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Identify and Explain Key Characters and their Development in 'Macbeth'

In this worksheet students will revise the main characters in 'Macbeth', identifying and explaining how they develop over the course of the play.

'Identify and Explain Key Characters and their Development in 'Macbeth'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Eduqas, OCR, Pearson Edexcel, AQA

Curriculum topic:   Shakespeare

Curriculum subtopic:   Macbeth

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth', the key character is identified in the title! This is a clear hint that we should begin by looking closely at how Shakespeare develops Macbeth from a hero to a villain, and explain how some of the other characters in the play influence how he acts and changes.

 

We must always remember that Shakespeare was writing a play to be performed in front of an audience; he always imagined an actor bringing his character to life on a stage. But we are the audience too, therefore how we feel about Macbeth is important. Keep a note of your own thoughts and if they change as you see Macbeth developing as a character; this counts as a personal response and will help you to form stronger arguments in your answers.

 

 

We can use three methods to learn about a character in a play.

1. What they say

2. What they do

3. What other characters say about them

 

This is also a great way to collect some memorable quotes - they could be just one word or a short phrase, which you can then use as evidence and example in your PEA paragraphs.

 

Another way is to track the character throughout the play. Macbeth appears in all five acts, so by seeing what he says, what he does, and what others say about him, makes it easy to identify how his character has developed. Macbeth starts as the hero in the opening and is presented as a villain in the final scenes. This connects to how we understand the structure of the play too, if you can identify all of this then you'll put forward a persuasive answer!

 

One other thing to note: when using the play's title, put '...' around it = 'Macbeth'. When writing about the character known as Macbeth, don't, as you're referring to his name.

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.

These quick questions will help you to identify how the writer introduces Macbeth and provide you with some keywords to describe him.

 

It's interesting that the audience hears Macbeth being spoken of before he appears on stage. Have you ever been introduced to someone after a friend has spoken warmly of them? You were probably ready to like them, so did you? In the same way, if we are told bad things about a person it will often influence how we feel about them. The same happens when Macbeth is spoken of, but there is also a mystery. In fact, Macbeth is introduced by the witches who are planning to meet him after a battle... but witches are evil so why would they be connected to him?

 

The next mention of Macbeth is from a battle-weary sergeant who is bringing news to the king. His words, and then the king's, show Macbeth as highly respected and loyal - he has just brutally stopped an uprising by killing the traitor, the Thane of Cawdor. 

 

sword

 

Collect these adjectives: brave, noble, worthy.

 

Macbeth's reaction to the witches' prophecies hint that he has thoughts of promotion. He speaks his mind several times in asides, (where he 'thinks out-loud' and the other characters on stage pretend they haven't heard him!) and these reveal that he is ambitious and wants to be king. This personal weakness will lead to the rest of the play's events.

 

Which statements below are true?

The witches say Macbeth's name first

Macbeth is next to be king

Macbeth is described as "brave Macbeth" in a battle report

King Duncan calls him "noble Macbeth"

Macbeth is happy to meet the witches

Macbeth is awarded the title 'Thane of Cawdor' just after the witches predict it

Macbeth says he will leave his future to "chance"

Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to stop

Macbeth gives reasons as to why he should protect Duncan

By the end of Act One, Macbeth has decided to kill Duncan

Macbeth was described in battle as, "cannons overcharged with double cracks" in a battle that took place off-stage. It's clear that killing comes easily to him and that removing Duncan is all in a day's work for this warrior.

 

 

 

 

Then we see Macbeth, in front of a good, elderly man, asleep in his bed under the protection of Macbeth's castle and Macbeth murders him! The play shows us Macbeth on his way to Duncan's room, then, after the murder, joining Lady Macbeth who has been waiting for him. 

 

There's no question that this act is wrong and it's clear to the audience through the following clues that Macbeth knows it:

1) When Macbeth tries to pray, he cannot say the word 'Amen'.

2) He feels he will never sleep again - his guilty feelings will keep him awake.

