Summary of Act 1 The Witches have delivered their prophecy that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and King albeit with an heirless reign, while Banquo’s sons shall become kings. King Duncan simultaneously appoints Macbeth to be the Thane of Cawdor, in honour or his bravery in battle. Lady Macbeth, upon receiving word from her husband of the prophecies, begins to persuade him to murder Duncan, since Duncan announced that Malcolm is heir to the throne.
Summary of Act 2 After witnessing a visage of a bloody dagger, Macbeth goes through with the murder of Duncan. Immediately after, Macbeth begins to break down, while Lady Macbeth kills the guards. Macduff finds the body of the King, and the whole castle is alerted. Macbeth claims he killed the guards out of rage, causing Macduff to be suspicious. Donalbain and Malcolm decide to flee to Ireland and England, respectively, since they know they will be either suspects or targets.In Malcolm’s absence, Macbeth is crowned King.
Summary of Act 3 Macbeth, still feeling the guilt of the murder, feels only threatened now by Banquo, who suspects Macbeth of murdering Duncan.Banquo is murdered by assassins, sent by Macbeth, while Fleance escapes.At the feast, Macbeth spots the ghost of Banquo, and has a breakdown.
Summary of Act 4 Unnerved by the events in the previous act, Macbeth seeks reassurance from the witches.The witches and Hecate are seen around a cauldron.The following prophecies are spoken: Macbeth should be aware of Macduff, Macbeth will not be killed by anyone of woman born, and Macbeth shall not be killed until Great Birnam Wood gets up and walks.In response, Macbeth has sends assassins to kill Macduff, who has already joined Malcolm in England. Instead, Macduff’s family is killed.
Summary of Act 5 Lady Macbeth now sleep walks, speaking words of her guilt and remorse. She loses her sanity, causing her to jump off the walls of Dunsinane Castle.Meanwhile, Malcom, Macduff and Siward have assembled in woods next to Dunsinane, and use the bushes to hide their numbers.Macduff encounters Macbeth, who he tells that he was born of cesarean. Macbeth is then killed off stage.The play concludes with Malcolm being crowned king.
Significant quotes for Act 1 Scene 2, Duncan about Macbeth: ‘O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman’.-Shows Duncan’s fairness, Macbeth’s initial nobility, and the first prophecy coming true.Scene 3, Witches to Macbeth and Banquo: ‘All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter’, ‘[Banquo] shalt get kings, though thou be none’.-Deliverance of the first set of prophecies. Scene 3, Macbeth to Witches: ‘Stay, you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.’. Banquo about witches: ‘Instruments of darkness will win us with honest trifles’.-Shows Macbeth’s curiosity, contrasted with Banquo’s weariness of the evil manipulations.Scene 5, Lady Macbeth soliloquy: ‘Unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty’.-Shows LM’s willingness to sacrifice her womanhood in order to become stronger to achieve what she wants, which she needs male evil for.Scene 7, Macbeth soliloquy: ‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, only vaulting ambition which ‘oerleaps itself.’-MB battling with his decision, and reflecting on his want for the crown.
Significant quotes for Act 2 Scene 1, Macbeth: ‘I go, and it is done; the bell invites me’.-End of the dagger soliloquy, where MB leaves to kill Duncan.Scene 2, Macbeth: ‘Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash clean the blood from my hand?’-Shows MB’s initial guilt and regret over the regicide.
Significant quotes for Act 3 Scene 2, Macbeth: ‘O full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife’-Macbeth expressing his troubles over the murder, and fears of Banquo and Fleance.Scene 2, Macbeth: ‘Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck’.-MB removing control from LMB and planning to have Banquo and Fleance murdered.Scene 4, Macbeth: ‘Avaunt. and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.’-Upon seeing the ghost of Banquo, MB breaks down in front of feast guests.
