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Macbeth Study Guide Essay Sample

Macbeth Study Guide Pages
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Act I Scenes 1 & 2
1. What is the meaning of “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”? Nothing is completely good; everything comes with a price. Nothing is as it seems. It sets the deceptive tone of the whole play. 2. What description does the Captain (Sergeant) give to Duncan about battle? He tells about how Macbeth and Banqumacbeth ao fought bravely in battle. Macbeth sliced up the enemy, Macdonwald, from his navel to his mouth. 3. What characteristics of the King are evident? He is loving and appreciative of others and is a benevolent ruler. 4. What punishment is pronounced upon the Thane of Cawdor? He will be executed. 5. What reward is bestowed upon Macbeth? He becomes the new Thane of Cawdor. Act I Scene 3

1. What are the first words uttered by Macbeth? “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” This reflects on how although Macbeth won the battle, it came at a high cost. 2. What 3 messages do the Weird Sisters bring Macbeth? They hail him as the Thane of Glamis (current title), Thane of Cawdor (new title he is about to receive), and tell him that he shall be king. 3. What affect do those messages have on Macbeth? He is very curious and interested in the prophecy, revealing his lust for power. 4. What message do the Weird Sisters give Banquo? His sons will be kings. 5. What word from the King to Macbeth and Banquo do Ross and Angus bring? Macbeth is bestowed the title of Thane of Cawdor. 6. Compare Macbeth’s character with Banquo’s as revealed in their reaction to the witches. Macbeth seems a bit fearful of the prophecy at first. Banquo notices and asks him why he fears “Things that sound so fair” (1.3.55). After the initial reaction, Macbeth is very curious and wants the witches to tell him more. However, the witches vanish and Macbeth is left wishing they had stayed to explain more. This shows his greed for power. On the other hand, Banquo, although also excited, is a bit apprehensive and wary of believing what the witches have revealed. Act I Scene 4 & 5

Scene 4:
1. What description of Cawdor and his death does Malcolm give? He “confessed his treasons, implored your Highness’ pardon, and set forth a deep repentance.” (1.4.6-9) In other words, his death was honorable and he died better than he lived 2. What public announcement does Duncan make as to his successor on the throne? Duncan’s oldest son, Malcolm, will be his successor. 3. What is the effect on Macbeth of the announcement? He expresses joy on the outside, but then he mutters his dismay under his breath. He is concerned that Malcolm will get in the way of himself becoming king. 4. Where does Duncan now plan to spend the night? At Macbeth’s castle. Scene 5:

1. Where does this scene take place? Macbeth’s castle–Lady Macbeth is home alone. 2. What are the contents of Macbeth’s letter to Lady Macbeth? It tells her about his new title as thane of Cawdor and describes the prophecy of witches. 3. What is Lady Macbeth’s reaction to the prophecy that he would become King? She fears that Macbeth lacks the ruthlessness needed to make himself king. She launches into a soliloquy in which she wants to be more manly in order to help Macbeth become king. 4. What do Macbeth and his wife plan to do to Duncan? They plan to kill him when he comes for dinner. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to leave everything to her.

Act I Scenes 6 & 7:
Scene 6:
1. How is Lady Macbeth portrayed? She is portrayed as very strong, masculine, and dominant. She is more powerful than Macbeth and influences his decisions. Scene 7:
1. What state of mind does Macbeth’s soliloquy reveal? He is nervous and unsure of whether he should kill Duncan, because Duncan has done him no wrong. 2. How does Lady Macbeth reproach him? She basically dares him to kill Duncan by calling him a weak coward. Macbeth is easily tempted by the idea of power. 3. What plans for the murder does Lady Macbeth propose? She suggests that they get the chamberlains drunk while Duncan is asleep so that she and Macbeth can sneak in to kill Duncan. Then, they will spread the blood all over the drunk and sleeping chamberlains to make them appear guilty. 4. What is the result of the great influence Lady Macbeth has over Macbeth? He succumbs to the temptation of power.

ACT II Scenes 1-4

Scene I –
1. What time is it at the beginning of this Act? Just past midnight 2. What does Banquo give Macbeth that is a present from the King? Why did the King give this to Macbeth? He gives LMB a diamond for being a very kind hostess. 3. What did Banquo dream about? The Three Weird Sisters and their prophecy. 4. What does Macbeth want to talk to Banquo about? MB claims he has not thought about the prophecy and that they can talk about it later. 5. In Macbeth’s soliloquy – what does he have delusions about? He sees his bloody dagger and talks to it. He is very worried about murdering Duncan.

