the weird sisters alone without telling her.

    ‘You make me strange / Even to the disposition that I owe…’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    Lady Macbeth dies, having been driven mad by guilt. Macbeth receives the news of her death and doesn’t react emotionally to it.

    ‘She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word.’ (Macbeth, 5:5)

  • Macbeth - Banquo

    Macbeth and Banquo are both captains in Duncan’s army and have fought alongside each other. They both receive prophecies from the witches.

    ‘Think upon what hath chanced and at more time, / The interim having weighed it, let us speak / Our free hearts each to other.’ (Macbeth, 1:3)

    Trust begins to break down between Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth lies to Banquo in Act 2 when he is on his way to kill Duncan, saying that he has not thought about the witches’ prophecies since.

    Banquo: ‘I dreamed last night of the three weird sisters; / To you they have showed some truth.’
    Macbeth: ‘I think not of them.’ (2:1)

    Both men begin to deeply mistrust one another in Act 3. Banquo fears that Macbeth has become king through evil acts and Macbeth fears the witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s sons will eventually become king after him. Macbeth sends murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance.

    ‘They hailed him father to a line of kings. / Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown…’ (Macbeth, 3:1)

    Macbeth is haunted by the ghost of Banquo, which terrifies him in Act 3 after he learns that Fleance escaped. After the ghost appears, he starts to feel guilt over the murder of his friend.

    ‘Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; / Thou hast no speculation in those eyes / Which thou dost glare with.’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

  • Macbeth - Duncan

    Macbeth is one of Duncan’s favourites. Duncan enjoys hearing news of Macbeth’s victories in Act 1 and rewards him with a new title – Thane of Cawdor.

    ‘The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself.’ (Macbeth, 1:4)

    Once Macbeth has heard the witches’ prophecy in Act 1 Scene 3, he begins to think about ways to get the crown. Although he is tempted, he talks himself out of murder because Duncan is a good king and is staying in Macbeth’s house.

    ‘He’s here in double trust: /First as I am his kinsman and his subject, / Both strong against the deed; then, as his host.’ (Macbeth, 1:7)

    Macbeth is persuaded to go through with the act of killing Duncan, especially after seeing an apparition of a dagger which he believes is a sign. He immediately feels terrible guilt for murdering the king and wishes he could undo his act.

    ‘Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst.’ (Macbeth, 2:2)

  • Macbeth - Macduff

    Macduff and Macbeth are both thanes within Duncan’s kingdom. Macduff arrives at Macbeth’s castle the morning after the great feast for Duncan and uncovers the murder. He begins to question Macbeth’s reasons for killing the grooms suspected of the murder.

    Macbeth: ‘O yet I do repent me of my fury / That I did kill them.’
    Macduff: ‘Wherefore did you so?’ (2:3)

    Macduff declines an invitation to the Macbeths’ castle for a banquet with all the other Scottish thanes. Macbeth is concerned about his loyalty.

    ‘How sayst thou that Macduff denies his person / At our great bidding?’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    The witches warn Macbeth against Macduff. When Macbeth is told that Macduff has fled to England, he fears that Macduff is rebelling. Macbeth orders murderers to kill Macduff’s family.

    ‘The castle of Macduff I will surprise;/ Seize upon Fife; give to th’edge o’th’sword / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls /That trace him in his line.’ (Macbeth, 4:1)

    Fuelled by grief for his murdered family, Macduff fights with and defeats Macbeth, calling him a monster, a hell-hound and a tyrant. Macduff was not ‘of woman born’ and he fulfils the prophecy when he kills Macbeth.

    ‘We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, /Painted upon a pole and underwrit / ‘Here may you see the tyrant’ (Macduff, 5:8)

  • Macbeth - Malcolm

    As soon as Macbeth hears the witches' prophecy in Act 1, he sees Malcolm as a threat to gaining the crown.

    ‘The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step/ On which I must fall down, or else overleap, /For in my way it lies.’ (Macbeth, 1:4)

    After the murder of his father King Duncan, Malcolm is immediately suspicious of Macbeth and flees to England for safety.

