Macbeth: English II Exam

Duncan, King of Scotland A kindly and trusting older man, Duncan’s unsuspecting nature leaves him open to Macbeth’s betrayal. Both before and after the regicide, it is Duncan’s particularly virtuous nature that enhances Macbeth’s sense of guilt. The historic Duncan, incidentally, was a young man when he was betrayed by his general Macbeth.
Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan’s sons Although Malcolm and Donalbain seem to have inherited Duncan’s fairness, both display a cunning that far surpasses their father. After Duncan’s death, they fear for their lives rightly and both flee Scotland. Malcolm also tests Macduff’s loyalty whilst abroad by putting on dishonorable and corrupt airs. Such cunning, or shrewdness, allows for their successful return to the crown of Scotland.
Macbeth, Thane of Glamis Macbeth is a general in the king’s army and originally the Thane of Glamis. As a reward for his valiant fighting, described in the opening scene, Macbeth is also named the Thane of Cawdor. Appropriately, the former Thane of Cawdor was a traitor to the crown who appeared loyal. At heart, Macbeth does not deserve the adjective “evil.” To be sure, he commits regicide and eventually orders the death of women and children alike. But unlike Iago of Othello or Edmund of King Lear, Macbeth is not an explicitly malicious villain. His initial crime is a product of opportunistic prophecies, a weakness of character, his “vaulting ambition,” and certainly the influence of Lady Macbeth. Thereafter, he is compelled to commit further crimes in an attempt to cover his tracks and defy the three witches’ prophecy. After Duncan’s death and the flight of Malcolm and Donalbain, Macbeth reigns as king of Scotland until his death.
Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s wife What Macbeth lacks in decisiveness, Lady Macbeth makes up for in bloodthirsty lust for power and wealth. Swearing off her femininity at the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband powerfully to follow through with his plans to kill Duncan. After the act of regicide, it is Lady Macbeth who has the soundness of mind to plant the incriminating evidence on Duncan’s guards. And yet, her firmness disintegrates gradually as the play progresses, leading to nightmares that haunt her and ultimately drive her to suicide. In this regard, Lady Macbeth appears to switch characters with Macbeth midway through the play. Although most famous for her cruelty and lines such as “unsex me here,” the decline of Lady Macbeth is also of great interest and certainly a mysterious aspect of Macbeth.
Seyton Macbeth’s servant.
Three Murderers Hired by Macbeth to kill Banquo, Fleance, Lady Macduff, and Macduff’s son. Since only two murderers are explicitly hired by Macbeth, commentators speculate on the identity of the third murderer. A popular candidate is Macbeth himself.
A Porter, in Macbeth’s service Provides comic relief with his account of “hell-portering”.
Banquo, Thane of Lochaber A general in Duncan’s army along with Macbeth, Banquo is also the subject of one of the witches’ prophesies. Unlike Macbeth, however, Banquo does not act to fulfill these prophecies. He instead relies on his better judgement and morals. And true to the witches’ words, his son Fleance escapes Macbeth’s murderers to become a future king. Banquo is also important in that his ghost returns to haunt Macbeth, thus instilling a strong sense of uneasiness among Macbeth’s servants.
Fleance Banquo’s son. He alone escapes from the ambush set by Macbeth for him and his father.
Macduff, Thane of Fife A Scottish nobleman who questions Macbeth’s tyrannical rule and refuses to recognize him as king. Macduff follows Malcolm to England, where he demonstrates his true faithfulness to Scotland. When the English army marches on Dunsinane, it is Macduff who slays Macbeth in a duel. For even though Macbeth is said to be invincible against any man born of a woman, Macduff was born by the equivalent of a Caesarean section.
Lady Macduff, Macduff’s wife A kind and motherly foil for Lady Macbeth’s lack of feminine sympathies, she is killed along with her children after Macduff flees Scotland.
Macduff’s son The precociousness of Macduff’s son makes his death ever the more lamentable.
Lennox A Scottish noble who gradually questions Macbeth’s tyrannical rule.
Ross Macbeth’s cousin, Ross is a Scottish noble who eventually turns on Macbeth, choosing to side with Malcolm and the English forces.
Angus, Menteith, and Caithness Scottish nobles who join with Malcolm and the English forces in opposing Macbeth.
Siward, Earl of Northumberland As Duncan’s brother, he leads the English army against Macbeth. His army disguises itself with branches from Birnam Wood, thereby fulfilling the witches’ prophesy that Macbeth will fall only when “Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane.” Siward is also a proud father, declaring his approval when his son dies bravely in battle.
Hecate, queen of the witches Some critics believe that her character was added to the play by a later playwright.
Three Witches, The Weird Sisters The witches foresee Macbeth’s ascent to power and his defeat, as well as the succession of Banquo’s line. Apparently without any real motive, their speech is full of paradox and equivocation. Although the witches do not have much character per se, they are in many ways central to the plot and themes of the play (for preliminary analysis, see that of Act 1 Scene 1).
Three Messengers, Three Servants, a Lord, a Soldier, a Captain in Duncan’s army, an Old Man, an English Doctor, a Scottish Doctor, A Scottish Gentlewoman Incidental characters.
a) Witches in bad weather. b) Ominous and mysterious. How does the play open in the first scene? What mood does Shakespeare create?
