Literature Exam Study Guide – Macbeth

What is the main theme of Act I of the Tragedy of Macbeth? betrayal
Why are the witches important They foreshadow events
Why is King Duncan so grateful to Macbeth? Macbeth saved King Duncan’s kingdom from rebels and the Norwegian King
What is Macbeth’s character flaw? He is ambitious
What do you know about King Duncan? He values bravery and loyalty
What does Macbeth think about killing King Duncan? He is not sure if it is the right thing to do
Elizabethan writers modeled their tragedies on plays from where? ancient Greece and Rome
Where does King Duncan come to spend the night? Macbeth’s castle
Which was true for those who watched a play at Globe Theater during Shakespeare’s day? The play was performed during the day
Why does Lady Macbeth think Macbeth has little chance of becoming King? Macbeth is not ruthless enough
What is the central idea of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act II? A murderer must live by his conscience
For which of the following reasons did Shakespeare probably choose to write The Tragedy of Macbeth in blank verse? to create an effect of natural speech
In Scene ii, Lady Macbeth’s purpose in drugging the servants is so they will sleep through King Duncan’s murder
Which of the following characterizes the line “This night’s great business into my dispatch” as blank verse? It has ten syllables with the stress falling on every syllable
Which of the following symbols in Scene ii signals that the murder has been accomplished? The owl’s screams and the crickets’ cries
Macbeth believes he will “sleep no more” because his conscience will never let him rest
What does Macbeth really mean when he indicates that the blood on his hands will redden the seas? It is a comment on his profound guilt
In the Old Man’s dialogue in Act II, scene iv. which of the following symbolizes King Duncan? A horse
In the following quotation from Banquo, what does he say the purpose of the meeting should be? “And when we have our naked frailties hid, / That suffer in exposure, let us meet / And question this most bloody piece of work, / To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us. To know the bloody piece of work further
When Lady Macbeth says “My hands are of your color, but I shame / To wear a heart so white” she means that her hands are red with King Duncan’s blood, but, unlike her husband, she is not afraid
What reason does Lady Macbeth give for not killing King Duncan herself? She says the King looked like her father as she slept
Unrhymed iambic pentameter is also called blank verse
To make sense of blank verse, you must read and analyze each full sentence, no matter where the line breaks
What is the main purpose of Act III of The Tragedy of Macbeth? to show how Macbeth’s troubles are growing
At the beginning of Act III, Macbeth learns that Banquo will not be returning to the castle until after dark. Why is this good news for him? It will be easier to have Macbeth murdered under cover of darkness
Why does Macbeth decide to kill Banquo The witches had predicted that Banquo’s son would be King
How did Macbeth persuade the two murderers to kill Banquo? He reminded them that Macbeth had caused all their troubles
Why does Macbeth begin to act so oddly at the banquet? He sees the ghost of Banquo
The murderer appears at the banquet to report to Macbeth. He says that Banquo is dead but not his son Fleance. Macbeth says in an Aside, “the worm that’s fled / Hath nature that in time will venom breed, / No teeth for th’ present.” What does Macbeth mean Fleance is not a danger to him now, but he will become one later
At the end of the banquet scene, Macbeth tells his wife that Macduff did not come to the celebration. Then he says, “We are yet but young in deed.” What does he mean? They are not finished with their troubles
As a result of his guilt, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo. What literary element does this event illustrate? internal conflict
Which of these conflicts is an external conflict? Macbeth wants Banquo dead, so he hires murderers to kill him
At the end of Act III, Macbeth plans to visit the witches once more. What does he want to learn? what troubles are still in store for him
How has Macbeth changed between the beginning of Act I and the end of Act III? He no longer hesitates to use treachery to achieve his ends
What is the main purpose of Act IV? to foreshadow the fall of Macbeth
What kind of person is Macduff’s son? questioning and brave
What do the witches tell Macbeth to do? to fear Macduff
What is imagery? language that evokes sensory experiences
Which image is used repeatedly throughout the play? blood
What plan do Macduff and Malcolm settle on at the end of Act IV? to invade Scotland
Why does Malcolm tell Macduff that he is not fit to rule Scotland? He does not trust Macduff and wants to see if he is an enemy of Scotland
What happens to Macduff’s wife and child They are killed by Macbeth’s men
Why does Macduff go to London? to get Malcolm’s help in overthrowing Macbeth
What is the main message of Macbeth, Act V, Scene i, which includes Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene? A guilty conscience is not easily mended
Which of the following helps most to create the eerie atmosphere of Act V, Scene i Lady Macbeth’s candle
What is the meaning of Lady Macbeth’s symbolic words, “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”? No measure of virtue will undo her her guilt
In Act V, Scene iii, what does Macbeth’s behavior toward the servant who comes to deliver a message ultimately show about Macbeth’s character? He has grown brutal
When Macbeth reveals in Act V, Scene v, that he has grown impervious to fear and horror, he is underscoring the play’s theme of the: destructiveness of blind ambition
At what point does Macbeth begin to realize that he has been tricked by the prophecies? when he learns that Birnam Wood is moving toward the castle
In Act V of Macbeth, in what way does Macbeth revert to his former self? He fights with courage and skill
Which of the following lines from Act V contains an example of how Shakespearean English differs from Modern English? “Of all men else I have avoided thee.”
Why does Shakespeare have Macbeth display certain admirable traits at the end of the play? to reinforce the idea that Macbeth is a victim of his tragic flaw
In Act V, which of the following represents the resolution of the plot? Macduff kills Macbeth

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