Significant quotes for Act 4 Scene 1, Witches: ‘Form a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble’.-Shows the scheming of the witches.Scene 1, Hecate: ‘Security is a mortals’ chiefest enemy’.-Evidence that Hecate is planning to purposefully deceive Macbeth.Scene 1, Apparitions: ‘Beware Macduff’, ‘None of woman born shall harm Macbeth’, ‘Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him’.-The deliverance of the last prophecies, intended to deceive an trick Macbeth into a full sense of security.
Significant quotes for Act 5 Scene 1, Lady Macbeth: ‘Out, damned spot!’-Shows her being delusional with guilt in her sleep. Spots were used as a sign of the devil.Scene 5, Macbeth: ‘She should have died hereafter’.-In response to the news of Lady Macbeth’s death, showing his complete disregard for her.Scene 5, Macbeth: ‘I ‘gin to be aweary of the sun, and wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now undone.’-Represents his downfall, and willingness to not go down without chaos.
Character analysis – Macbeth Ambitious and Easily Led Astray-He wants to become the King of Scotland, will do anything to make this happen, even commit murders.-However, he has a conscience and often doubts whether he is doing the right thing. He feels guilt many times in the play.-His ambition is stronger than his morality.’I have no spur/To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition’Brave Hero, But a Brutal Murderer-At the start of the play, Macbeth is described as a ‘valiant’ warrior. -Macbeth’s brave actions impress the king, who names him Thane of Cawdor. The title shows that the king recognises Macbeth’s loyalty.-Macbeth seems most comfortable on the battlefield, when fighting he doesn’t worry about his guilty conscience and the morality of his actions.-Macbeth dies in battle too, cyclical. He starts and ends as a brave soldier, which contrasts with the middle of the play, where he seems weak and uncertain.-He is brave but also a cold and calculating killer, he murders Duncan, Banquo and the Macduffs in order to become king.-At the end of the play, he is called a ‘hell-hound’ , and ‘abhorred tyrant’ – Macbeth’s violent ambition has ruined all his noble characteristics. Struggles With His Conscience-He has a strong sense of what is right and wrong, he worries about the consequences of his actions because there is ‘judgement’ on earth and ‘deep damnation’ after death. This makes his actions more shocking.-He is reluctant to kill Duncan, as he says ‘We will proceed no further in this business’. He sounds confident, as if he has made up his mind- he recognises that Duncan trusts him as his ‘kinsman’ and he has a duty to protect him as he is Duncan’s ‘host.-After he has killed Duncan, Macbeth swings between killing anyone who threatens his position as King to having moments where he struggles with terrible guilt.-His guilty conscience makes him imagine: – A voice after killing Duncan saying ‘Macbeth does murder sleep’. – Banquo’s ghost-At the end of the play, Macbeth seems world-weary and cynical , he no longer feels guilty. Easily Influenced-Lady Macbeth greatly influences Macbeth, he wouldn’t of killed Duncan if it wasn’t for her. Macbeth acts because he wants to be ‘more the man’ and not act cowardly.-Lady Macbeth’s influence declines after the murder of Duncan, the other murders seem to come easily to Macbeth afterwards. -He is also influenced by the supernatural: -The first time he meets the witches he trusts them straight away, saying ‘Two truths are told.’ -He sees a dagger that leads him to Duncan’s room. -He relays on the Witches’ prophecies heavily as they start to come true.
