What characters are being manipulated, by whom, and to what end? (other than Lady Macbeth manipulating Macbeth)

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Manipulation is a major part of the interaction between characters, and indeed extends beyond that of Lady Macbeth’s exploitation of her husband.

King Duncan is deceived by the Macbeth’s (and the setting) into believing that Macbeth’s home is a place of safety and tranquility-

This castle hath a pleasant seat, the air
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses. (Act 1 Scene vi)

Duncan pays with his life for this poor judgement.

 Malcolm and Donalbain are suspected of the murder of their father, and subsequently add fuel to the supposition themselves by fleeing the scene.

Banquo is manipulated by Macbeth to believe that the witches prophesies are inconsequential to him. When he appears not to trust his friend, Macbeth disposes of him. His murderers are duped by Macbeth in to believing that the killing of Banquo is justified because of his cruel treatment of others.

The character most manipulated is of course Macbeth himself. The witches mislead him in to believing that he can subvert the natural order and become king. They are able to delude him further in the second set of prophesies when he is made to seem invincible.

Sweet bodements, good!
Rebellion's head, rise never, till the Wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
To time and mortal custom. (Act IV Scene i)

Macbeth is driven mad with ambition, paranoia and blood lust. He is destined to be killed in this world and, for his allegiance to the dark forces, condemned in the next.