Main Characters Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Macduff, Duncan, and Malcolm
Theme Power Corrupts – Macbeth starts the play out by receiving compliments and respect (“O worthy gentlemen!” “Valiant cousin”) but is changed by his desire for power (Vaulting ambition) and brought to his death by the tragic flaw
Plot The action of history is telescoped into a short play (Shakespeare’s shortest play) where one scene combines two battles; the murder of King Duncan occurs quickly (Act III) and Macbeth rules as a cruel and heartless monarch, killing his enemies and their families to preserve his power and security. An alliance between England and Scotland leads to his downfall and MAcduff need to avenge the murder of his family leads to Macbeth’s death.
Language Blank verse dominates the play with several important soliloquies, most notably the “Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech of Act V
Imagery Shakespeare uses several imagery regarding clothingEx) When Macduff says he likes his old robe rather than his new one. Meaning that he knows that he will prefer King Duncan over Macbeth.
Mettle courage and fortitude
Adage Traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation, or proverb
Harbinger A person that makes the approach of another
Malevolence The quality of being malicious and full or hatred
countenance Appearance, especially the look/expression of the face
Pristine Having its original purity
Chide To express disapproval of; Scole
Parley Discussion or conference
Balm Any of various oils or resides substances
Avarice Insatiable greed for riches
Corporal Of the human body
Dolor Sorrow or grief
Consort Husband or wife of reigning monarch
Wanton Maliciously or unjustifiable
Confound To perplex or amaze
Infirmity A physical weakness
Jocund Cheerful and lighthearted
Equivocate To use unclear expressions
Stealthy Done is secrecy
Augment To make larger
An If
Anon Soon, in a minute
But Only, except for
Hie Hurry
Hither Here
Wither Where
Wherefore Why
Would Wish
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I,i) First appearance of the witches, all of them, reinforces the theme of appearance vs. Reality
“Lesser than Macbeth and greater” (I,iii) First witch says this when they first meet Macbeth, means that Macbeth will become king and Banquo’s children will become king
“Sleep no more” (II,ii) Macbeth- after Duncan’s murder, Macbeth is going crazy due to guilt
“Least our old robes sit easier then our new!” (II,iv) Macduff, before Macbeth coronation, an example of clothing imagery, Macduff believes that Duncan will be a better king than Macbeth, says this to Ross and the old man
“I have almost forgot the taste of fear” (V,v) says this after Lady Macbeth’s death, he is so evil that he is not even scared or upset about the “cry of women”
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time…” (V,v) Macbeth’s famous soliloquy, the brevity of life, life is short, says this after Lady Macbeth’s death, his lowest point, he has nobody/emptiness, no more humanity,
“I am in blood Steeped in so far that, should I wade no more Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (III.iv) Climax- After Banquo’s death, Macbeth has to keep killing people to get to his goal, he is in too deep, he cannot back out, he is corrupted.
“Double, double, toil and trouble.” (IV.iv) Witches- signifies the traditional witches chant, said when Macbeth goes to visit them a second time.
“Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” (I.v) Lady Macbeth – said after she receives the letter- Says Macbeth is too good to commit murder
Out, damned spot! Out, I say (V.i) Lady Macbeth – Said when she is sleepwalking because she is so guilty about Duncan’s murder.
Blank Verse Def= Verse without rhythm, without iambic pentameterex= The majority of the play is written in blank verse, except when the poor spoke
Dramatis personae def=the cast of characters; the listing in Shakespeare depended on the social status of the characterex=
Dramatic irony def=when the audience knows more than the charactersex= At the banquet, the audience knows the real reason why Macbeth is going crazy but the noblemen do now
Aside def= a remark made by a character and meant to be heard by the audience but not by other charactersex= Macbeth makes a remark about the possibility of becoming king after he heard the witches prophecies, and he didn’t want Banquo to hear.
Tragedy def= a work of drama that ends with the fall or death of the hero in conflict with forces beyond his control; the work usually arouses strong emotions in the audience such as fear, pity or regret.ex= Othello or Macbeth
Soliloquy def= a speech made by a character speaking his thoughts aloud, alone on stageEx= Macbeth’s Tomorrow and tomorrow speech
Pun def= a play on words ex=
Couplet def= two rhymed lines of verse used by Shakespeare as an auditory cue to end a sceneex=
The Stuarts Scottish Royal familyWould be James’ family at the time
The First Folio 2nd most important book in literature, after James’ English translation of the BibleA collection of Shakespeares, plays published in 1623, 7 years after his death
Holinshed’s Chronicles Universal Cosmography that included history facts about every known country Shakespeare used the HC as the source for Macbeth
The Globe Theater A theater in London, associated with Shakespeare built in 1599 The modern one was built in 1997Has an open roof
Queen Elizabeth I She had no heir and then it went to James I
Macbeth acts valiantly in the war against the king of Norway He gets appointed Thane of Cawdor from Duncan
Macbeth describes the witches’ prophecies in a letter to his wife Causes the murder of Duncan
Malcolm and Dobalbain flee Inverness after Duncan’s murder Macbeth becomes king since they left
Macbeth hears from the Lords that he will become Thane of Cawdor Longs to become king and Duncan gets murdered
Macduff fails to attend the banquet given my Macbeth Macbeth starts to get suspicious and puts spies in his home
Macduff flees Scotland and seeks safety in England Macbeth murders the wife and children of Macduff
Macduff learns from Ross that his family has been murdered in his absence Macduff plans his revenge and kills Macbeth
Duncan was a well respected king When Macduff uses the clothing imagery
Macbeth loved his wife “My dearest partner in greatness”
Macbeth was respected by his peers -Captain in the beginning said he deserves to be Thane of Cawdor-Duncan calls him “worthy cousin”
The people of Scotland feared Macbeth The doctor and caregiver of Lady Macbeth both agreed that they would not tell Macbeth what was wrong with her so they wouldn’t get killed
Macbeth was ambitious Macbeth’s tragic flaw was his vaulting ambition
Lady Macbeth was ambitious She planned Duncan’s murder
Macbeth has a vivid imagination “Is this a dagger I see before me”
Macbeth was cruel and malicious Killing Macduff’s children and attempting to kill Fleance.

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