Character analysis – Lady Macbeth She is Cruel and Ruthless-She influences Macbeth at the start of the play to kill Duncan, in order to become king.-She’s ambitious and doesn’t mind committing terrible crimes to get what she wants.-At the beginning of the play, she is dominant and confident, persuading Macbeth that killing Duncan is the best thing to do.Cruel: ‘And fill me from the crown to toe upfull/ Of direst cruelty’Cunning: ‘look like th’innocent flower/ but be the serpent under’t’She is Very Ambitious-She is just as ambitious as Macbeth, when she gets the letter, she immediately assumes that they need to kill Duncan. -She thinks that no ordinary woman would plan this murder, so she appeals to the spirit world to ‘unsex’ her.-She knows her husband’s weak spots, she uses his ambition and fear of being seen as a coward to manipulate him into killing Duncan.She is Clever and Quick-Witted-She is the one who comes up with the cunning plot to drag Duncan’s servants and frame them for the murder. Showing how she is clever, as well as cruel and heartless.-When Duncan’s murder is discovered, Lady Macbeth pretends to faint. Which draws attention away from the unconvincing speech Macbeth’s making. She also covers up Macbeth’s strange behaviour even he thinks he has seen Banquo’s ghost.Shakespeare Uses Lady Macbeth to Explore Gender and Power-Women were traditionally seen as kinder and weaker than men, but Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth to show that this isn’t always true. -She contrasts with Lady Macduff who is a caring mother.-She does have a softer side however, as she says she couldn’t kill Duncan as he reminded her of her father.-Her power lies in manipulating Macbeth, showing how non-violent female traits are just as powerful as violent male ones.She Goes Mad with Guilt and Kills Herself-At first, Macbeth struggles with a guilty conscience, but by the end of the play, Lady Macbeth is driven mad by guilt.-She starts sleepwalking, the doctor says her mind is so disturbed that it’s affected her ability to sleep soundly.-In her sleep, she keeps washing her hands in the hope that she can wash away her feelings of guilt as easily as the blood after Duncan’s murder. ‘Out, damned spot!’-Guilt and isolation lead Lady Macbeth to kill herself.-The way she speaks reflects her mind, at the start of the play she speaks confidently in verse. By the end, her speech is made up of mad ramblings and repetitions – ‘Come, come, come, come, give me your hand’.The Macbeths’ Marriage is Intense-Their relationship changes. At the beginning, their marriage seems loving and passionate as Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth ‘my dearest partner of greatness’.-Further on, it becomes clear that Lady Macbeth dominates Macbeth.-However near the end, Macbeth reveals less about her plans which makes her feel anxious and alone. She cannot cope without her husband.
Character analysis – Duncan He is Kind, But Too Trusting-He is a kind and generous man who rewards loyalty, he hands honours to Macbeth and Malcolm.-Nobody has a bad word to say about him, even Macbeth says ‘his virtues/ Will plead like angels’.-However, he is too trusting. He trusts Macbeth and doesn’t suspect he’s plotting to kill him, he also trusted the treacherous Thane of Cawdor.An Example of a Good King-He is kind, honest and fair – a good King.-Macbeth says that one of the reasons he shouldn’t kill Duncan is because he’s a good leader with many ‘virtues’. Macduff also calls him ‘a most sainted king’, reminding the audience that kings were thought to be chosen by God. -He puts Scotland’s needs ahead of his own, contrast with Macbeth who is a tyrant and selfish.He is Not Like the Other Men in the Play-He isn’t a soldier like Macbeth and Macduff, he’s gentle and less aggressive. He sends his best soldiers to fight for him.-He’s not afraid to be emotional, which could be seen as unmanly.
Character analysis – Malcolm and Donalbain They Learn From Their Father’s Mistakes-Malcolm is fair and honest like Duncan, but unlike Duncan, they are aware that they’re in danger from those closest to them. ‘There’s daggers in men’s smiles’They have common sense to flee Scotland after the murder.-Malcolm learns that he should only trust people who have proved their loyalty, like Macduff. He knows that those who seem good, can be evil.They Aren’t Impulsive-They don’t react to Duncan’s murder immediately, Malcolm says that their sorrow is too ‘strong’ to act on it straight away. It shows he is sensible.-They’re annoyed that Macbeth is making grand speeches instead of them, Duncan’s own sons.Malcolm Develops Into a Good Leader-He becomes a confident leader, he earns the trust of the Scottish Thanes, they follow Malcolm as he is the rightful king.-Malcolm eventually returns to Scotland with an army, he prove he is clever by disguising his soldiers with branches. He leads his army to victory, proving he is a strong leader.-He is generous and rewards everyone who fought with him.