Scene 2 –
1. Why didn’t Lady Macbeth kill the King? He looked like her father. 2. Why did Macbeth bring back the daggers to Lady Macbeth? Who returns them? Macbeth forgot to leave them in the room and refuses to go back in. LMB goes in to put the daggers back. 3. What does the last line (spoken by Macbeth) mean? He wishes Duncan was still alive and that the knocking sound would awaken him. This shows his guilty conscience about killing the king.

Scene 3 –
1. What is the purpose of the porter scene? What is the condition of the porter? It is to inject some humor into the dark mood of the play. The porter is drunk and makes many sexual jokes. He says that alcohol causes a red nose, sleep, urination, and impotence. 2. What is Macbeth’s mental and emotional state on his entrance? He is reticent and feeling guilty, shown by his shortened sentences. 3. What is the effect of the news of Duncan’s murder on: Macduff, on Banquo? Macduff is horrified and runs out of the room crying that Duncan has been murdered. He is very emotional. Banquo is disbelieving and shocked. 4. What do Malcolm and Donalbain decide to do? Flee the kingdom so as to avoid being killed as well. This ends up making them appear guilty. 5. Why did Macbeth kill the grooms? He was so mad that they “killed” Duncan that he killed them in his rage.

Scene 4 –
1. Where does Macbeth go to get crowned? Scone
2. Where is Duncan’s body taken? “Colmekill,/The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,/And guardian of their bones.” Macbeth — Act III
Scene 1 –
1. What is Banquo’s opinion of Macbeth’s conduct? He feels that Macbeth has cheated to make the witches’ prophecy come true. 2. What does Banquo say of the prediction of the Weird Sisters concerning himself and of the prospect of its being fulfilled? Because Macbeth’s part of the prophecy has come true, he believes his part will as well. 3. What invitation does Macbeth give Banquo? He invites Banquo to a feast that night. 4. What was Macbeth’s reason for asking Banquo, “Ride you this afternoon?” He wants to know Banquo’s plans so he can send the murderers after him. 5. What does Macbeth plan for Fleance? Kill him along with Banquo

Scene 2 –
1. What makes Lady Macbeth content? 3.2.6 She is now questioning/hesitating how she and Macbeth came into power. She wishes she had been one of the victims. 2. In what ways do Lady Macbeth and Macbeth show their love for each other? Macbeth is not going to tell Lady Macbeth about killing Banquo until he has done it. 3. Does Macbeth tell Lady Macbeth his plans? No. He teases her about it. Once he is finished with the deed, he can tell her and prove himself a man.

Scene 3 –
1. Who is the 3rd murderer? Macduff’s servant
2. What does the escape of Fleance foreshadow? Banquo is dead, and Fleance is still alive. This foreshadows that the prophecy shall come true.

Scene 4 –
1. What is the effect on Macbeth (as revealed in the aside) of the fact that Fleance escapes? He was 2. What is the effect on Macbeth of the appearance of the ghost? Lennox offered him a seat at the table, but Macbeth saw a ghost in the chair. He begins talking to it and telling it to be gone, which makes everyone else think that he is unwell. 3. How does Lady Macbeth explain Macbeth’s action and words? He has been ill since his youth and this is normal. 4. What causes the ghost to reenter? Macbeth begins addressing his guests again and explaining his “disorder.” Then he proposes a toast to Banquo. 5. Does Lady Macbeth taunt or chide Macbeth after the guests depart? She says that he has ruined the good mood of the night. She also tells him he needs sleep.

Scene 5 –
1. Why does Hecate get mad at the 3 witches? They have meddled in Macbeth’s business without consulting her (goddess of witchcraft)

Scene 6 –
1. What is the purpose of this scene? Lennox and the lord suspect Macbeth, whom they call a “tyrant,” in the murders of Duncan and Banquo. The lord tells Lennox that Macduff and Malcolm are asking England’s King Edward for help Macbeth is preparing for war. Lennox and the lord make it clear that they are on Macduff’s and Malcolm’s side.