3) He shows regret, wishing he could "Wake Duncan".

4) He cannot return the daggers to the room after he accidentally takes them away with him from the scene of the murder.

 

However, by the next morning, he is ready to pretend that he knows nothing about the night's events, a new Macbeth is emerging.

 

Read this quote from Act One, Scene 7 and tick the reasons Macbeth gives for not killing Duncan:

"He's here in double trust:

First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,

strong both against the deed; then as his host,

Who should against his murderer shut the door,

Not bear the knife myself. Beside Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 

So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels..."

They are connected as family

He is Macbeth's guest

Macbeth will get caught

Duncan is a good king

"To be this is nothing / But to be safely thus"

 

Macbeth has got exactly what he wanted, and now has to live with it. 

 

Track how Macbeth keeps hold of his throne, and in doing so becomes a tyrant:

 

1) Banquo is murdered for knowing too much.

2) The murder of Fleance (Banquo's son and predicted future king) is botched as he escapes.

3) The noblemen are fleeing to join up with Malcolm and Donalbain who are gathering an army to attack Macbeth.

4) Lady Macduff and her children are murdered.

 

There are other changes too. Macbeth now hires killers and gives orders and Lady Macbeth is no longer the power behind the throne. Macbeth is increasingly isolated and alone, suffering from hallucinations and insomnia his mental stability is questionable. He consults the witches again and is given another set of riddles, which leave him feeling as though no one can touch him.

 

Finally, Macduff calls Macbeth a "butcher" in Act 5. If only he had just got a job at a meat counter, well that would be a different story!

 

 

Which steps show Macbeth turning into a tyrant?

He inherits the title 'Thane of Glamis'

He plots to kill Banquo and Fleance

His wife has a mental breakdown

He orders the murders of Lady Mcduff and her children

He cannot sleep

Scottish noblemen are leaving to form an army against him

He experiences hallucinations

He turns to the witches for advice

​In Act Five, Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and later, Macbeth is informed of her death. His reaction is to note that life "signifying nothing" is brief. The other nobleman are approaching with an army, and Macbeth believes that he cannot be killed by "one of woman born" - a riddle that gives him false confidence.

 

Despite his anger and brutality, he is also world-weary, as if nothing matters to him any more. When he appears to fight however, we see a glimpse of the 'old' Macbeth - the warrior who will fight to the death and never surrender.

 

How do we feel at this point in the play? Have our emotions shifted a little again? 

 

Can you find the line in Act 5, Scene 5 which suggests that Macbeth is tired of life?

 

battle

If this which he avouches does appear,/ There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here./ I gin to be aweary of the sun,/ And wish the estate of the world were now undone./ Ring the alarm-bell!

Lady Macbeth is a supporting character: she is important for the way she influences Macbeth and then in the way her madness reflects the guilt they feel about their terrible crime. She appears six times in the play, and then we are informed of her death.

 

It's worth noting and tracking the scenes in which she appears, and what she does in each.

 

She is first seen reading a letter from Macbeth where he informs her of his meeting with the witches and to expect the king as their guest. Her response is shocking as she immediately suggests they murder Duncan to ensure the predictions come true. She persuades Macbeth to act, calling him a "coward" and drugs the king's guards so that they sleep through the crime. When she sees Duncan asleep in bed, she says: "Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done't.", so she already can't live up to her big talk!

 

In Act Two, Lady Macbeth continues to support Macbeth - she faints just as awkward questions are being asked, distracting them away from questioning Macbeth. In Act Three, she comforts Macbeth and again distracts the guests at the banquet when Macbeth 'sees' Banquo's ghost. But now, Macbeth is not telling her everything and she no longer has the power in the relationship.

