Macbeth Act I Flashcard Example #72361

What is the point of the first scene literally and in reference to the whole play?
Literally, the witches are deciding when they shall meet again. This scene sets the mood for the entire play, and introduces several major motifs: the witches (supernatural influences in the play), the idea of fair being foul, and the stormy fate of Scotland. The main character, Macbeth, is also introduced by name.
What does Duncan call Macbeth when he hears Macbeth has defeated Macdonwald?
He calls him “valiant Cousin! Worthy gentleman!” This is ironic, being said to the man who will be his murderer.
Who is sentenced to death?
The Thane of Cawdor is sentenced to death.
What do the witches predict in I.iii for Macbeth? For Banquo?
They predict Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king. They predict that Banquo will be “lesser than Macbeth, and greater, Not so happy, and yet happier” and that his descendants will be kings although he will not be one.
What news does Ross bring Macbeth?
Ross tells Macbeth that Macbeth now holds the title of the Thane of Cawdor.
Banquo, like Macbeth, is surprised that the witches have predicted Macbeth’s new title. He is, however, leery. What does he say about the motives of the “instruments of darkness”?
He says they often tell of good things which may happen without telling the bad consequences.
Malcolm describes Cawdor’s last moments before execution. What is Duncan’s reply?
You can’t tell what is in a person’s heart by looking at his face.
Macbeth says, “Stars, hide your fires, Let not light see my black and deep desires.” What are Macbeth’s desires?
He now desires to be the king, and he realizes that something will have to be done with the present king (and his sons) before his desires can become reality.
After Lady Macbeth reads the letter, what does she tell us is her opinion of Macbeth, and how does she plan to help him?
In short, Lady Macbeth thinks Macbeth could be a good king, but he lacks the hard-heartedness which would allow him to get to the position. She’ll talk him into it.
What is Lady Macbeth’s “prayer” to the spirits after she learns Duncan is coming”?
She wants to be filled with cruelty, given a hard heart and the thick blood necessary to do what has to be done in order to make Macbeth king.
What advice does Lady Macbeth give Macbeth when he arrives home?
She tells him he must learn to look innocent even when his heart is full of evil. He has to learn to hide his true feelings.
What are Macbeth’s arguments to himself against killing Duncan?
Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman and his subject. Duncan is a good king and virtuous man; he has done no particular evil. Duncan is a popular king, and his death would bring sorrow and unrest upon Scotland.
What arguments does Lady Macbeth use to convince Macbeth to commit the murder?
She tells him not to be a coward, not to say later that he “could have been” when he could “be” king.
She tells him to be a man and go get what he wants. She says if she had made the promise to do this,
that she would have killed her own baby to carry forth with her promise.
What is Lady Macbeth’s plan?
She will drug the kings grooms (guards). Macbeth will then go into the king’s room and murder him in
his sleep.
What is the name of Macbeth’s castle?
This term is also know as a “tragic flaw”. This aspect of a protagonist’s character will lead to his/ her downfall.
What is the term which means “excessive pride” ?
Who says: “you dress me in borrowed robes”? What is the relevance of this quote in Act I?
Macbeth. He claims that the messengers who deliver the news that he is Thane of Cawdor cannot possibly be true. At this point (though not for long) Macbeth, like Banquo, is still unconvinced by the witches’ prophecies.
What is a motif?
A reoccuring theme or idea.
These are motifs which have been introduced in Act 1.
1. light versus darkness, symbolizing goodness versus evil
2. clothing, symbolizing one’s role/title
3. “fair is foul and foul is fair” – be wary of what you see for it may not be entirely truthful.
Describe the relationship between Lady and Thane Macbeth.
Dysfunctional, emotionally abusive even, however Macbeth does address his wife as his “partner in greatness” so there is atleast a conspiratory equality.
Explain the plot of murder: How will the murder be committed?
While Duncan sleeps Macbeth is to slay him, using the daggers of Duncan’s guards. The guards will have been convinced by Lady Macbeth to drink “drugged possets” earlier on, so to sleep too soundly to protect the King. The crime will then be easily blamed on the guards.
Who is the impediment that Macbeth must “o’erleap” to become King?
Malcolm, Duncan’s son, the named crown prince.

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