Macbeth Summary

Who did Macbeth kill throughout the play Macbeth?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first person Macbeth kills is Macdonwald.  This was a righteous kill in battle.  For this honor and duty, he was rewarded with Macdonwald’s title, Thane of Cawdor.

Then Macbeth kills King Duncan.  Macbeth is greeted by three witches who tell him that he will become king.  He believes them, and when Duncan names his son Malcolm successor instead of Macbeth, Macbeth gets angry and kills Duncan despite having no right to the title.

Macbeth is not safe though.  He kills Duncan’s servants in order to frame them (though he also frames Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s sons, for good measure).  He claims to have done it in a bloody rage.

Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,(120)

Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:

The expedition of my violent love

Outrun the pauser reason. (Act 2, Scene 3)

Macbeth does not stop there.  He has safely framed Malcolm and Donalbain, and they flee.  The next threat to Macbeth is Banquo.

Macbeth hires three murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance.  Unfortunately, Fleance gets away.  Macbeth is furious, and Banquo’s ghost visits him at the ball.

Next comes Macduff’s family.  Macbeth is angry and suspicious when Macduff leaves the country, and decides to have his entire household killed.  Lady Macduff, Macduff’s son, and the entire household of servants are slaughtered.  Macduff is not there.

Chances are there are various other minions that Macduff killed along the way before the battle.  As the battle draws near, Lady Macbeth kills herself out of guilt.  Consider her a casualty of association.

Finally, the battle begins.  Macbeth first kills Young Siward.  Young Siward calls Macbeth out before he is killed in their fight.

Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword

I'll prove the lie thou speak'st. (Act 5, Scene 7)

At this point, Macbeth continues fighting until he comes toe to toe with Macduff, who informs him that he was born by caesarian.  Macbeth is annoyed that he was deceived, and basically commits suicide in giving himself up to Macduff.

Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,

For it hath cow'd my better part of man!

… I'll not fight with thee. (Act 5, Scene 8)

Macbeth says he will not yield to Malcolm, but his heart’s basically not in it.  Macduff beheads him, and the bloody tyrant’s rule is over.