Character analysis – Banquo He is More Honourable Than Macbeth-He is Thane like Macbeth and praised for his courage in battle also like Macbeth.-However, while Macbeth is guided by his own selfish desires, Banquo has ‘a wisdom that doth guide his valour’. Suggesting that he thinks before he acts and does what is right.-Banquo is ambitious and hopes the prophecies come true, like Macbeth but he doesn’t act on their predictions. He represents the path Macbeth could have chosen. -Banquo isn’t corrupted by his ambition like Macbeth is, so he remains honourable.-His conscience is more important to him than power and glory, when he chooses to ‘keep his allegiance clear’.He Doesn’t Trust the Witches-When they meet, he questions whether they are real and doesn’t trust them. In contrast, Macbeth wants them to tell him more.-He is still intrigued in what they have to say, he thinks about the predictions a while after as he dreams about them. ‘Have eaten upon the insane root?’ – shows disbelief.He Doesn’t Act to Protect Himself-He suspects that Macbeth murdered Duncan, however he doesn’t actually on his suspicions and instead reminds himself that he will be the ‘father/ of many kings’. Showing how ambitious thoughts can distract even the most honourable characters. -Macbeth sees Banquo as a threat, saying that there’s no one except Banquo ‘Whose being I do fear’. When Banquo is murdered he cries ‘O, treachery!’, which shows how he didn’t suspect that Macbeth would betray him.
Character analysis – Macduffs Macduff is Honest and Sincere-He is a nobleman, he’s honest and has integrity, so he acts as a contrast to Macbeth. He discovers Duncan’s murder and is horrified by it.-He could be suspicious of Macbeth, as he doesn’t attend Macbeth’s coronation. -He has a strong sense of loyalty and love for his country, he doesn’t like the way Macbeth rules so he goes to England to persuade Malcolm to help. He exclaims ‘O Scotland, Scotland!’.-Macduff is brave, he fights and kills Macbeth.He Puts his Country Before his Family-He made a mistake by going to England, leaving his wife and children unprotected. This decision shows his strong sense of justice, but also his lack of ‘wisdom’. -When he finds out that Macbeth has had them murdered, he is overcome with grief. ‘All my pretty ones? / Did you say all?’ Shows disbelief.- He says he will feel grief ‘as a man’ , showing how he views emotion as a part of masculinity.-He kills Macbeth to avenge his family and put the rightful heir on the throne.Lady Macduff Can’t Understand her Husband’s Actions-When Macduff goes to England, she says that he lacks ‘the natural touch’ , showing how she thinks he lacks fatherly love.-She shows courage as she comforts her son. They speak in prose, which makes the scene feel natural and homely.
Character analysis – The Witches They Have Supernatural Powers-They look like ugly women with beards, which suggests straight away that they’re unnatural and evil.-They can see the future, all their predictions come true eventually. They don’t gain anything for their actions, they just like causing trouble.-They speak in short lines that rhyme, which sets them apart from apart from the other characters. Lines like ‘Eye of newt, and toe of frog’ make them sound gruesome and evil.-Banquo isn’t sure whether the Witches are real or imaginary. They’re Evil, But Don’t Tell Macbeth to Kill Duncan-They are usually accompanied by ‘Thunder and lightning’ , making the atmosphere dark and frightening. -They make prophecies but don’t explain how they will happen, taking advantage of Macbeth’s weaknesses.-They don’t tell Macbeth to murder Duncan, but do predict he will become king, which pushes him to kill Duncan.-They confuse Macbeth by using paradoxes e.g ‘Lesser than Macbeth, and greater’. Keeping control of him.-They trick him by making predictions that give him a false sense of security, such as ‘none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth’.
