Macbeth Act I Quiz Guide

Aside vs. Soliloquy Aside: Addressed to the audience, other characters are present but cannot hear the speaker. Soliloquy: Not addressed to the audience, private speech, speaker is alone.
“My plenteous joys, Wanton in fullness, seek to hid themselves in drops of sorrow” (Duncan, page 29). “My joy is so overwhelming it brings tears to my eyes” (from No Fear Shakespeare). Referring to how happy Duncan was to give Macbeth / Banquo higher titles, and naming Malcolm as his successor.
“The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step / On which I must fall down or else o’erleap, / For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires. / The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be / Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see” (Macbeth, 1.4.55-60). “Malcolm is now the prince of Cumberland! To become king myself, I’m either going to have to step over him or give up, because he’s in my way. Stars, hide your light so no one can see the terrible desires within me. I won’t let my eye look at what my hand is doing, but in the end I’m still going to do that thing I’d be horrified to see” (from No Fear Shakespeare). Macbeth is finding out what he would have to do in order to gain power, and wants to make sure that no one knows what’s going on. He’s feeling guilty for thinking about doing this and scared of what he is capable of.
Lady Macbeth’s second soliloquy – “unsex me here” (page 33). After she found out Duncan was coming to her house and Macbeth’s plan. She wants to be filled with evil and abolish all good in her in order to be able to not feel remorse for what she and Macbeth were planning. “Unsex me here” – transform me so I am not a woman, because women have a kind and gentle nature, so that I can have the ability to kill without remorse.
“O, never / Shall sun that morrow see! / Your face, my thane, is as a book where men / May read strange matters. To beguile the time, / Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, / Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent / flower, / But be the serpent under ‘t. He that’s coming / Must be provided for; and you shall put / This night’s great business into my dispatch, / Which shall to all our nights and days to come / Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom” (Lady Macbeth, 1.5.71-82). “That day will never come. Your face betrays strange feelings, my lord, and people will be able to read it like a book. In order to deceive them, you must appear the way they expect you to look. Greet the king with a welcoming expression in your eyes, your hands, and your words. You should look like an innocent flower, but be like the snake that hides underneath the flower. The king is coming, and he’s got to be taken care of. Let me handle tonight’s preparations, because tonight will change every night and day for the rest of our lives” (from No Fear Shakespeare) Connects to appearance vs. reality.
“This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air /Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself /Unto our gentle senses” (Duncan, 1.6.1-3) Irony: Duncan thinks that the air in Macbeth’s castle is sweet and good, but it is actually evil because of what Macbeth is planning to do (connects to appearance vs. reality)
“Your servants ever /Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs in compt, /To make their audit at your highness’ pleasure, /Still to return your own.” (Lady Macbeth) Irony: Lady Macbeth is pretending to be a good hostess to Duncan, but is actually planning to kill him (appearance vs. reality)
Macbeth’s speech in Act 7 Macbeth is weighing his options and trying to talk himself out of killing Duncan. This is the passage where words could be replaced with “murder.” Macbeth has four main points as to why he shouldn’t kill Duncan:1. “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, / Strong both against the deed…” (as both his family member and his subject, I should protect him)2. “…then, as his host, / Who should against his murder shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself.” (as his host, I should be preventing his murder, not doing it myself).3. “Besides, this Duncan / Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against / The deep damnation of his taking-off…” (Duncan is such a great leader that it was be an injustice to murder him and it would hurt his subjects).4. “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, / And falls on th’ other” (My only motivation is ambition, which often causes people to do stupid things).
“From this timeSuch I account thy love. Art thou afeardTo be the same in thine own act and valorAs thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have thatWhich thou esteem’st the ornament of life,And live a coward in thine own esteem,Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, “Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?” (Lady Macbeth, 1.7.42-49) “From now on this is what I’ll think of your love. Are you afraid to act the way you desire? Will you take the crown you want so badly, or will you live as a coward, always saying “I can’t” after you say “I want to”? You’re like the poor cat in the old story” (from No Fear Shakespeare). Lady Macbeth is persuading her husband to do something terrible that he isn’t totally sure he wants to do in a manipulative and cruel way.
“I am settled, and bend up /Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. /Away, and mock the time with fairest show. /False face must hide what the false heart doth know” (Macbeth, 1.7.92-96). “Now I’m decided, and I will exert every muscle in my body to commit this crime. Go now, and pretend to be a friendly hostess. Hide with a false pleasant face what you know in your false, evil heart” (from No Fear Shakespeare).
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair, /Hover through the fog and filthy air” (Three Witches, 1.1.12-13) Paradox: Both are opposite things that are being compared to each other. It means that good is bad, but bad is also good. An example of this is committing a crime for a good reason, or a food that tastes good, but is bad for your health.
By what three titles is Macbeth greeted? What is Macbeth’s reaction? Why is he confused? Macbeth is greeted as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and the future king. Macbeth’s reactions is that he is confused, and also annoyed that the witches only told him part of what he wanted to know. He is confused because he does not yet know that he has been given the title of Thane of Cawdor, and he doesn’t know that he will be King in the future.
What prophecies do the witches make to Banquo? The witches stated that Banquo is lesser than Macbeth but also greater, not as happy as Macbeth, but much happier, and his descendants will be kings even though he won’t be one.
