spearean’s Principal Cast Shakespeare’s Cast
  Cormac   Douglas   Macbeth   Fleance
  Lileas   Thorold   Thane of Ross   Banquo
  Anna   Others The Three Wyrd Sisters (The Witches) also Weird Sisters
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At the beginning of the play Macbeth is ambitious but insecure to the point of superstition, which makes him more open than Banquo to the three Wyrd Sisters suggestions. (The witches; the three weird sisters)

As the play progresses, Macbeth becomes more and more unpredictable and scary but not mad.  When Hitler or Stalin, for example, signed the death warrant for thousands they did so with a rational clear mind. Both of them would even do so after an evening at the ballet or a music concert!

Suggesting Macbeth is mad gives him an excuse for his behaviour and that would be wrong.  He is an evil man disguised as a good person.” Fair is foul”. On the other hand, our fictional character, Cormac, is an example of “Foul is fair”.

(Watch Macbeth’s Disciple film to see these two characters played out)

Macbeth as a young person?

So what was Macbeth like as a young person? We wondered if he would be friends with Cormac - even though he is of elevated status. We see him in a dependent type of friendship. For example: In a running race, Macbeth, would say to his friend Cormac ‘I can’t run that fast’ and Cormac would slow to be with him and then as they neared the end of the race Macbeth would put on a spurt of energy and beat Cormac. That dependency shifts to his wife, Lady Macbeth, and she is cast aside when he becomes dependent on The Three Wyrd Sisters. The Wyrd Sisters trade and traffic with Macbeth (3.5.4) so we know they gave him objects and power. 

At the time of the film, MACBETH’S DISCIPLE, he has lost a lot of his need to contemplate, but perhaps he is testing himself through testing Cormac’s loyalty. 

We know he has taken to describing himself in a regal way by using phrases like ‘our great bidding’ meaning ‘my request’. This is a noticeable way his speech has changed between the Acts. We know that he has compared himself to Julius Caesar and that he sees himself as regal.

However, we know from Act 3.6 that Macbeth has moved from being a great hero to being a terrifying tyrant.

We see evidence of his anguish and ambition when he talks about the possibility of Banquo’s children inheriting the throne. This is further emphasised when he gives the murderers instructions to kill Banquo and Fleance. In Shakespearean times infanticide was seen as the most heinous crime.

The murder of Banquo is not just about his knowledge of the Wyrd Sisters prophecy or about his descendants who inherit the throne, but also because of Banquo’s valour and wisdom, which is a direct contrast to his own.3.1.50

Yet at the same time, he is a very scared man. He sees Banquo’s ghost. A bloody and gory sight. The banquet scene also tells us of Macbeth’s insecurity and the fragility of the throne he and his wife are trying to maintain.

We see his Fear. ‘Then comes my fit again.’ We know he doesn’t sleep at night and has nightly shakes. We know he feels he has scorpions in his mind and is tortured by his thoughts. We know it takes all Lady Macbeths persuading to convince him he is having imaginations again and not really seeing a ghost. (Like the dagger) But is that fear because he feels he has done something wrong or is it because he thinks someone will murder him in the same way he murdered Duncan?

And yet Macbeth is not mad. He is making conscious decisions to murder – in common with any tyrannical dictator of history – from Herod to Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein, to name but a few.

In 3.6 we hear the description of Macbeth as a tyrant for the first time. It is a marking of a turning point for him as the Lords/Thanes begin to speak against him.

We have a vivid description of life with Macbeth from the lord speaking to Lennox in 3.6. (With their help and God behind them, we may again entertain our guests, sleep at night, banish bloody knives from our feasts and banquets, pay royal homage and receive honest honours. All of which we pine for now.

We have many graphic descriptions of Scotland under Macbeth’s rule, described by others in the play. Ross describes Scotland with ‘where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rend the air…’ 4.3.170 Macduff describes the state of Scotland when he says, ‘New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face, that it resounds…’ 4.3.4. 

Macbeth’s physical appearance

We were surprised to find how much scholarship has concerned itself with Macbeth being too small for his clothes, since Caroline Spurgeon’s 1935 study Shakespeare’s Imagery. Several performances including Olivier’s have made great play of this fact; Coupled with this, is the initial domination by Lady Macbeth. Macbeth, although attractive, would be – more Hitler or Napoleon, rather than Stalin or Attila.

Macbeth’s own use of magic

Macbeth final thought after the Banquo ghost scene is to call for the three Wyrd sisters which we believe he would be doing many times a day if he felt he wanted supernatural help.

So we have made the assumption Macbeth can consult the Wyrd sisters at any time.

In Act 3.4.121 Macbeth says “it will have blood they say: blood will have blood.” Who is the “they” he is referring to? The “they” had to be powerful enough for him, as king, to believe in. We took the notion that he was referring to the three Wyrd Sisters. (the witches: the three weird sisters)

In Macbeth’s Disciple the Wyrds sisters give him a magical mirror. Through this he can watch the progress of Cormac and his family – and possibly others, if he chooses. We know the Three Wyrd Sisters gave Macbeth things from Hecate words of admonishment  when she says, “How did you dare, to trade and traffic with Macbeth”.(3.5.4) They may also have given him the staff referred to in Act 5 and so this might be a magic staff and cloak.(5.3.48)

The Wyrd sisters in their animal familiar form are his spies and we see this taking place during the film. “I hear it by the way...there’s not one of them but in his house, I keep a servant feed...” (3.4.130-132) Is Macbeth referring to witches watching these people and reporting back to him rather than actual servants? We decided the spies were the three wyrd sisters in animal familiar form.