Minor characters -Thanes are there to move the story along and show how power shifts throughout the play.-They comment on big events of the play and say that they will ‘give obedience where ’tis truly owed’. They start to resent Macbeth and follow Malcolm instead.-The Porter is a comic character, providing light relief in between the darker, more tragic parts of the plot. -The murderers show how ruthless has become, and how desperate and cruel he is.
Themes – Ambition -Main theme in Macbeth-Could be argued that this theme is the reason for the events of the play.-The Macbeths needed ambition for the regicide.-Macduff and Malcolm needed ambition to defeat the tyranny of Macbeth.Key Quote: ‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which ‘oerleaps itself’. (Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7)
Themes – Loyalty and Betrayal Duncan and Macbeth-Duncan rewarded Macbeth for his loyalty and bravery, and trusted him enough to stay at his castle.-Macbeth then betrayed Duncan, who was with him in ‘double trust’.Banquo and Macbeth-The play opens to them as good friends, who encounter the witches.-Banquo, although being suspicious of Macbeth that he had ‘played’st most foully’, keeps his concerns to himself.-Macbeth, being scared only of Banquo, betrays his friend by having him murdered.Macduff and Scotland-Macduff is portrayed as very patriotic and righteous.-This is demonstrated in Act 4, Scene 3, where Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty to Scotland by claiming to be unfit to be king.
Themes – Kingship -The whole play revolves around Macbeth becoming the King of Scotland.Duncan is an example of an Ideal King-He is described as ‘gracious’ and inspires loyalty in his subjects. -Under his reign, the country is ordered and peaceful.Macbeth is described as a ‘tyrant-He rules selfishly with violence, he is rarely referred to as ‘King’, showing how other characters don’t accept him as the true king.-Under his unlawful reign, there is an overturned unnatural order e.g horses eat eachother.A good king should be holy-Malcolm says this as at the time, people thought the King was appointed by God.-Duncan and the King of England, Edward are described as blessed and holy. -Macbeth on the other hand is described as ‘devilish’.
Themes – Good and Evil Macbeth is a good man who does evil acts -At the beginning of the play, Macbeth shows that he is ‘noble’, he has potential for greatness. -His goodness is overcome by his evil desires once he has been tempted into ambition. -He becomes increasingly evil as he becomes hardened to the many crimes he commits.Evil is linked to gender-Lady Macbeth links cruelty and aggression with masculinity. She thinks femininity is holding her back from taking violent action.Battles represent the conflict between good and evil-In the opening scene, the enemy army is led by a traitor, he is evil and Macbeth is good.-In the ending scene, the battle is now against Macbeth who is evil. Malcolm fights as the rightful heir of Scotland (good).
Themes – Supernatural The Witches-Their ‘strange intelligence’ and ability to predict the future gives them power over humans. -They drive the action of the play, despite not being in many scenes. It is unlikely that Macbeth would have committed so many terrible crimes if he hadn’t been influenced by the Witches.-They are associated with chaos, trying to impose an unnatural order on what’s good and natural. -Shakespeare presents them as completely evil, they are cruel, inhumane and show no remorse.Visions are supernatural signs of guilt-Act 2, scene 1 : Macbeth sees a vision of a dagger just as he’s about to kill Duncan. It is unclear whether it is a warning against the murder, or leading him to do it.-Act 3, scene 4: Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost, nobody else can see it, which suggests that it’s a sign of his guilty conscience.-Act 5, scene 1: Lady Macbeth is driven mad as she imagines that her hands will ‘ne’er be clean’ of Duncan’s blood. The supernatural elements add to atmosphere, making the play more darker and frightening
Themes – Reality and Appearance Appearances can be deceptive-Characters often hide their thoughts and pretend to be something that they’re not.-Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to appear to be good so nobody suspects that he plans to kill Duncan – ‘look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t’.-At first, Lady Macbeth has no trouble disguising her evil behaviour, but her guilt becomes too great to hide when she starts sleepwalking.Meanings of words are unclear-‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair’ suggests that things that appear good are actually evil.-The Witches use language to trick Macbeth into a false reality, that nothing will harm him.-Other characters speak in paradoxes, e.g ‘Nothing is/ But what is not’ , suggesting nobody can tell what is real.Some characters trust too much in appearances-Duncan trusts Macbeth, but dies for it.-Macbeth trusts the Witches, which leads to his downfall. -Malcolm however was completely sceptical that Duncan was murdered by his servants, this causes him to flee and saves him life.