Contrast Banquo’s reaction to the witches’ prophecies with Macbeth’s Banquo’s reaction to the witches’ prophecies is positive. He is happy that Macbeth will be king, and so will Banquo’s descendants. On the other hand, Macbeth is more confused and annoyed.
To whom does the following quotation refer: “Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving of it.”? Explain the meaning of the quote and its significance for Macbeth. The quotation refers to the Thane of Cawdor who has just been executed. This means that nothing that he did in his life was as important or spectacular as his death. This is significant for Macbeth because it caused King Duncan to look even more highly of Macbeth, so he praised Macbeth and gave him more power.
Quote a line by Duncan that shows the theme of appearance versus reality. Note the point where Macbeth comes in. Why is this significant? A line by Duncan that shows the theme of appearance versus reality is the following: “There’s no art / To find the mind’s construction in the face” (1.4.13-14). This shows the theme because it’s saying that there’s no way to tell what someone is really like just through their appearance. Macbeth comes in right after Duncan says this, which is significant because it creates dramatic irony. The audience knows that Macbeth is thinking about killing Duncan, but Duncan doesn’t know this. He is placing his trust in Macbeth based on what he has heard of Macbeth being very loyal to him in battle, but in reality, Macbeth will stab Duncan in the back.
As Macbeth talks to Duncan, why does the term “Prince of Cumberland” disturb him? The term “Prince of Cumberland” disturbs him because Macbeth now knows that Malcolm is next in line to be king, so Macbeth believes that he could become king if he kills Duncan. This disturbs him because he feels ashamed and guilty that he is thinking about killing Duncan.
What are the contents of the letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth and her reaction to it? The letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth tells what the three witches had prophesied for Macbeth and that he was greeted as the Thane of Cawdor. It also says that great things are in the future, and if the prophecy comes true, Macbeth will be king. Lady Macbeth’s reaction is that Macbeth has the right personality traits to be king, but he wouldn’t be able to kill Duncan to becoming because of his kind nature. At first, she wants to talk Macbeth out of whatever he is planning, but her opinion shifts later on.
What is the point of Lady Macbeth’s second soliloquy? What is she asking for? The point of Lady Macbeth’s second soliloquy is to show Lady Macbeth’s change in thought. At first, she wanted to talk her husband out of doing evil things, but after hearing the news that the King was coming to visit, she changed her mind and wanted to become evil like her husband.
Why does she tell Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower”? How does this link with a theme of the play? She tells Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower” because she wants him to deceive Duncan into thinking that the is good and pure in order to gain his trust. The more Duncan trusts Macbeth, the easier it will be for him to kill him to gain power.
Theme: Appearance vs. Reality Is Duncan too naive? Macbeth appears friendly, but is evil in reality.Duncan likes the air of Macbeth’s house, but the air is actually foul (just like the witches said in scene 1).Lady Macbeth acting as the host, but is actually evil.Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to hide his feelings so that he doesn’t appear evil.
Theme: Destructiveness of desire / ambition for greatness One of the reasons why Macbeth doesn’t want to kill Duncan (“I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, / And falls on th’ other” (My only motivation is ambition, which often causes people to do stupid things)).Macbeth allows his ambition for greatness to control him and make him do evil things.
Theme: Effect of supernatural realm on man Macbeth allowed the supernatural and the unknown to completely corrupt him and turn him into something that he wasn’t before (he became evil)
Asides: Macbeth has many asides in this Act. Why? What does he reveal often in these? -“The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step / On which I must fall down or else o’erleap.” -Lady Macbeth reads the letter in Scene V and then gives her very revealing soliloquy about her worries and intentions: -That I may pour my spirits in [Macbeth’s] ear.” -“Yet I do fear in thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness
Dramatic Irony The audience knows what mischief Macbeth has been contemplating but Duncan refers to him as “My worthy Cawdor,” which is ironic.
Prophecies of witches -Thought witches and magicians were agents of devil. -Believed devil was permitted by God to work upon men as punishment to wicked and to test faith of good-Men would be faced with Satan’s temptation and offered a choice: on the basis of that choice he would be judged (look at choices of Banquo / Macbeth)-Believed God dealt differently with kings and that they were chosen by God for well-being of State (Macbeth’s crime is against God and man)-Believed in the rightness of hereditary succession to the throneMacbeth’s prophecy: Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, “that shalt be king hereafter”Banquo’s prophecy: “Lesser than Macbeth and greater… Not so happy, yet much happier.” Sons will be kings, but Banquo will not. Used in play to create suspense / intrigue the audience. Creates theme of the supernatural and how it affects the characters. The prophecy is what caused Macbeth to start thinking about killing Duncan, which led to the deterioration of his good nature.
Motif of darkness -Light: “Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires.” Uses light to contrast darkness, Macbeth doesn’t want light to shine because he doesn’t want anyone to see through the mask that he has put on to hide his evilness. -Blood: Used to convey the severity of Macbeth’s plan and the evil that it will require. -Hands: “The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be / Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see” Macbeth wants to be able to kill Duncan without watching himself do it. He is worried that killing him might not be the best idea. -Nature: “I have begun to plant thee and will labor / To make thee full of growing….” (Duncan). “There, if I grow, / The harves is your own” (Macbeth). (1.4.32-38)

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