Macbeth — Act IV

Scene 1 –
1. Where does this scene take place? Cavern at night when there is thunder. 2. What is Macbeth’s errand here? He wants answers to his questions. 3. What are the witches doing? Making a potion to summon apparitions. 4. How does Macbeth describe the witches? He calls them “secret, black midnight hags” 5. a) Who does the first apparition (an armed head) represent? Macduff, who will come to Scotland at the head of an army. b) what is its message? It says to beware Macduff, the thane of Fife. c) what does this foreshadow? Macduff will kill Macbeth. 6. Who does the second apparition represent – what is the message? It is a bloody child that tells him that no man born from a woman can harm him. 7. Who does the third apparition represent – what is its message? It is a child with a crown on his head and a tree in his hand. Its message to Macbeth is to be brave and proud because Macbeth will never be defeated until Birnam Wood marches to fight him at Dunsinane Hill. 8. What is the next vision? 8 kings = Banquo’s descendants and Banquo’s ghost 9. What information does Lennox bring? Macduff has fled to England.

Scene 2 –
1. How does Lady Macduff feel about her husband’s flight to England? She feels that he has abandoned their family and that he is a traitor. 2. What warning does a messenger bring? Does she heed the warnings? He says “ I’m afraid something dangerous is coming toward you. If you’ll take a simple man’s advice, don’t be here when it arrives. Go away and take your children.” LBD feels terrible for not listening. 3. What was the consequence? Her son is murdered by the musderers.

Scene 3 –
1. What is Macduff’s mission to Malcolm? Join forces against Macbeth. 2. Why does Malcolm paint himself so evilly? He wants to see Macduff’s reaction to help judge if Macduff is on his side or not. 3. From where did Ross come –what message does he bring? He came from Scotland and he tells Macduff and Malcolm that Scotland is not doing well. Many people die each day and no one ever smiles. He also says that Macduff’s wife, children, and servants have all been slaughtered. 4. Of whom are spoken the “He has no children”? Macbeth 5. What do Malcolm and Macduff decide to do? Kill Macbeth for revenge Macbeth — Act V

Scene 1 –
1. How has Lady Macbeth changed? She used to be strong and willing to murder, but now she is overcome by guilt. After Duncan’s killing, she said that a little bit of water would wash away the blood. Now, she claims in her sleep that nothing will ever wash it off. She is descending into madness. 2. What is the doctor’s diagnosis of her condition, its causes, its nature? He says that there is nothing he can do. He also explains that guilty people often confess their secrets to their pillows as they sleep. The doctor recommends that Lady Macbeth seek help from a priest rather than a doctor.

Scene 2 –
1. What information is given of the English power? They are almost there and are led by Malcolm, Siward, and Macduff. They want revenge for their suffering. 2. What are Macbeth’s plans for defense? He is fortifying his castle at Dunsinane. 3. What is said of Macbeth’s mental and emotional condition? He is having a breakdown from the guilt and is out of control. 4. What is the significance of the closing words of this scene? The Third Apparition said that Macbeth will never be defeated until Birnam Wood marches to fight him at Dunsinane Hill.

Scene 3 –
1. Upon what does Macbeth rely? The words of the apparitions that he won’t be defeated until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. 2. How does Macbeth treat his attendants? He acts insane and insults them.

Scene 4-5 –
1. What is the effect on Macbeth of the news of Lady Macbeth’s death? He blows it off, saying that she would have died later anyway. 2. What causes Macbeth’s return to desperation and despair? Messenger tells him that Birnam Wood is moving toward Dunsinane. 3. What lines in scene 5 are among the best known in Shakespeare? (Take an educated guess!) “Out, out, brief candle! / Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more. It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.” (5.5.25–27)

Scene 6-7 –
1. What is the value of the succession of short scenes? They speed up the play and show the events of both sides. 2. What is the spirit of Malcolm’s troops? They want to fight to the death.

Scene 8 –
1. What is the effect on the audience of the renewal of Macbeth’s bravery? pity 2. How does Macbeth conduct himself when he learns that the “juggling fiends” have betrayed him altogether? He says he won’t fight anymore, but then he says that he is not willing to surrender. He decides to fight to death with Macduff. 3. How does Sieward take the news of his son’s death? He is proud that he died fighting. 4. Why does Macbeth die at Macduff’s rather than at Malcolm’s hand? Macduff was cut from his mother’s womb, so he was not born from a woman. 5. Does the audience witness the death of Macbeth?

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