Scenes I and II
- Identify the two settings for these scenes.
- i. deserted place – film shows a tidal plain or mudflat
- ii. a camp near Forres – military camp, lots of wounded, some skirrmishes still heard within
- How is the witches’ chant different from the major poetic styles of the drama?
- “iambic pentameter” = normal character speech rhymes only at end of act, if at all.
- “What he hath lost the noble Macbeth hath won”(I,ii,77)
- witches’s chant in rhyme, 4 beats per line.
- “When the hurlyburly’s done”(I,i,3)
- “When the battle’s lost and won”(I,i,4)
- The witches’ refrain serves as foreshadowing, as an example of paradox, and as one of the themes of the drama. Quote it.
- “Fair is foul and foul is fair”(I,i,11)
- “lost and won”(I,i,4)
- Locate two similes that contribute to descriptions of Macbeth and Banquo.
- “as sparrows, eagles”(I,ii,39) Macbeth is eagle, Norwegians are sparrows
- “… or the hare, the lion”(I,ii,39) Banquo is lion Norwegians are hares
- “sun ‘gins his reflection”(I,ii,27) Macbeth is the sun after a storm – victory after a battle
- “like valour’s minion”(I,ii,21)
- Quote a further reference to a quality of Macbeth.
- “valiant”(I,ii,26) – courage or determination “carved passage”
- “brave”(I,ii,18) – ready to “face Macdonwald” and endure danger or pain
- “lavish spirit”(I,ii,65) – Macbeth revels in the gory slaughter of MacDonwald
- Both Macbeth and Banquo speak of “foul” or “fair” aspects. Give examples.
- foul thunder and lightening, fair “upon a heath”
- “start at things that sound fair”(I,iii,54)
- foul- fighting Scottish, fair fighting Norway.
- “So Foul and fair a day I have not seen”(I,iii,39)
- Banquo refers to the witches’ prophecies. What are those “predictions” given to Macbeth? Quote the predictions that are given to Banquo.
- “happy, but”(I,iii,69)
- “beget kings”(I,iii,70)
- Macbeth is addressed by Ross as “Thane of Cawdor.” Why?
- Ross is most trusted by Duncan with best news
- Duncan rewards Macbeth for “brave, valiant, loyal, worthy, cousin”
- Cawdor is a big deal reward, because Macbeth has done a big deal. Macbeth defeated Macdonwald(battle 1), Cawdor(battle 2), Norway War 1.
- Report Macbeth’s mixed feelings about one of the prophecies of the witches coming true.
- “supernatural soliciting cannot be ill; cannot be good”(I,ii,140)
- doubts magic/witches are real
- paradox either ill or good but how neither?
- “unfix my hair”(I,iii,144-5)
- “shakes so my single state of man that function”(I,iii,150)
- How does Macbeth’s reaction contrast to Banquo’s reaction?
- Macbeth: “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more”(I,iii,73)
- Macbeth: “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir”(I,iii,154) recall Brutus and Cassius and Portia(she swallowed hot coals)
- Macbeth seems stoic but eager to hear more
- “rapt withal”(I,iii,60)
- Banquo’s reaction:
- “new honors”(I,iii,158)
- “insane root takes the reason prisoner”(I,iii,88)
- “instruments of darkness tells us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.”(I,iii,134f)
- To whom does the following quotation refer? “Nothing in his life/Became him like the leaving it.” How is this statement significant for Macbeth?
- I,iv,8 Cawdor: witches promise(I,iii,51) and King’s reward is fulfilled(I,ii,75)
- As Macbeth talks to Duncan, why does the term “Prince of Cumberland”(I,iv,44) disturb Macbeth?
- “step on which I must fall down”(I,iv,55f) Malcolm is in the way.
- “full of growing”(I,iv,33) Duncan promised more???
- What does Macbeth admit to himself?
- (I,iv,55f) “o’er-leap” – admits Malcolm must be removed from office
- “black and deep desires”(I,iv,58) – admits removal would need to be evil
- In her soliloquy Lady Macbeth speaks of Macbeth: “What thou wouldst highly,/That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false.” Restate what she is saying, and explain the irony. As a result of her own observation, what does Lady Macbeth plan to do?
- Macbeth would only do honest and brave worthy valiant to get reward, Macbeth won’t lie.
- Ironic because he indeed has “black and deep desires”, technically the letter is true, but he has left out his “hair raising” notions.
- Identify the major point of Lady Macbeth’s second soliloquy.
- “unsex me” (I, v, 44)
- women are not evil, she must become evil
- “direst cruelty” (I, v, 46)
- “stop access to remorse” (I, v, 47)
- guilt free ; no conscience ; give up immortal soul
- Why does Lady Macbeth tell Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower?”
- (I, v, 72)
- “your face, my thane, is as a book” (I, v, 70)
Scenes VI and VII
- Explain the dramatic irony in Duncan’s statement: “This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air/Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/Unto our gentle senses.”
- seems perfect, when he doesn’t know he will die there soon
- (I, vi, 1)
- future examples of dramatic irony will be more intense
- death of Fleance and Macduff’s son
- Explicate Macbeth’s next four lines, from “But in these cases” to “inventor.”
- golden rule : what goes around, comes around
- Banquo’s warning (I, iii, 133)
- Report three reasons that Macbeth considers for not killing Duncan.
- How does Macbeth explain his desire to be king at all costs?
