Macbeth Act I

What atmosphere is created by the witches in the first scene? What are their plans? -dark, eerie, mysterious atmosphere by referencing thunder, lightning, and rain-plan to meet Macbeth “upon the heath” when the battle is over-before sunset
How does Macbeth’s encounter with the witches show that the play will probably be a tragedy? -the witches prophesize that Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor and later the King-these positions are already filled by others, implying that these men must die for Macbeth to take their jobs-tragedy = death
What is the nature of the war in which Scotland is involved? From the reports of the Sergeant and Ross, what are the reader’s first impressions of Macbeth? What reward is Macbeth to be given for his role in the battle? -war is a fierce one between Scotland and Norway and rebels, resulting in the loss of many lives-Norway has an enormous army, and the Thane of Cawdor (a traitor) assisted Norway in this army-From the Sergeant and Ross, the reader learns that MacBeth led the Scottish to victory when he broke the enemy’s spirit-rewarded with the title of Thane of Cawdor because the previous thane betrayed Duncan and was to be executed
Witches’ Predictions for Macbeth become the Thane of Cawdor and eventually become the King
Witches’ Predictions for Banquo will have descendants who are kings, although he himself will not be one
When Ross and Angus arrive, what do they tell Macbeth? How are Macbeth and Banquo reacting differently to the predictions? -Ross explains that the King was very impressed with Macbeth’s victory in battle, and that he is the new thane of Cawdor-Macbeth wonders why he shall be thane when the current thane is alive-Banquo wonders if the witches were actually right in their prophesies-Ross explains that the current thane is a traitor who will be executed-Macbeth then acknowledges that he is now the thane of Glamis and of Cawdor, and that the witches had been speaking the truth-He asks Banquo if he is wondering if his sons will be kings because that was what the witches had predicted -Banquo says that this whole thing is strange and that it may lead to their destruction -Macbeth wonders to himself that the witches’ predictions are neither a good nor bad thing-He was promoted, but he finds himself having thoughts of murdering King Duncan, which is a deed he does not want to commit. -He thinks that if it was fate for him to be king that he would not have to murder King Duncan to earn his position-Banquo and Macbeth agree to speak later about the day’s events-In short, Macbeth was really into the witches’ predictions and would do anything to make them come true, while Banquo was more skeptical
What is a foil? Who is the foil for Macbeth? -character who possessed characteristics that contrast those of another character-foil for Macbeth is Banquo because after hearing the witches’ predictions, Macbeth believes in what they said while Banquo was more skeptical.
How does Duncan feel about Macbeth and Banquo? What is Macbeth’s attitude toward Duncan? -Duncan believes that Macbeth is a hero who deserves much praise-Banquo deserves no less than Macbeth and that he will give him his love and good will-Macbeth, at first, is very kind and generous to Duncan, but after he announced that his son (Malcolm) would be the prince of Cumberland, Macbeth begins to worry whether he will become King, and this stirs hatred and corruption inside of him
When Lady Macbeth receives a letter telling her of the witches’ predictions, what are her thoughts? -wonders if Macbeth has what it takes to seize the crown-he is ambitious, but he is not mean enough to accomplish this if it means killing Duncan-she wants to persuade him and talk him into committing the murder of Duncan because she wants him to become King-After a servant informs her that the King will be coming with Macbeth, she calls on the spirits to unsex her so that she may lack compassion and not care about the murder of Duncan-believes that the predictions will come true
What is ironic about the speeches that Duncan and Banquo make as they approach Macbeth’s castle? -Duncan says the castle is in a very pleasant place where the air is sweet and his senses are appealed-Banquo explains that because a summer bird builds its nest, mates, and sleeps here, then the air must be inviting and nice-ironic because Duncan will die in the pleasant, inviting castle
What reasons does Macbeth give for not wanting to kill Duncan? -received much honor and praise from Duncan, and does not want to see this end-related to Duncan, does not want to kill his kinsman-afraid of the punishment if he is caught-Duncan placed his trust in Macbeth, and he does not want to betray this trust-Macbeth should be protecting the King from murder, not murdering him himself-Duncan is a very humble leader; his death would result in intense pity and sadness throughout the land-only thing motivating Macbeth is his ambition to become King, and Lady Macbeth persuades him to do this
What is Lady MacBeth’s opinion of her husband’s character? How does Lady Macbeth convince him to go ahead with their initial plan knowing him? -believes that her husband is a coward and not masculine enough for not wanting to kill Duncan-by questioning if he was drunk-by calling him a coward-by accusing him of not loving her-by denouncing his masculinity-by persuading them that they will be victorious in their murder