To read the full analysis of Macbeth  -

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Deadly, determined and devout

As a young child, CORMAC was excitable, and difficult to cope with; stubborn but unsure of himself, with boundless energy yet easily upset. And motherless. She died giving birth to him.

As a young boy, Cormac showed no sign of any talent. If he had any, they were in need of much nurturing but his father resented the loss of his wife because of Cormac, so held back from investing time in him – he was only interested in Cormac’s older more skilled, stronger and focused brother...

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THOROLD is a Viking. A former Norse slave originally captured and belonging to Cormac’s father.
Since those early days, Thorold has come to love this family, especially Cormac. He has sworn to be a loyal, dependable ally. He will go through hell for Cormac, who gave him his freedom. Thorold is strong and a good fighter, but commands little respect because of his former slave status. Except to Cormac, who uses Thorold to protect him.

Thorold accompanies Cormac on every mission. They have been sent by Macbeth on more and more dangerous missions and Cormac likes to discuss his tactics with Thorold in advance. Such trust is worth a thousand silver coins. The men are beginning to notice how much respect Cormac has for Thorold.

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Thane of Ross

The THANE OF ROSS is one of the most powerful Thanes in the land of the Scots. He is a MASTER FALCONER and usually rides with his Golden Eagle. He has many birds of prey at his command. The clasp of his cloak reflects his love of birds as it is designed as a HOWLETS WINGS. A Howlet is a young owl or owlet.

He is a highly experienced warrior, and, like Banquo, a great friend to Macbeth. Ross is much younger than Macbeth, but he has fought alongside Macbeth many times, and willingly takes orders from him. Ross is extremely loyal to Macbeth and knows this makes some of the other thanes, notably Macduff, regard him as a bit of a lickspittle, an obsequious yes-man...

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Powerful energy healing

Lileas became interested in herbs on the long walks she was taken on by her grandmother when she was a child of five. She lived in Northumberland part of the northern English empire.

Lileas’s mother always had a small garden and she grew many herbs and plants in a small patch not far from their small hut. When she was working in her garden she would sometimes call Lileas and say “isn’t this a beautiful plant” and Lileas would know that teaching was about to begin...

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Courageous, inspiring and reliable

Banquo is the Thane of Lochaber, and is Macbeth’s right-hand man. He is of noble birth, and distantly related to Macbeth: His paternal grandmother, Raghnildr Eiriksdottir, was a Norse princess, fifth daughter of the King of Norway, and his mother was Dunclina MacAlpin, daughter of the High King Kenneth MacAlpin. He is a widower: his wife, Muldivana, was descended from the Thanes of Atholl, and died young. Banquo has one son, Fleance, who is in his early teens.

However, despite his exalted lineage, he is not a wealthy or powerful man. He lives in genteel poverty: although he always trys to act like a perfect gentleman, he barely has two coins to rub together, and in fact has to work for a living.

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Beautiful, bodacious and dreamy

They are fond of telling ANNA she is a day dreamer. “stop dreaming, Anna, and get on with your work. The sun will fall soon and we will have no food if you don’t start picking.”

Often she would hear these words or some such similar admonishment.

ANNA met the Thane of Ross at the banquet when King Duncan came to the hillfort for a celebration of a battle victory against the rebel Macdonald and the invading Norse. Anna was serving food for the nobles. She was fascinated to see the King but once she saw the gorgeous Thane of Ross, even the king had no interest for her.

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Fleance has been blessed by God. His kindness and caring of others is clear to see. He is strong and courageous of spirit and wants to help his father.

find out what happens to Fleance after he escapes being murdered in our film Macbeth Disciple

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Fearless and proud


Douglas is the younger child of Cormac and Lileas. A much wanted son, born many years after his sister.

His mother fusses over him because he was born before his due time and so small for his age. But Douglas is keen to become a great warrior like his father, but his mother refuses to allow him to be trained in the art of combat. Other boys get to train and he resents that she doesn’t allow it. Douglas will often fight the bigger boys if they taunt him.

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Other Characters

Brave, hard working, family man

Kenneth is the husband of Banquo’s sister. Kenneth lives in a crannog, an island dwelling in a loch, in Lochaber.

When Banquo was killed, he did not inherit the Thanedom. He was not expecting to do so as he prefers to spend his time farming and fishing. He was hoping Fleance would become Thane. Kenneth would have helped Fleance establish himself despite his young age.



The Thane of Merse is a lean and white haired man in his fifties with a quick mind. He is a minor thane, none too rich, and with little power. His wife died and he has not remarried. When he was younger he did his fair share of war mongering – particularly against the English. He captured many prizes with his skilled ability with a sword. But now, he rarely carries a weapon.

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