 

At night, she is afraid of the dark and keeps a candle beside her, she keeps washing her hands to remove the blood she 'sees' there, and the doctor hints there is no cure for a guilty conscience. It is assumed her fall from the castle battlements is deliberate.

candle

 

Column A

Column B

"I do fear thy nature, it is too full of the milk ...
She calls on the supernatural to take away her kin...
"When you durst do it, then you were a man"
Lady Macbeth has killed herself
"Come you spirits, unsex me here and fill me...top...
She believes her hands are covered in Duncan's blo...
"What's done is done"
She thinks Macbeth is too good to murder in cold ...
"What will these hands ne'er be clean"
She thinks there is no point in thinking about the...
"The Queen, my lord, is dead"
She suggests he is too cowardly to kill Duncan

We are now looking at characters who do not change much in the play. They have a different role, which is to help make things happen and to help us see how Macbeth's character develops.

 

Banquo and Macbeth are both spoken about as being brave warriors. They meet the witches when they return from battle, though perhaps it is interesting that the witches only speak of meeting Macbeth. Banquo does ask for a prediction too, and is given a riddle that suggests he will be a father of future kings. This is important historically because King James could trace his family line back to the real Banquo. The differences start here, Banquo seems to take the prediction much more lightly so we can contrast his reaction to Macbeth's. 

 

witches

 

Once Macbeth is king, Banquo becomes a threat because he knows too much and could expose Macbeth as a murderer. This is part of a chain of events that the murder of Duncan has started. Macbeth arranges for Banquo and his son to be killed; it is hugely significant that Fleance escapes because it helps to confirm that the prediction was correct! 

 

Does Banquo really return as a ghost to haunt Macbeth? That depends on you and what you believe, but the effect it has on Macbeth, who does believe it. This is integral to the breaking down of his character, so it is significant dramatically.

 

Look at the statements below and decide whether you agree with them or not. Think whether or not you could identify evidence for each statement in the text. 

Are the witches important as characters in their own right? The answer has to be - no. But they are very important dramatically as they help to create the atmosphere of evil that Macbeth is pulled into.

The witches speak in riddles when they make their predictions, so although they speak truthfully they also mislead Macbeth, who, fatally, believes that he cannot be killed by another man.

 

 

 

When we think of Macbeth as an evil person, we have to think about who and what has influenced him, as well as his own ambition to be king. The witches, along with Lady Macbeth, come into this group, while Banquo shows a different way of reacting to them.

 

 Think of it as a formula: ambition + outside influences = bad decisions!

 

 

The witches help to create an atmosphere of evil

The witches are important as characters

Banquo is less influenced by the predictions than Macbeth

The second set of predictions leave Macbeth feeling secure

Lady Macbeth visits the witches

The witches often speak in riddles

The other characters read like a list of names, but it is helpful to connect each one to something they do, or say that helps the plot to move along. In this activity, you may need to revise the names, but remember, they are more important for what they show about Macbeth or how they move the plot along, rather than as characters in their own right.

 

Malcolm and Donalbain are King Duncan's sons, they are mostly noted for running away when their father is murdered! It was probably a good move because they could guess that they would be next and didn't know who was their enemy. Think about the layers of meaning in this line: "There's daggers in men's smiles..." (2:3 L136).

 

 

However, Donalbain flees to Ireland to gather soldiers whilst Malcolm goes to England and asks for help from (historically real) King Edward the Confessor, who sends the army which attacks Macbeth later. Important to the plot? Completely! Important as characters who develop? Not so much!

 

Match each character with their appropriate description.

Column A

Column B

Duncan
Son of Duncan and rightful heir to the throne. He ...
Macduff
Banquo's son who escapes
Malcolm
Duncan's younger son, Malcolm's brother
Donalbain
The servant who remains loyal to Macbeth- his name...
Lennox
The elderly king of Scotland; a good king
Ross
A Scottish nobleman
Fleance
A Scottish nobleman
Seyton
He kills Macbeth, as much in revenge for the death...

​In this activity, you will test how well you know the characters in the play to see if you can identify who says it. You will see that in the answers you are given a hint at the context of when the line is spoken, or which event it is connected to. This is a great way to become really familiar with the plot and the characters and it will mean that you will feel much more confident when you are writing about 'Macbeth'.