Themes – Fate and Free will Fate is the opposite of Free will-Fate is the idea that everything has already been decided, free will means humans choose their own course of action.-Shakespeare doesn’t make it clear whether it’s Macbeth’s fate to kill Duncan. You could say that Macbeth is doomed from the start-After he hears the Witches’ prophecies, he seems happy to let fate take its course.-Lady Macbeth also believes that he is fated to become king, and that he must act on it.-Macbeth says at the end of the poem that people are no more than actors playing a part, they are not in control of their own lives.Or that he acts out of his own free will-At first, Macbeth makes a deliberate choice not to kill Duncan after he has considered the options. Suggesting he is in control.-Macbeth only acts because he hears his future, so he causes it to happen. Suggesting he has free will.
Structure First Scenes-Shakespeare introduces the Witches in the first scene to emphasise the supernatural theme and their role in the play. This also creates dramatic tension for their meeting with Macbeth.-The mood is set for each act with the first scene. For example, the murder of Duncan in act 2 sets a dark theme, while Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking sets the theme of downfall and demise.Structure of a Tragedy-Macbeth follows a typical structure of a tragedy; the first part is about Macbeth’s rise to power, leading up to the turning point (the murder), while the second half deals with the consequences and Macbeth’s decline..-The two halves to the play also help show character development of the Macbeths. Macbeth starts off as honourable, but is then corrupted by his ambition, while Lady Macbeth, who starts off as remorseless and cruel, goes mad from guilt.Scene Length-Act 5, where there is a lot of action, has very short scenes.-Act 3, in contrast, has longer scenes to explore characters.Themes and Suspense-The recurring presence of supernatural things (the Witches, bloody dagger, Banquo’s ghost) keeps uncertainty and a sense of evil throughout the play, while the prophecies keep audiences on edge.Cyclical Structure-The play is cyclic. It opens after a battle to defeat a ‘merciless tyrant’ and betrayal by the Thane of Cawdor, and a noble hero of Scotland emerges. It ends with the tyranny of Macbeth, now another traitorous Thane of Cawdor, being felled Macduff, a patriot for Scotland.
Mood and Atmosphere Main Mood-The mood is consistently dark and somber throughout, with an air of evil and supernatural elements.-The only release from a dark atmosphere is the porter’s soliloquy, which even then, talks about a ‘hell-gate’ and a ‘farmer who hanged himself’. This portrays Macbeth’s castle as hell, and Macbeth the devil himself.Witches-The witches are always found somewhere remote and isolated, giving a sense of secrecy and eeriness.-Each apparition in Act 4 is accompanied by lightning, increasing with each one. This makes them appear menacing and wicked.-They can be seen throwing in ‘poisoned entrails’ and ‘finger of birth-strangled babe’, creating a gruesome and heinous atmosphere.Setting-Much of the play occurs in or around a castle, reminding the audience of their nobility, while contrasting their unlawful actions.-Act 1, Scene 1 sees the Witches appear in ‘fog and filthy air’, creating a gloomy and mysterious atmosphere.-Act 2, Scene 1 takes place when the ‘candles are all out’, as observed by Banquo, fitting the setting for a murder.-Lennox and an old man observe unnatural events and ‘strange screams of death’ around the castle on the night of the murder, creating a mood of death and depravity.
