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. As the beginning of the EXPOSITION, 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, linking him to the witches
What does Duncan call Macbeth when he hears Macbeth has defeated Macdonwald?
“Valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!”
Who is sentenced to death in act I?
The Thane of Cawdor because he was a traitor
What do the witches predict in Act I, Scene 3 for Macbeth? For Banquo?
Macbeth- Macbeth will be the Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king
Banquo- will be “lesser than Macbeth, and greater, not so happy, and yet happier” and his children will be kings
What news does Ross bring Macbeth in Act I?
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”?
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. (Things are not what they seem!)
Macbeth says, “Stars, hide your fires. Let not light see my black and deep desires.” What are his desires?
He now desires to be 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?
She thinks he could be a good king but lacks the hardheartedness and plans to talk him into it
What is Lady Macbeth’s “prayer” to the spirits after she learns Duncan is missing?
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?
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?
If Macbeth kills Duncan, then he is setting a precedent that subjects can kill kings and be rewarded with the kingship (around 8-10).
Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman and his subject, as well as his host. (12-16).
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 (16-20 and to end).
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 now “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 so, that she would have killed her own baby to carry out that promise.
What is Lady Macbeth’s plan?
She will drug the kings grooms (guards) with a drink. Macbeth will then go into the king’s room and murder him in his sleep. They will plant weapons to make the guards appear guilty
What is Macbeth’s lie to Banquo about the witches’ predictions?
He says he does not even think about them
What is the signal Lady Macbeth is to give Macbeth to let him know that she has taken care of the guards (grooms)?
She will ring a bell
What excuse does Lady Macbeth give for not killing Duncan herself?
He looks like her father
After Macbeth kills Duncan, he goes to Lady Macbeth and is concerned about not being able to say “Amen.” What is her advice to him?
She tells him to not think about it so much, or it will make them crazy
Then, Macbeth is worried about hearing a voice saying “Macbeth does murder sleep” What does Lady Macbeth tell him to do?
She tells him to go get water and wash “this filthy witness” from his hands.
Why won’t Macbeth take the daggers back to the scene of the crime?
He can’t bear to look at Duncan again
Who was knocking?
Macduff and Lennox
What three things does drinking provoke?
nose-painting, sleep, and urine
How does Lennox describe the night, and what is Macbeth’s response?
Lennox goes through a great description of the terrible night saying it predicted terrible, confusing times ahead. Macbeth brushes it off by saying it was a “rough night”
What does Macduff discover?
Macduff says, “Oh, gentle lady, ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak. The repetition in a woman’s ear, Would murder as it fell.” What is ironic about this?
Lady Macbeth was a determining force in the death of Duncan. She is no “lady”
What excuse of explanation does Macbeth give for killing the guards (grooms)? What is his real reason?
He did it out of pain and rage, but he actually wanted to be rid of any possible witnesses to the murder
Why do Malcolm and Donalbain leave?
They fear that the king’s murderer will be after them, too
Why does Ross not believe Malcolm and Donalbain were responsible for Duncan’s death?
He says it is against nature — both their personal natures and nature as the ruling force in the universe
Why does Macbeth want Banquo and Fleance dead?
He knows they suspect him of foul play, and he is furious that he has done all of the work
(so-to-speak) of becoming king, and Banquo’s descendants will benefit from it rather than his.
What is Macbeth’s plan for killing Banquo and Fleance? Does it work?
He gets two convicted murders to wait along the road to ambush them. The murders kill Banquo, but Fleance flees 😉
Macbeth says, “The worm that’s fled Hath nature that in time will venom breed, No teeth for the present.” What does that mean?
Fleance will be a problem in the future, since he will have children who will become kings, but for now Macbeth can let him go and deal with other things because Fleance is of no immediate threat to him personally.
Who (what) did Macbeth see at the banquet table?
How does Lady Macbeth cover for Macbeth at the banquet? What excuses does she give for Macbeth’s wild talk?
She tells the guests that he often has these fits, that those who know him well have learned to ignore them. When Macbeth really gets out of hand, she sends the guests home.