 

Something to think about: How many kings can you identify in this play? 

 

crown

 

 

 

 

Match each quote to its corresponding description.

Column A

Column B

"For brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name)"
Macbeth, on trying to not show his true ambition t...
"What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won"
Duncan, on giving Macbeth the title Thane of Cawdo...
"Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my blac...
Lady Macbeth believing to have Duncan's blood on h...
"Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, and ...
The Captain, reporting to Duncan
"What, will these hands ne'er be clean?"
Malcolm, as he announces the start of a new reign
"The castle of Macduff I'll surprise...give to the...
Macbeth cannot have an easy mind while Banquo may ...
"Oh full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife"
Macbeth as a tyrant, ordering the murders of innoc...
"This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen"
Banquo, suspecting that Macbeth has killed Duncan

In this worksheet, you have been able to identify that Macbeth is the most important character. His choice to murder Duncan begins a chain of events that bring about murder and chaos in Scotland.

 

Macbeth is such an enthralling character because he shows how a person can change when they become fixed on ambition and it takes over their life. 

 

Even though Shakespeare wrote this play over four hundred years ago, the way he presented Macbeth hasn't aged. In fact, there are more recent examples of real people who have behaved in similar ways, becoming crazy for power and control, who have caused war and bloodshed across the world.

Perhaps we can also find more every day and less extreme examples of people who get caught up with an idea and perhaps lose friendships over it?

 

That is literature! Real human experiences wrapped up in drama.

 

Look at the statements below, which of these statements are true as it relates to your own exam preparation?

 TrueFalse
Make sure I know who is who in the play
Use charts and posters to help me to remember important information
Keep track of how characters change
Learn a few key quotes
Think about words and phrases to suit each character
Think about how my own feelings about a character can change
  • Question 1

These quick questions will help you to identify how the writer introduces Macbeth and provide you with some keywords to describe him.

 

It's interesting that the audience hears Macbeth being spoken of before he appears on stage. Have you ever been introduced to someone after a friend has spoken warmly of them? You were probably ready to like them, so did you? In the same way, if we are told bad things about a person it will often influence how we feel about them. The same happens when Macbeth is spoken of, but there is also a mystery. In fact, Macbeth is introduced by the witches who are planning to meet him after a battle... but witches are evil so why would they be connected to him?

 

The next mention of Macbeth is from a battle-weary sergeant who is bringing news to the king. His words, and then the king's, show Macbeth as highly respected and loyal - he has just brutally stopped an uprising by killing the traitor, the Thane of Cawdor. 

 

sword

 

Collect these adjectives: brave, noble, worthy.

 

Macbeth's reaction to the witches' prophecies hint that he has thoughts of promotion. He speaks his mind several times in asides, (where he 'thinks out-loud' and the other characters on stage pretend they haven't heard him!) and these reveal that he is ambitious and wants to be king. This personal weakness will lead to the rest of the play's events.

 

Which statements below are true?

CORRECT ANSWER
The witches say Macbeth's name first
Macbeth is described as "brave Macbeth" in a battle report
King Duncan calls him "noble Macbeth"
Macbeth is awarded the title 'Thane of Cawdor' just after the witches predict it
Macbeth says he will leave his future to "chance"
Macbeth gives reasons as to why he should protect Duncan
By the end of Act One, Macbeth has decided to kill Duncan
EDDIE SAYS
We can see that just in Act One, Macbeth is described with positive adjectives by the people around him. But perhaps there are others who know him even better. The witches have tapped into Macbeth's ambition to rule, yet his wife worries he is too loyal and weak, taking matters into her own hands. You can track these changes over the first seven scenes of the play to help you explain what he is like at the beginning and what triggers the change in him.
  • Question 2

Macbeth was described in battle as, "cannons overcharged with double cracks" in a battle that took place off-stage. It's clear that killing comes easily to him and that removing Duncan is all in a day's work for this warrior.