Poetry Blank Verse Poetry-Blank verse is mostly used in Macbeth. This consists of lines that don’t usually rhyme, but have 10 or 11 syllables with 5 big beats. For example: ‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.-Most of the characters who talk in poetry are Lords – this makes them sound posh and sophisticated.Prose-Lower class characters, such as the porter, speak in prose without a set rhythm. This sets them apart from the Lords.-Lady Macbeth, when sleep walking, speaks in prose, showing her craziness has caused her to lose control.Rhyme-The Witches speak in rhyme, with 7 or 8 syllables and 4 beats. Eg, ‘Double, double toil and trouble.’-This separates them from other characters, and makes them sound like they are speaking a chant.-Hecate and the apparitions also speak in rhyme, linking them to the witches’ evil.-Macbeth and Lady Macbeth also sometimes speak in rhyme, to emphasise importance and to show the witches’ influence. Eg, ‘Hear it not; Duncan, for it is a knell / That summons thee to heaven or to hell’.Pace-When Macbeth is thoughtful, long words are used (eg, ‘fantastical’ and ‘smothered in sumrise’).-When Macduff is panicked and shocked by the news of his family’s deaths, his speaks in short words (eg, ‘All my pretty ones? Did you say all?’).Word Order-Shakespeare writes ‘Macduff was from his womb untimely ripped’ to emphasise the last two words, since they are critical to the play.
Puns and Wordplay Puns-Malcom’s speech about his father’s death and running away has puns which allude to guilt instead of fear. ‘Warrant’ could be seen as justification or as an arrest warrant, while ‘steals’ could mean to sneak or to thieve.-Lady Macbeth shows she is thinking about being queen when she requests to be filled ‘from the crown to the toe’, ‘crown’ being the pun.Dramatic Irony-Macduff describes Lady Macbeth as ‘gentle’, and says Duncan’s death would ‘murder’ her. This opposes the audience’s knowledge of her role.-The porter’s joke of someone being sent to hell for ‘treason’ is truer than he realises – a dark humour.Contradictions-The witches appear to contradict themselves ,adding to the ambiguity and suspicion of their prophecies.-Macbeth describes their prophecies as ‘lies like truth’, which is an oxymoron.
Imagery and Symbolism Snakes-Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to ‘be the serpent’ to encourage him.-Macbeth describes as Banquo and Fleance as the ‘grown serpent’ and ‘worm’, since he sees them as threats.Light and Dark-The witches are described as ‘instruments of darkness’, and Macbeth describes his intentions as ‘deep and black’.-Duncan compares his loyal Lords to ‘stars’, which Macbeth later wishes to hide his plans from.Nature-Nature is used to represent moral straightness. On the night of the murder, the horses have ‘turned wild’ and started to eat other, while the earth turned ‘feverish’ during Macbeth’s coronation.-Later in Act 5, Macbeth is described as a ‘weed’ and Malcolm the ‘sovereign flower’.Health and Disease-Macbeth asks the doctor to cure Scotland of ‘disease’, which is the effect of his reign.-Malcolm is then later described as the ‘med’cine’ that will cure Scotland of Macbeth.Blood and Water-After the murder, Macbeth wonders if all of ‘great Neptune’s ocean’ will clean his hands of blood.-Lady Macbeth at the start of Act 5 then tries to wash out the ‘damned spot’ with water.-Blood is therefore their guilt, and water is what they try to use to rid themselves of it, to no avail.Masculinity-Lady Macbeth believes violence is what makes a man. This is shown when she wishes to ‘make thick’ her blood to become like a man, and when she emasculates her husbands, asking ‘are you a man?’ to persuade him.-Macduff, on the other hand, says he must feel the death of his family ‘as a man’ first, before he ‘disputes it like a man’. This contrasts the idea that violence is masculine.Sleep-Macbeth, riddled with culpability after the murder, wonders if he may ever sleep again. ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep.’.-Lady Macbeth is then shown as incapable of peaceful sleep in Act 5, with her sleepwalking, her sign of responsibility.

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