Who else is missing from the banquet table, besides Banquo?
Macbeth says, “I am in blood Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” What does he mean?
There is no going back now. Macbeth is committed to this course of action, whatever terrible things he may yet have to do.
What does Hecate want the witches to do?
Give Macbeth some visions which will give him false impressions, false hopes for his personal safety and the safety of his rule, so he will continue on his path of destruction
What does Lennox think about Macbeth, Fleance, and Duncan’s sons?
He thinks Macbeth is the “good guy”, Fleance killed Banquo, and Duncan’s sons killed the king
Witch 2 says, “By the pricking of my thumb, Something wicked this way comes.” Who arrives?
What is Macbeth’s attitude towards the witches this time?
He is demanding, trying to take charge
What 4 things do the witches show Macbeth? What does each show/say? What is Macbeth’s reaction?
a. armed head—beware Macduff
b. bloody child—not be harmed by anyone born from a woman
c. crowned child with tree in hand—not be vanquished until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane
d. eight kings followed by Banquo’s ghost with a mirror—Banquo’s descendants will be kings
Macbeth says (about the witches), “Infected be the air whereon they ride, And damned all those that trust them!” What is Macbeth, in effect, saying about himself?
He is damned
Where is Macduff? Why isn’t he with his family?
He is in England helping Malcolm raise an army
What is Lady Macduff’s attitude at the moment about her husband Macduff?
Lady Macduff is furious at her husband’s abandonment-she calls him a traitor and a coward. She tells her son it is left up to the mother to protect her young now, and that his father is dead.
Why does Macbeth have Macduff’s family and servants killed?
Macduff is not loyal to Macbeth, and Macbeth is angry
Why is Malcolm in England?
He is scared the king’s murderer is going to kill him too, and he is recruiting English troops
Why does Macduff travel to England?
He disagrees with Macbeth’s leadership and is trying to raise an army to overthrow him.
Why does Malcolm test Macduff?
Malcolm tests Macduff because he’s afraid that Macbeth sent Macduff to get Malcolm and trick him to return home. He wants to assure that Macduff is actually truthful in saying that he doesn’t like Macbeth. After all, they all were very fond of him before he came king.
What news does Ross bring to Macduff?
He brings the news of Macduff’s family murders
What does Malcolm tell Macduff to do with his grief?
Malcolm tells Macduff to turn his grief into anger
What do the doctor and the gentlewoman see Lady Macbeth doing? What do they decide to do?
She is sleepwalking and talking about the murders. The doctor decides his best move is to not mention that he heard anything, and he tells the woman to keep an eye on Lady Macbeth.
What does Macbeth want the doctor to do for his wife?
He wants the doctor to ease her suffering, to give her something to make her oblivious to her weighty troubles
What trick does Malcolm use to hide the number of men in his army?
He has his men cut off tree branches and use them as camouflage
What does Malcolm explain about the state of Macbeth’s armies?
Malcolm says on the battlefield Macbeth’s army has been deliberately not attacking the enemy. It seems no one wishes for Macbeth to be king, not even his own side!
What is Macbeth’s reaction to Lady Macbeth’s death?
He takes it very calmly, saying she would have died sooner or later, anyway
What is Macbeth’s reaction to the news that Birnam Wood is moving?
He is going to fight to the bitter end and take don the whole universe with him, if necessary
Who first fights Macbeth? What happens?
Young Siward is slain
Why is it important that Young Siward died with wounds to the front chest?
It is important because being hit in the chest proves that he decided to fight Macbeth head on instead of cowering, indicating the respect he has earned. If his wounds originated from his back, it shows that he attempted to run away from the battle, earning him the title of a coward.
What excuse does Macbeth give Macduff for not wanting to fight him?
He didn’t want to add any more casualties to the body count
When does Macbeth know he is in trouble?
When he sees Birnam Wood moving towards the castle
How does Macbeth die?
Macduff beheads him
Who will be the new king of Scotland?