 

 

 

 

Then we see Macbeth, in front of a good, elderly man, asleep in his bed under the protection of Macbeth's castle and Macbeth murders him! The play shows us Macbeth on his way to Duncan's room, then, after the murder, joining Lady Macbeth who has been waiting for him. 

 

There's no question that this act is wrong and it's clear to the audience through the following clues that Macbeth knows it:

1) When Macbeth tries to pray, he cannot say the word 'Amen'.

2) He feels he will never sleep again - his guilty feelings will keep him awake.

3) He shows regret, wishing he could "Wake Duncan".

4) He cannot return the daggers to the room after he accidentally takes them away with him from the scene of the murder.

 

However, by the next morning, he is ready to pretend that he knows nothing about the night's events, a new Macbeth is emerging.

 

Read this quote from Act One, Scene 7 and tick the reasons Macbeth gives for not killing Duncan:

"He's here in double trust:

First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,

strong both against the deed; then as his host,

Who should against his murderer shut the door,

Not bear the knife myself. Beside Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 

So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels..."

CORRECT ANSWER
They are connected as family
He is Macbeth's guest
Duncan is a good king
EDDIE SAYS
Macbeth gives a long list of reasons as to why he should not kill Duncan but does it anyway. His desire to be king is stronger here than any reasoning. Is this a sign of a stable and rational mind, a person who would be a good leader? Probably not!
  • Question 3

"To be this is nothing / But to be safely thus"

 

Macbeth has got exactly what he wanted, and now has to live with it. 

 

Track how Macbeth keeps hold of his throne, and in doing so becomes a tyrant:

 

1) Banquo is murdered for knowing too much.

2) The murder of Fleance (Banquo's son and predicted future king) is botched as he escapes.

3) The noblemen are fleeing to join up with Malcolm and Donalbain who are gathering an army to attack Macbeth.

4) Lady Macduff and her children are murdered.

 

There are other changes too. Macbeth now hires killers and gives orders and Lady Macbeth is no longer the power behind the throne. Macbeth is increasingly isolated and alone, suffering from hallucinations and insomnia his mental stability is questionable. He consults the witches again and is given another set of riddles, which leave him feeling as though no one can touch him.

 

Finally, Macduff calls Macbeth a "butcher" in Act 5. If only he had just got a job at a meat counter, well that would be a different story!

 

 

Which steps show Macbeth turning into a tyrant?

CORRECT ANSWER
He plots to kill Banquo and Fleance
He orders the murders of Lady Mcduff and her children
Scottish noblemen are leaving to form an army against him
He turns to the witches for advice
EDDIE SAYS
Great focus. Some of these 'happen', but hopefully, you have identified which of them are actions that Macbeth takes because he no longer trusts anyone and will do anything to keep his power.
  • Question 4

​In Act Five, Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and later, Macbeth is informed of her death. His reaction is to note that life "signifying nothing" is brief. The other nobleman are approaching with an army, and Macbeth believes that he cannot be killed by "one of woman born" - a riddle that gives him false confidence.

 

Despite his anger and brutality, he is also world-weary, as if nothing matters to him any more. When he appears to fight however, we see a glimpse of the 'old' Macbeth - the warrior who will fight to the death and never surrender.

 

How do we feel at this point in the play? Have our emotions shifted a little again? 

 

Can you find the line in Act 5, Scene 5 which suggests that Macbeth is tired of life?

 

battle

CORRECT ANSWER
If this which he avouches does appear,/ There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here./ I gin to be aweary of the sun,/ And wish the estate of the world were now undone./ Ring the alarm-bell!
EDDIE SAYS
That's right, it's Macbeth's way of saying that life no longer matters to him and his ambition was just folly. At this point in the play, he begins to see clearly and perhaps the audience feels more sympathy for him here than if he was just completely bad? What do you think? Why does he call for his armour and fight to the death?
  • Question 5

Lady Macbeth is a supporting character: she is important for the way she influences Macbeth and then in the way her madness reflects the guilt they feel about their terrible crime. She appears six times in the play, and then we are informed of her death.

