Characters and Villains in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Macbeth boasts Shakespeare's most terrifying villain in that Macbeth is the Shakespearean villain that most reminds us of ourselves! Macbeth makes that first mistake, the murder of his king, and then he slides down the slippery slope killing more and more in order to cover up his original deed. What makes Macbeth so horrible is that he has guilt about his actions, unlike Shakespeare's other villains. However, he finds himself so ensnared in the web of murder and deceit that he can't ever get out. His murderous tentacles stretch out to engulf his best friend, an innocent woman and her children, and others. It is in that terrifying feeling of a guilty conscience and no escape that we all can share, and thus Macbeth is truly frightening! We recognize him!
This play, while one of Shakespeare's shortest, boast two of his finest creations in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The couple sizzles with sexuality, unlike most Shakespearean marriages, and the scenes where Lady Macbeth drives along her husband's weakening ambitions are as exciting as they come.
The supporting cast in this play is rather one note (with a few exceptions, the Porter chief among them) and I think Shakespeare intended it that way. This is an intimate study in evil, and its power over decent individuals, and the supporting cast is meant to merely back up these assertions about the leading couple, not distract from them.
Lady Macbeth tells her husband that if he "screws his courage to the sticking place, we will not fail." Bad advice, but we the reader get to go along for the nihilistic ride that follows.