What is their plan? -murder Duncan while he is asleep-first need to get his two servants drunk so that they would not remember the events
What major theme has appeared and reappeared in Act I? -Ambition because in battle in the beginning of the act, Macbeth’s ambition led him to victory and eventually earning the title of Thane of Cawdor-Further in the Act, it is Macbeth’s ambition that leads him to decide to murder Duncan-Other themes include darkness and deception
Do you think the witches control Macbeth’s fate, or does he control his own future? -Macbeth controls his own future because he could have listened to his conscience when deciding whether or not killing the King was the right thing to do-Although it was the witches’ prophecy, Macbeth has the power to override this because he is inherently a moral person, although his intense ambition is stronger than these moral values
Compare and contrast the personalities of Lady Macbeth and her husband. Which is the more powerful character? -Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are ambitious-Lady Macbeth is more power-hungry, corrupt, and immoral-Macbeth, while still possessing these qualities to a lesser degree than Lady Macbeth, is more moral than his wife-a good leader-Lady Macbeth is more powerful because she had the ability to persuade her husband to kill the King
What does the device of the aside used by Macbeth convey to the audience about his character? -provide the readers with Macbeth’s inner thoughts-imply that Macbeth is uneasy about murdering Duncan, although his ambition trumps these thoughts-provides his thoughts about other characters.
What is blank verse? -a verse without rhyme-iambic pentameter
Place of Birth Stratford upon Avon, England
Year of Birth April 23, 1564
Married to Anne Hathaway
Shakespeare’s first 15 of his 37 plays were written by what year? 1597
In the year ____, Shakespeare changed his company’s name to The King’s Men _____________________. 1603, when King James became its patron
Shakespeare’s Middle Period 1595 to 1605
Macbeth was written in which period? The Middle Period
Besides writing plays, Shakespeare also wrote… 154 sonnets
Died April 23, 1616
Why is it called “the Globe” theater? comes from the expression, “Everyone in the world is an actor.”
Theater was considered “the nest of _______.” the devil
Why was theater something for everyone, not just the wealthy? The seats were affordable, so even the poor people could go (groundlings)
Why was it a problem if it rained during a play? -No umbrellas were allowed-open theater so people would inevitably get wet
The stage represents three elements -Top signs =heaven-Stage itself = the Earth-Underneath = Hell
How does the shape of the Globe affect the experience of a play? The round shape increases participation
“The New Boss” -Shakespeare’s original boss (Queen Elizabeth) died-got a new boss who had different expectations-Shakespeare had to change his ways with this new boss, who was King James from Scotland
Who was Shakespeare’s former boss? Queen Elizabeth
Influence of Puritans on Shakespeare’s Plays -The Puritans were becoming more powerful-believed that if one acted in plays (becoming someone they were not), it was a sin or sacrilegious-As a result, they tried to stop plays from going on
Why do Shakespeare’s plays sound like the King James Bible? The King James Bible was translated in Elizabethan English, which is the same language as the works of Shakespeare
In what year was Macbeth written? 1606
How did the tone of Shakespeare’s plays change when James I became king? In what year was the Gunpowder Plot? -became darker and more cynical-1605
The Chain of Being -the belief that God has designed an ordered system for both nature and humankind within which each creature and person had an allotted place-a sin for one to try to change their station in life-Heaven was the destination for those who died if they respected God’s will
The Divine Right of Kings -the power of monarchs was given directly by God-any opposition to the King was an attack to God himself (sacrilege)-The King’s coronation was considered divine
When did the original Macbeth reign? 1040-1057
How and why did Shakespeare change the role of Banquo in the play from the “historical” Banquo? -historical Banquo never actually existed-since the Stuart Kings claimed they descended from him, Shakespeare added a wise and noble version of Banquo as a way of respect for King James-tries to flatter King James by having the witches foretell that Banquo will have a long standing dynasty, thus implying that James will have a long dynasty
What did James/ book Basilikon Doron say about the theme of kingship? -the ideal King is one who does his duty to God and his country as well as being a good and moral man who can be trusted
What was the Gunpowder Plot? -In November 1605, a group of angry Catholics plotted the downfall of King James I and his government because they were tired of being persecuted-Guy Fawkes was in the cellar with twenty barrels of gunpowder ready to ignite when he was caught by King James
What was the result of the Gunpowder Plot? -conspirators were disemboweled and beheaded in front of the cheering masses

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