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Macbeth – Character Activity



(a) At the beginning of the play, Duncan describes Macbeth as a "valiant cousin, worthy
gentleman!" (I, ii, 24). At the end of the play Duncan’s son Malcolm describes him as a
"butcher" (V, ix, 35); Macduff calls him a "hell-hound" (V, viii, 4). Collect a series of
quotations which plot the changes in Macbeth, and others’ perceptions of him. For each
quotation (or group of quotations if they are about the same aspect of Macbeth) write a
brief comment. Try to bring out the various conflicting aspects of his character - e.g.
ambition/duty, bravery/fear, strength/uncertainty, good/evil. Place these in a table like the
one following.

Duncan:What he hath lost, noble Macbeth Because of his bravery in battle, Macbeth is
hath won (I, iii, 67) honoured by the king.

Duncan:It is a peerless kinsman (I, iv, 58)

Macbeth:...why do I yield to that suggestion Macbeth considers murdering the king, but
is frightened by the thought of what this
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair (I, iii, involves.

Lady Macbeth

(b)The following commentary has been made about Lady Macbeth:

What judgements can we make about Lady Macbeth? She is at times gentle and loving,
but she also displays great ambition (at least for her husband) and seems to provide him
with the strength that he cannot muster on his own. She directs him, persuades him.
However, by the end of the play she is unable to cope with the guilt of what she and
Macbeth have done.

Collect quotations which demonstrate Lady Macbeth’s character. Set them out in the
same way as for Macbeth.

You should have at least 5 quotes for each character!