Macbeth Study Guide

Macbeth Protagonist of the story, kills Duncan, thane of Duncan, goes insane, killed by Macduff
Lady Macbeth Wife of Macbeth, criticizes him, planned to kill Duncan in the first place, but couldn’t do it. Goes insane and is killed off stage.
Duncan King of Scotland, killed by Macbeth
Malcolm Son of Duncan, flees to England after Duncan’s death
Donalbain Youngest son of Duncan, flees to Ireland after Duncan’s death
3 witches Told Macbeth about his future
Hecate Higher than the witches and informs them that they shouldn’t tell others their future
Lady Macduff Wife of Macduff, killed along with the rest of her family
Banquo Killed by Macbeth, so Macbeth could become king
Fleance Son of Banquo, who escaped the assassins
Siward General of the English forces that helped Malcolm take back Scotland
Murderers 3 hired to kill Banquo and Fleance
Apparitions 4 visions to inform Macbeth of his future, in his 2nd visit.
In Scene 1, where do the witches plan to meet again and why? The witches reveals that they will meet when the “Battle is lost and won.
What news about Macbeth does the bloodstained captain bring to the king in Scene 2? The captain brings news that Macbeth and Banquo had done great in battle and that the Thane of Cawdor had betrayed the kingdom.
What does the king determine to do for Macbeth? Why? The king has decided to make Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, which was predicted by the witches.
What do the witches tell Macbeth and Banquo in Scene 3? They tell Macbeth that she shall be the Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King hereafter.Then they tell Banquo that he will be the father of future kings.
In the very first scene of the play, a dramatist must tell the audience what kind of play they are about to see. What does the brief opening scene of Macbeth reveal about the rest of the play? How does the weather reflect the human passions revealed in the rest of the act? Play is dark starting with thunder and lightning; 3 witches enter; witches power impact Macbeth’s life with prophecies
How does the witches’ prophecy of Macbeth’s coming greatness act as a temptation for him? He thinks he will become King; tempts him of thoughts on Kingship; thinks he’s invincible and can kill anybody.
Explain the paradox, or the apparently contradictory nature, of the witches’ greeting to Banquo in Scene 3: “Lesser than Macbeth and greater.” How is this paradox true? Macbeth is king now, but Banquo’s descendants will be king also.
How does Banquo’s reaction to the witches differ from Macbeth’s? What do you think Macbeth’s reaction suggest about his character? Banquo’s reaction that rages in Macbeth after he hears the witches’ prophecies with curiosity; banquo is not taking it serious and is sarcastic; Macbeth is gullible
One of the most interesting parts of any serious play is what goes on in the characters’ mind. What conflict rages in Macbeth after he hears the witches’ prophecy? What resolution to this conflict does Macbeth express in his aside, in Scene 4, lines 48-53? He wonders if fate will action his own or if he has to perform some action to make this prediction came true. After Duncan announces that Malcom will be the next king Macbeth realizes that it is up to him to make the next prophecy come true; Macbeth would have killed Malcolm if he did not run away; he wants light not to see his dark desires.
Describe the temperamental difference between Macbeth and his wife. Who is more single-minded and logical? Who is more argumentative and sensitive? Which one wins the argument? Macbeth is argumental and sensitive. He jumps back and forth with the decision to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is more single minded and logical. Once she devises a plan to kill Duncan, she sticks to it.
What irony would the audience feel as they watch Duncan enter the castle and hear him praise its peacefulness? Killed in the castle; Duncan thinks he is at peace; audience knows Macbeth is going to kill Duncan.
Dramatic irony when the audience in a story knows something that the characters do not.
Foreshadowing when there are hints given to the reader throughout the story about the stories ending.
In Scene 1, Macbeth asks Banquo to meet him later for “some words.” What incentive does he offer Banquo? How does Banquo reply? Macbeth asking Banquo to stick with him and then there would be a reward, since Banquo would do anything for him as long as it would keep his conscience clean.
Describe the vision that Macbeth has at the end of Scene 1. What details foreshadow the action to come? Macbeth sees a knife on the table pointing towards Duncan.
In Scene 2, as Macbeth kills Duncan what does Lady Macbeth hear? What does Macbeth hear? When Macbeth kills Duncan, all that Lady Macbeth hears is the normal sounds of the night, like the animals and bell. Macbeth hears screaming and people calling out murder, because he’s gone delusional.
What, according to Lady Macbeth, was she unable to kill Duncan herself? Which task related to the murder does she perform? The king looked very much like Lady’s Macbeth’s father, but she gives the guards alcohol anyways.
Why has Macduff come? He came to get Duncan.
What reason does Macbeth give for killing Duncan’s two guards? Macbeth claims that he was so angry over Duncan’s death that he kills the guards, but in reality he was covering up what he did.
In Scene 4, whom does Macduff suspect of Duncan’s murder? He suspects Duncan’s two sons.
In the short soliloquy that opens Scene 1, what does Banquo reveal about Macbeth? What does he decide to do? Banquo reveals that he is suspicious of Macbeth, so Macbeth decided to kill Banquo.
How and why does Macbeth arrange Banquo’s murder? How is Lady Macbeth involved in the murder? He hires assassins to cut him, and he convinces them that they have personal vendetta against banquo, so he sends mercenaries after him.
In Scene 3, who escapes the murderers? Banquo’s son, Fleance
Describe what happens in Scene 4 when Ross, Lennox, and the other lords invite Macbeth to share their table. What does Macbeth do? What does Lady Macbeth do? Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost and speaks only to him. Lady Macbeth tries to cover for Macbeth by saying that he has fits and then she hurried dismissed the guests.
Macbeth does not appear at all in Act III. Where is he and why? Macbeth has gone to the Court of Edward, King of England, to ask for an army to help overthrow Malcolm.
How is Fleance’s escape a turning point in the play? It is the first time that Macbeth’s plans have gone wrong and it leave open the possibility that Banquo’s descendants will be kings.
The symbolism of the witches’ potion. Macbeth’s soul and his downfall due to his greed.

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