Macbeth (character)

Macbeth (Character)

Shakespearean Character
Shakespearean Character Less

Macbeth (character)

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Macbeth is the title character in William Shakespeare's Macbeth (c. 1603–1607). The character is based on the historical king Macbeth of Scotland, and is derived largely from the account in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587), a history of Britain. Macbeth is a Scottish noble and a valiant military man. He is portrayed throughout the play as an antagonistic anti-hero. After a supernatural prophecy, and at the urging of his wife, Lady Macbeth, he commits regicide and becomes King of Scotland. He thereafter lives in anxiety and fear, unable to rest or to trust his nobles. He leads a reign of terror until defeated by Macduff. The throne is then restored to the rightful heir, the murdered King Duncan's son, Malcolm.


Shakespeare's version of Macbeth is based upon Macbeth of Scotland, as found in the narratives of the Kings Duff and Duncan in Holinshed's Chronicles (1587).Bevington, David. Four Tragedies. Bantam, 1988.

Role in the play

Macbeth is Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. He is the central protagonist of the play.

The tragedy begins amid a bloody civil war when Macbeth is first introduced by a wounded soldier, who gives a colourful and extensive exaltation of Macbeth’s prowess and valour in battle. When the battle is won, largely due to Macbeth and his lieutenant, Banquo, King Duncan honours his generals with high praise and rewards Macbeth with the title of a traitor awaiting execution, the Thane of...
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