 

It's worth noting and tracking the scenes in which she appears, and what she does in each.

 

She is first seen reading a letter from Macbeth where he informs her of his meeting with the witches and to expect the king as their guest. Her response is shocking as she immediately suggests they murder Duncan to ensure the predictions come true. She persuades Macbeth to act, calling him a "coward" and drugs the king's guards so that they sleep through the crime. When she sees Duncan asleep in bed, she says: "Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done't.", so she already can't live up to her big talk!

 

In Act Two, Lady Macbeth continues to support Macbeth - she faints just as awkward questions are being asked, distracting them away from questioning Macbeth. In Act Three, she comforts Macbeth and again distracts the guests at the banquet when Macbeth 'sees' Banquo's ghost. But now, Macbeth is not telling her everything and she no longer has the power in the relationship.

 

At night, she is afraid of the dark and keeps a candle beside her, she keeps washing her hands to remove the blood she 'sees' there, and the doctor hints there is no cure for a guilty conscience. It is assumed her fall from the castle battlements is deliberate.

candle

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"I do fear thy nature, it is too ...
She thinks Macbeth is too good to...
"When you durst do it, then you w...
She suggests he is too cowardly t...
"Come you spirits, unsex me here ...
She calls on the supernatural to ...
"What's done is done"
She thinks there is no point in t...
"What will these hands ne'er be c...
She believes her hands are covere...
"The Queen, my lord, is dead"
Lady Macbeth has killed herself
EDDIE SAYS
How are you getting on? Ideally, at this point, these questions are beginning to feel less daunting. If you know the play well enough to identify who says some of the important quotes, you are on the right track.
  • Question 6

We are now looking at characters who do not change much in the play. They have a different role, which is to help make things happen and to help us see how Macbeth's character develops.

 

Banquo and Macbeth are both spoken about as being brave warriors. They meet the witches when they return from battle, though perhaps it is interesting that the witches only speak of meeting Macbeth. Banquo does ask for a prediction too, and is given a riddle that suggests he will be a father of future kings. This is important historically because King James could trace his family line back to the real Banquo. The differences start here, Banquo seems to take the prediction much more lightly so we can contrast his reaction to Macbeth's. 

 

witches

 

Once Macbeth is king, Banquo becomes a threat because he knows too much and could expose Macbeth as a murderer. This is part of a chain of events that the murder of Duncan has started. Macbeth arranges for Banquo and his son to be killed; it is hugely significant that Fleance escapes because it helps to confirm that the prediction was correct! 

 

Does Banquo really return as a ghost to haunt Macbeth? That depends on you and what you believe, but the effect it has on Macbeth, who does believe it. This is integral to the breaking down of his character, so it is significant dramatically.

 

Look at the statements below and decide whether you agree with them or not. Think whether or not you could identify evidence for each statement in the text. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully, these statements have helped you develop your own ideas about Banquo and his role in the play.
  • Question 7

Are the witches important as characters in their own right? The answer has to be - no. But they are very important dramatically as they help to create the atmosphere of evil that Macbeth is pulled into.

The witches speak in riddles when they make their predictions, so although they speak truthfully they also mislead Macbeth, who, fatally, believes that he cannot be killed by another man.

 

 

 

When we think of Macbeth as an evil person, we have to think about who and what has influenced him, as well as his own ambition to be king. The witches, along with Lady Macbeth, come into this group, while Banquo shows a different way of reacting to them.

 

 Think of it as a formula: ambition + outside influences = bad decisions!

