Drama: Act 1- Macbeth

Graymalkin the witches’ attendant, a gray cat
Paddock Toad
Anon! Soon!
Alarum within Trumpets offstage
Broil Quarrel
Choke their art hinder each other’s ability to swim
Kerns and gallowglasses lightly armed Irish soldiers and heavily armed soldiers
minion favorite
Unseamed….chops split
gins his reflection rises
Throughout Shakespeare’s plays, you will see stage directions such as [Aside] and [Alarum within]. Choose several of these stage directions and explain what they mean. How do they help you understand The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act I? Give examples to support your answer. For example, they might say that the stage direction [Aside] means that the actor is to speak the character’s words aloud to the audience, but not to any other character. Lines introduced by [Aside] express the character’s inner thoughts and are unheard by others in the scene. Students might suggest that this device allows the audience or reader to understand a character’s motives. They may refer to Macbeth’s lines “If chance will have me King, why, / Chance may crown me, / Without my stir,” and “The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step / On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap. . . .”
Circle the character flaw that most seems to motivate Lady Macbeth to plan Duncan’s murder in Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth. After each response, explain why it is or is not correct. b. Excessive ambition for her husband
In paragraph two, explain the significance of the witches’ remark, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” How does it help to set the mood for The Tragedy of Macbeth? Students should recognize that the remark indicates that things are not what they seem and sets the stage for the Macbeths’ disloyalty and other actions that contradict what they pretend to be and what Duncan and others think they are. Students may also feel that the comment underscores the eerie supernatural flavor that runs through the play, owing to the witches’ predictions. Students should cite examples from the play to support their ideas.
Write a short essay exploring the character of Lady Macbeth and the influence she seems to have on her husband. Focus especially on her remarks in The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act I, Scenes v and vii and the attitudes and personality traits that those remarks reveal. Also consider what Macbeth says to her in his next-to-last speech in Scene vii. Students’ essays might focus on such qualities in Lady Macbeth as her ambition, manipulative nature, firmness of purpose, inability to foresee consequences, love for her husband, and seeming willingness to abandon the softer feminine virtues associated with women in her day. Students should cite details from the play to illustrate each quality they name.
What is the general setting of Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth? Cite details from the play to explain your answer. B. medieval scotland
Why do the stage directions in Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth make no detailed references to lighting and sets? Explain your responses. A. In Shakespeare’s day, plays did not have artificial lighting or elaborate sets.
How does Macbeth come to be Thane of Cawdor? Cite lines from Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth to support your response. Sample answer: After the previous Thane of Cawdor is found guilty of treason, Duncan bequeaths his title on Macbeth in gratitude for Macbeth’s courage in battle.
Dramatic irony exists when what appears true to one or more characters is not what the audience or reader knows to be true. Discuss Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony in his portrayal of King Duncan. What does Duncan believe to be true? In contrast, what do we know to be true? How does the dramatic irony surrounding Duncan add to the play’s effectiveness? Address these questions in a brief essay that uses details from The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act I, to support your ideas. Examples of dramatic irony that students may mention include: Duncan’s elevating Macbeth to Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his loyalty and bravery when, unbeknownst to him, Macbeth soon seems willing to betray and murder Duncan; the fact that the previous Thane of Cawdor was guilty of treason but Macbeth is actually planning treason too; Duncan’s remarks about the lovely Macbeth castle when in fact it may be the site of Duncan’s murder; and Duncan’s remarks showing his love for and trust in the Macbeths when in fact the Macbeths are planning to kill him. In discussing how the dramatic irony adds to the play’s effectiveness, they may say that it underscores the innocence and goodness of Duncan and builds suspense for the audience.
Using the marginal notes to help you, explain what Lady Macbeth begins planning after reading her husband’s letter in The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act I, Scene v. Use details to support your answer. Sample answer: She begins planning Duncan’s murder. Supporting details include her many about catching “the nearest way” in line 18 of Scene v, as well as the speeches in Scene v beginning “The raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements” and “O, never / Shall sun that morrow see!”
Why do you think Macbeth is so quick to take the witches’ predictions seriously? Answer your questions in a brief essay that cites details from Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth to support your ideas. Students should recognize that Macbeth’s discovery that he is indeed Thane of Cawdor makes him believe that the witches’ other predictions must also be accurate. Students may also feel that Macbeth accepts the witches’ predictions because he is a superstitious man in a superstitious age and/or because the predictions give him a pretext for doing what he already was wont to do (because of his excessive ambition). Students should support their ideas with details from the play as well as logical reasons.
Based upon the information in Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth, what can you infer about King Duncan?
Elizabethan tragedies were modeled on plays from ancient Greece and Rome.
Which of the following best describes Macbeth’s feelings about the possible assassination of King Duncan in Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth? tortured ambivalence
In The Tragedy of Macbeth, in what way is Lady Macbeth stronger than her husband? She stands firm when Macbeth begins to waver in his deadly purpose.
What important role do the witches play in Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth? They foreshadow events.
The soldier who sold secrets to the enemy army was imprisoned for ____ . treason
During the Elizabethan period, theater companies began to use permanent performance spaces.
In Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth, why does Lady Macbeth think Macbeth has a poor chance of achieving power? He is not ruthless enough.
What is the central theme of Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth? betrayal
Throughout Act I of The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth’s plans and actions seem to be motivated most of all by his wife’s encouragement.

You Might Also Like