It is fair game with bad witches. Being foul and harsh is fair, while being fair is a foul and harsh thing to be. Explain the possible significance of the last line “Fair is foul and foul is fair.”
At first, doubtful, but b/c of Macbeth and Banquo, Scotland won. What does the Captain report about the battle to King Duncan?
The Thane of Cawdor What title is given to Macbeth for bravery in battle?
A brave soldier and leader. He is capable of killing. Has ambitions. Although Macbeth doesn’t appear in Act I Scene II, the audience learns a great deal about him. What impressions does the audience get?
a) They greet him with a prophecy saying that he will be king, as well as his future bloodline. b) Weird bearded creatures. c) That doesn’t know if they are real, or an illusion. How do the witches greet Macbeth after the battle? Describe Macbeth and Banquo’s reaction to meeting them. Does their reaction change at all over the course of their interaction?
a) Sneaky, jumps to conclusions, rush decisions. b) He’s nervous, but is capable of doing it. By the end of the scene, Macbeth decides not to kill Duncan (lines 158-159). What does his speech reveal about his character? Why is this aspect of his character important establish early in the play?
He didn’t see the previous thane as a traitor. Poor judgmental character. Duncan appears to be a kind and generous King; however, he can be seen as having at least one major shortcoming. What is it? Provide evidence to support your point.
Growth and fertility. (plant, growth, harvest, seed) What imagery does King Duncan use when praising Macbeth and Banquo?
He believes in them. The opening sentence in Macbeth’s letter makes it very clear how he feels about the Weird Sisters. What is his opinion of them?
a) She thinks that he’s too nice to kill. Nice qualities is all he has. b) Not sure. He’s killed people b4, but not sure if he wants to do it again. Lady Macbeth provides the audience with more info about her husband’s character. What does she say? From what you know thus far of Macbeth’s character, would you agree?
Because he trusted him, he recently got a new title. He’s a loyal subject of the King, he’s a good leader. In the opening soliloquy, Macbeth offers numerous reasons why it would be wrong to kill King Duncan. Paraphrase this speech in your own words.
She committed to him, she said she would question their love for her, and she also questions his manhood. Lady Macbeth uses powerful language in her attempt to deal with Macbeth’s wavering. Explain 3 arguments Lady Macbeth uses to persuade her husband to go along with her plan.
She is manipulative and ruthless. What does Act I Scene 7 reinforce about Lady Macbeth’s character?
They are opposite words. How do the last few lines of Act 1 Scene 7 echo the last words used in I.i?
“Why are you awake?” and also Macbeth says “if you stick with me, there’s something there for you.” What evidence is there that Banquo is suspicious of Macbeth?
She feels that the fact that she she is a woman stops her from getting s**t done. ((ah sorry lol)) She also asks to be “unsexed here” What evidence is there that Lady Macbeth is not as strong as she would like to be?
No one dies on stage b/c they would have to stay there. It’s more of a thriller for a psychological anticipation. Explain why Shakespeare chooses for Duncan’s murder to take place off stage.
“He cannot be cleansed by Neptune’s oceans.” His blood will turn red. Identify and explain the meaning of two images Shakespeare uses to emphasize the depth of Macbeth’s guilt.
Nature was disrupted, horses were eating each other, birds attacking birds. How does Lennox describe the night in Act II Scene III?
a) He says that he got mad and wanted revenge. b) He didn’t the guards to go against what he was saying or testifying. How does Macbeth justify killing Duncan’s guards? Why did he really kill him?
She acts frail and womanly, like she can’t handle the news and chaos. Lady Macbeth takes center stage twice in Scene III of Act II. How does she do so and what is the purpose of each example?
They flee. What choice do Malcom and Donalbain make at the end of Scene III of Act II?
a.) ((He doesn’t??)) Jealously and iffy. b) People may be suspicious. Macduff refuses to go to Scone to see Macbeth crowned. What reasons do you think he has for his decision? What are your first impression of Macduff (Use Scene IV of Act II and the previous one)?
Jealously, envy, and suspicion. “You have it all.” and “Maybe what they said will happen to me.”” Paraphrase Banquo’s opening soliloquy in Act III Scene I. What does this speech reveal about his character?
He ruined the murderer’s’ lives, he wasn’t a good leader, and he doesn’t want the son, and he wants the king to stay Identify all the reasons why Macbeth wants Banquo to be killed.
He was “innocent,” but he says “I’m sick. I’ll be healthy when he’s dead,” as he has a crack on his sanity. Compare Macbeth’s role and demeanor in planning Banquo’s murder to the same elements of King Duncan’s murder. How is Macbeth changing?
lady Macbeth is okay with it, Macbeth wants his future generations to be royalty as well. Are the Macbeths content with having attained the crown? What evidence exists for you answer?
Before, they acted like a couple and lady Macbeth was the boss. Now, Macbeth is in charge. How does the Macbeths’ relationship appear to have changed?
The murderers failed half of their mission: there is one still alive. Why is Fleance’s escape from the murderers significant?
He saw Banquo’s ghost as a sign of guilt. In what way(s) does Scene IV of Act III mark the beginning of Macbeth’s downfall?
Overconfidence and invincibility. According to Hecate, what will be the central cause of Macbeth’s downfall?

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