    ‘There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the nea’er in blood, / The nearer bloody.’ (Donalbain, 2:3)

    Malcolm leads an army against Macbeth, ultimately defeating him to become the new king in Act 5.

    ‘Macbeth / Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above / Put on their instruments.’ (Malcolm, 4:3)

  • Macbeth - The Witches

Lady Macbeth

  • Lady Macbeth - Macbeth

    From the way Macbeth describes Lady Macbeth at the start of the play, they appear to have a strong relationship. Macbeth tells her about everything that happened with the witches and they plot together to kill Duncan.

    ‘This I have thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee.’ (Macbeth’s letter, 1:5)

    Macbeth waivers over killing Duncan, which angers Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is persuaded by his wife to go through with the murder.

    ‘What beast was’t then / That made you break this enterprise to me?’ (Lady Macbeth, 1:7)

    The couple work as a team to murder Duncan and his guards. Lady Macbeth criticises Macbeth for bringing the daggers back and returns them to the murder scene herself. She helps Macbeth wash away the blood.

    ‘A little water clears us of this deed.’ (Lady Macbeth, 2:2)

    Their relationship is publicly strained when Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo at a feast. Lady Macbeth is irritated by his lack of courage and has to send the guests away. Macbeth makes plans to kill more people and to visit the weird sisters alone without telling her.

    ‘You make me strange / Even to the disposition that I owe…’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    Lady Macbeth dies, having been driven mad by guilt. Macbeth receives the news of her death and doesn’t react emotionally to it.

    ‘She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word.’ (Macbeth, 5:5)

The Witches

  • The Witches - Macbeth

  • The Witches - Banquo

Banquo

  • Banquo - Fleance

    Banquo is close to his son and the witches tell him his sons will one day be kings. When murderers attack them, he helps his son to escape and tells Fleance to seek revenge for his murder.

    ‘Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly fly!’ (Banquo, 3:3)

  • Banquo - Macbeth

    Macbeth and Banquo are both captains in Duncan’s army and have fought alongside each other. They both receive prophecies from the witches.

    ‘Think upon what hath chanced and at more time, / The interim having weighed it, let us speak / Our free hearts each to other.’ (Macbeth, 1:3)

    Trust begins to break down between Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth lies to Banquo in Act 2 when he is on his way to kill Duncan, saying that he has not thought about the witches’ prophecies since.

    Banquo: ‘I dreamed last night of the three weird sisters; / To you they have showed some truth.’
    Macbeth: ‘I think not of them.’ (2:1)

    Both men begin to deeply mistrust one another in Act 3. Banquo fears that Macbeth has become king through evil acts and Macbeth fears the witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s sons will eventually become king after him. Macbeth sends murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance.

    ‘They hailed him father to a line of kings. / Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown…’ (Macbeth, 3:1)

    Macbeth is haunted by the ghost of Banquo, which terrifies him in Act 3 after he learns that Fleance escaped. After the ghost appears, he starts to feel guilt over the murder of his friend.

    ‘Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; / Thou hast no speculation in those eyes / Which thou dost glare with.’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

  • Banquo - The Witches

Macduff

  • Macduff - Macbeth

    Macduff and Macbeth are both thanes within Duncan’s kingdom. Macduff arrives at Macbeth’s castle the morning after the great feast for Duncan and uncovers the murder. He begins to question Macbeth’s reasons for killing the grooms suspected of the murder.

    Macbeth: ‘O yet I do repent me of my fury / That I did kill them.’
    Macduff: ‘Wherefore did you so?’ (2:3)

    Macduff declines an invitation to the Macbeths’ castle for a banquet with all the other Scottish thanes. Macbeth is concerned about his loyalty.

    ‘How sayst thou that Macduff denies his person / At our great bidding?’ (Macbeth, 3:4)

    The witches warn Macbeth against Macduff. When Macbeth is told that Macduff has fled to England, he fears that Macduff is rebelling. Macbeth orders murderers to kill Macduff’s family.