- When Lady Macbeth arrives, how has Macbeth’s intention changed?
- Quote Lady Macbeth’s arguments in response to Macbeth’s vacillation.
- Report the plan that Lady Macbeth outlines.
- How does the last line of this Act, spoken by Macbeth, echo the previous statement of Lady Macbeth?
- Give two details of the setting that reinforce the theme of darkness.
- Macbeth says that he does not think of the witches, but he contradicts himself. How?
- What causes Macbeth to “see” a dagger? How does he react to this vision? How does that vision add to his characterization?
- To what extent does Lady Macbeth assis t in the murder? Explain.
- Locate the quotes that indicate Macbeth is disturbed by his deed. Quote Lady Macbeth’s reaction.
- Why is Macbeth concerned about the blood on his hands? How does his reaction differ from Lady Macbeth’s?
- How does the knocking at the gate add to the horror of this scene?
- This was a humorous scene for Shakespearean audiences. List the people who the porter imagines are knocking at the gate.
- What, then, is the purpose of this scene?
- List some of the strange occurrences that Lennox reports.
- Who discovers the murder? Who is accused and by whom?
- Report Macbeth’s excuse for killing the guards. Was that part of the original plan?
- Speculate on what causes Lady Macbeth to faint.
- Explain the meaning of Donalbain’s statement, “There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the near in blood,/The nearer bloody.”
- Locate at least two references to (a) unnatural occurrences, (b) darkness, and (c) blood.
- Why are Malcolm and Donalbain suspected of the murder?
- Instead of attending Macbeth’s coronation, where is Macduff going?
- Explain how the last line of this Act is an echo of “Fair is foul…”
- Quote evidence that Banquo is suspicious about Macbeth’s manner of becoming king.
- List some of Banquo’s good qualities. Why, then, does Macbeth plan to kill Banquo?
- Give three arguments Macbeth uses to convince the murderers to kill Banquo.?
- Explain Macbeth’s order: “Fleance must embrace the same fate.”
- Quote further evidence of Macbeth’s state of mind.
- Macbeth also says, “…make our faces vizards to our hearts,/Disguising what they are.” How does this statement reinforce the theme of Appearance vs. Reality?
- Quote further references to blackness, darkness, or blood.
- What statement does Macbeth make that suggests Lady Macbeth is unaware of Macbeth’s plan to kill Banquo and Fleance? What does Macbeth’s statement indicate abouth their relationship as co-conspirators and about Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth?
- The climax (or turning point) occurs in this scene, when the fortunes of the protagonist (the tragic hero) irreversibly turn for the worse. What is the climax specifically? Give a reason for your answer.
- Explain the significance of Macbeth’s statement: “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake/Thy gory locks at me.”
- Lady Macbeth behaves in a manner that, though it is hypocritical, reveals other aspects of her personality. What are these aspects?
- Note that six other references to blood occur in this scene, one of the major images in the drama. Quote them.
- Quote words that indicate Macbeth’s current state of mind.
- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he “lack[s] the season of all natures, sleep.” How does this quote reinforce a previous statement by Macbeth regarding the importance of sleep?
- Quote two examples of Macbeth’s intentions regarding further murders.
- Why does Macbeth plan to see the witches?
- What characteristic of Macbeth does Hecate reinforce?
- Lennox says, “How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight,/In pious rage, the two delinquents tear,/That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?/ Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely, too!” What is his tone? What dos his tone suggest about his meaning?
- Tell why Macduff goes to England.
- How does the witches’ rhyming couplet refrain add to the atmosphere? Why is the use of “double” appropriate to Macbeth?
- List the three apparitions and quote the statement accompanying each.
- When Macbeth asks if Banquo’s issue will ever reign, what is he shown?
- Tell how Macbeth’s words contradict or belie his actions with regard to the witches. These words repeat his statement in a previous scene. Locate it.
- Macbeth says, “To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done!” What is he planning?
- Briefly summarize what happens in this scene.
- Another reference to foulness being hidden is given by Malcolm. Quote that line. To whom is Malcolm referring?
- In talking to Macduff, Malcolm describes many of his own vices. Further, Malcolm lists kingly virtues that he himself does not have. List several of those “king-becoming graces.”
- Why does Malcolm portray himself as a potential, sinful tyrant? Quote Malcolm’s negation of his own description.
- How does Macduff’s reaction to the deaths of his wife, children, and servants contrast to information about him in Scene II? What does Malcolm encourage Macduff to do?
- Explicate this line: “The night is long that never finds the day.”
- Lady Macbeth says in her sleepwalking, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!… Yet who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?” What is she doing and to what is she referring?
- Lady Macbeth also says, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” How does her statement echo, ironically, a previous speech by Macbeth?
- Describe Macbeth as a ruler. Note, in particular, the imagery.
- How does the doctor describe Lady Macbeth’s illness?
- How is one of the witches’ prophecies coming true?
Scenes V, VI, VII, and VIII
- Explain Macbeth’s main point in his “tomorrow” soliloquy.
- Why does Macduff consider himself not of “woman born”? Why does Macbeth fight Macduff, since Macbeth’s “charmed life” is broken?
- How does Lady Macbeth die?
- Why is it appropriate that the individual who kills Macbeth is Macduff?
- By whom and to whom is the following statement made? What is the occasion? “Hail, King! for so thou art.”