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The witches help to create an atmosphere of evil
Banquo is less influenced by the predictions than Macbeth
The second set of predictions leave Macbeth feeling secure
The witches often speak in riddles
EDDIE SAYS
We should be able to identify how the presence and speech of the witches create atmosphere and influence Macbeth. Do they really have any power or is it just the power of suggestion? Have a think about that...
  • Question 8

The other characters read like a list of names, but it is helpful to connect each one to something they do, or say that helps the plot to move along. In this activity, you may need to revise the names, but remember, they are more important for what they show about Macbeth or how they move the plot along, rather than as characters in their own right.

 

Malcolm and Donalbain are King Duncan's sons, they are mostly noted for running away when their father is murdered! It was probably a good move because they could guess that they would be next and didn't know who was their enemy. Think about the layers of meaning in this line: "There's daggers in men's smiles..." (2:3 L136).

 

 

However, Donalbain flees to Ireland to gather soldiers whilst Malcolm goes to England and asks for help from (historically real) King Edward the Confessor, who sends the army which attacks Macbeth later. Important to the plot? Completely! Important as characters who develop? Not so much!

 

Match each character with their appropriate description.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Duncan
The elderly king of Scotland; a g...
Macduff
He kills Macbeth, as much in reve...
Malcolm
Son of Duncan and rightful heir t...
Donalbain
Duncan's younger son, Malcolm's b...
Lennox
A Scottish nobleman
Ross
A Scottish nobleman
Fleance
Banquo's son who escapes
Seyton
The servant who remains loyal to ...
EDDIE SAYS
You don't need to study these characters in detail, but you will feel more confident writing about the play if you know who is who. There are some other minor characters too that you might want to make a few notes on.
  • Question 9

​In this activity, you will test how well you know the characters in the play to see if you can identify who says it. You will see that in the answers you are given a hint at the context of when the line is spoken, or which event it is connected to. This is a great way to become really familiar with the plot and the characters and it will mean that you will feel much more confident when you are writing about 'Macbeth'.

 

Something to think about: How many kings can you identify in this play? 

 

crown

 

 

 

 

Match each quote to its corresponding description.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"For brave Macbeth, (well he dese...
The Captain, reporting to Duncan
"What he hath lost, noble Macbeth...
Duncan, on giving Macbeth the tit...
"Stars, hide your fires! Let not ...
Macbeth, on trying to not show hi...
"Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, ...
Banquo, suspecting that Macbeth h...
"What, will these hands ne'er be ...
Lady Macbeth believing to have Du...
"The castle of Macduff I'll surpr...
Macbeth as a tyrant, ordering the...
"Oh full of scorpions is my mind,...
Macbeth cannot have an easy mind ...
"This dead butcher and his fiend-...
Malcolm, as he announces the star...
EDDIE SAYS
Although you do not have to learn great chunks of the play, being familiar with some key lines will really help you to show that you know the characters well. Hopefully, by now you're feeling super confident.
  • Question 10

In this worksheet, you have been able to identify that Macbeth is the most important character. His choice to murder Duncan begins a chain of events that bring about murder and chaos in Scotland.

 

Macbeth is such an enthralling character because he shows how a person can change when they become fixed on ambition and it takes over their life. 

 

Even though Shakespeare wrote this play over four hundred years ago, the way he presented Macbeth hasn't aged. In fact, there are more recent examples of real people who have behaved in similar ways, becoming crazy for power and control, who have caused war and bloodshed across the world.

Perhaps we can also find more every day and less extreme examples of people who get caught up with an idea and perhaps lose friendships over it?

 

That is literature! Real human experiences wrapped up in drama.

 

Look at the statements below, which of these statements are true as it relates to your own exam preparation?

CORRECT ANSWER
 TrueFalse
Make sure I know who is who in the play
Use charts and posters to help me to remember important information
Keep track of how characters change
Learn a few key quotes
Think about words and phrases to suit each character
Think about how my own feelings about a character can change
EDDIE SAYS
Congratulations! Well done if you have ticked them all to be true, each one is a great study habit for you to get to grips with. You have learned a lot of detail about the characters in the play and this will help you to write really sophisticated detailed answers.
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