    ‘The castle of Macduff I will surprise;/ Seize upon Fife; give to th’edge o’th’sword / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls /That trace him in his line.’ (Macbeth, 4:1)

    Fuelled by grief for his murdered family, Macduff fights with and defeats Macbeth, calling him a monster, a hell-hound and a tyrant. Macduff was not ‘of woman born’ and he fulfils the prophecy when he kills Macbeth.

    ‘We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are, /Painted upon a pole and underwrit / ‘Here may you see the tyrant’ (Macduff, 5:8)

  • Macduff - Ross

  • Macduff - Malcolm

Duncan

  • Duncan - Malcolm

    Duncan announces that his eldest son Malcolm will inherit the crown.

    ‘We will establish our estate upon our eldest, Malcolm…’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    After their father is murdered, Malcolm and Donalbain decide to escape to England and Ireland for safety. They don’t comment on their father’s death but talk about their own safety.

    ‘Our separated fortune / Shall keep us safer.’ (Donalbain, 2:3)

    Once Macbeth is defeated and Malcolm is crowned king, Malcolm celebrates that he and Donalbain can be reunited.

    ‘calling home our exiled friends abroad/ That fled the snares of watchful tyranny’ (Malcolm, 5:9)

  • Duncan - Macbeth

    Macbeth is one of Duncan’s favourites. Duncan enjoys hearing news of Macbeth’s victories in Act 1 and rewards him with a new title – Thane of Cawdor.

    ‘The service and the loyalty I owe, / In doing it, pays itself.’ (Macbeth, 1:4)

    Once Macbeth has heard the witches’ prophecy in Act 1 Scene 3, he begins to think about ways to get the crown. Although he is tempted, he talks himself out of murder because Duncan is a good king and is staying in Macbeth’s house.

    ‘He’s here in double trust: /First as I am his kinsman and his subject, / Both strong against the deed; then, as his host.’ (Macbeth, 1:7)

    Macbeth is persuaded to go through with the act of killing Duncan, especially after seeing an apparition of a dagger which he believes is a sign. He immediately feels terrible guilt for murdering the king and wishes he could undo his act.

    ‘Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst.’ (Macbeth, 2:2)

Malcolm

  • Malcolm - Duncan

    Duncan announces that his eldest son Malcolm will inherit the crown.

    ‘We will establish our estate upon our eldest, Malcolm…’ (Duncan, 1:4)

    After their father is murdered, Malcolm and Donalbain decide to escape to England and Ireland for safety. They don’t comment on their father’s death but talk about their own safety.

    ‘Our separated fortune / Shall keep us safer.’ (Donalbain, 2:3)

    Once Macbeth is defeated and Malcolm is crowned king, Malcolm celebrates that he and Donalbain can be reunited.

    ‘calling home our exiled friends abroad/ That fled the snares of watchful tyranny’ (Malcolm, 5:9)

  • Malcolm - Macbeth

    As soon as Macbeth hears the witches' prophecy in Act 1, he sees Malcolm as a threat to gaining the crown.

    ‘The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step/ On which I must fall down, or else overleap, /For in my way it lies.’ (Macbeth, 1:4)

    After the murder of his father King Duncan, Malcolm is immediately suspicious of Macbeth and flees to England for safety.

    ‘There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the nea’er in blood, / The nearer bloody.’ (Donalbain, 2:3)

    Malcolm leads an army against Macbeth, ultimately defeating him to become the new king in Act 5.

    ‘Macbeth / Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above / Put on their instruments.’ (Malcolm, 4:3)

  • Malcolm - Macduff

Ross

  • Ross - Macduff

Fleance

  • Fleance - Banquo

    Banquo is close to his son and the witches tell him his sons will one day be kings. When murderers attack them, he helps his son to escape and tells Fleance to seek revenge for his murder.

    ‘Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly fly!’ (Banquo, 3:3)

Teacher Notes

On this page students can arrange the characters on the screen, showing the connections between the characters and their relationships. They can then print this using the button on the page and label them with their own quotes.

The following activity is also a great way to explore re;ationships in more detail, looking at what connects the characters.

Instant Images (2011)

The activity can be found on page 5 and takes approximately 20 minutes.