Macbeth Study Guide

What are the first three prophecies made by the witches? They tell Macbeth that he shall be thane of Glamis (pronounced glahms), which he already is. Then, they tell him he will be thane of Cawdor, which foreshadows that he will kill King Duncan to rise to the position, and they then say that he will be king thereafter (which comes after he kills Duncan). Banquo, although he shall not himself rule in Scotland, will be father to future generations of kings.
Do they come true? How? Who hears these prophecies? Yes, he is already thane of Glamis, Cawdor is a traitor and due to be executed ~ “tell Macbeth that Cawdor’s titles will be given to him”~, and Macbeth kills Duncan to become king. Banquo’s child.
What is the second set of three prophecies? ” Beware of Macduff!” Macbeth needed to be beware of Macduff but, at the same time, he is told that no man of woman born can harm him. Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him. The soldiers attacking Macbeth cut down the trees of Great Birnam Wood to hide their numbers as they approach the castle hence it looks like the wood is walking towards him.
How does each of these come true? The witches predict that no one will defeat Macbeth until the Dunsinane woods move. This occurs when the armies under MacDuff disguise themselves with cut trees and hide in the Dunsinane woods. This makes it appear that the woods are moving. The witches predict that no one who is born of a woman will kill Macbeth. Macbeth is defeated by MacDuff. He is not from a normal bith – Csection bby!!
Character development of Malcolm Moved to England to find himself after being scared of the throne and MB.Tests loyalty with MD. When he meets Macduff, who complements him in courage and experience, he starts to get it together. He comforts Macduff after the man’s children and wife are killed, saying “Dispute it like a man” (4.3.259), and he helps come up with and carry out the plot that wins the kingdom back from Macbeth.Here, Malcolm praises his friends; gives them a little reward by making them earls; calls back all the exiles; and then, finally, says that he’ll do everything that needs to be done, “in measure, time and place.” He’s reuniting the kingdom, surrounding himself with loyal friends, and promising to take care of the to-do list—all without shedding a single tear.
Lady Macbeth/ Macbeth shift in power In the beginning, LB pushes MB and acts as the devil on the shoulder. He goes cray and Macbeth begins to act alone and shuts her out of his plans and plots. She then goes mega cray cray. Later, when Macbeth decides to murder Banquo in order to secure his position of power, he excludes his wife from the decision making altogether (3.2).
Macbeth and Macduff act as foils for each other Macbeth and Macduff are opposites. Although both are brave soldiers and noblemen when the story starts, Macbeth becomes a murderer and a tyrant and Macduff vows to stop him.Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis and Macduff is the Thane of Fife. Both are important nobles to the kingdom, and both are apparently loyal to Duncan.Macduff is everything Macbeth is not.Macduff, unlike Macbeth, does not act rashly. Where Macbeth is inspired by suggestion, Macduff only acts in response to action. His family is murdered, so he takes revenge, which is decidedly different than Macbeth merely hearing that Macduff has fled, assuming he is a traitor, and having Macduff’s family killed.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” Act I, Scene 1 Paradox – Witches – beginning of play – good is bad and bad is good – the witches <3 evil
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir” Act I.3 (and how does this change over time). Macbeth is saying that what happens will happen; if fate, or “chance,” wants him to be king, then it will happen no matter what he does.Macbeth has seen some of the prophecies of the witches come to pass. He is now the Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. Naturally, he wonders whether he will eventually become the king.
“If you can look into the seeds of timeAnd say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fearYour favors nor your hate.” (I, iii) Banquo asks the witches “if they can look into the seeds of time,” Banquo is referring to the prophecy the witches have just given Macbeth. The witches have just prophesied that Macbeth will be king in future time. If this is to be so, then the witches know which grain will grow and which grain will die. In other words, King Duncan will have to die for Macbeth to be king.
“Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis.But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives,A prosperous gentleman, and to be kingStands not within the prospect of belief,No more than to be Cawdor. Act 1, Scene 3 Macbeth – dramatic irony – to witchesWait! You only told me part of what I want to know. Stay and tell me more. I already know I am the thane of Glamis because I inherited the position when my father, Sinel, died. But how can you call me the thane of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor is alive, and he’s a rich and powerful man. And for me to be the king is completely impossible, just as it’s impossible for me to be thane of Cawdor. Tell me where you learned these strange things, and why you stop us at this desolate place with this prophetic greeting? Speak, I command you.
Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!The greatest is behind….(aside to BANQUO) Do you not hope your children shall be kings,When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to mePromised no less to them? Act I, Scene 3 MacbethIt’s just like they said—now I’m the thane of Glamis and the thane of Cawdor. And the best part of what they predicted is still to come. Your kids, bud!!!
But ’tis strange.And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,The instruments of darkness tell us truths,Win us with honest trifles, to betray ‘sIn deepest consequence. Act I, Scene 3 Banquo to Macbeth – that they just told one small truth to trick MB into believing the whloe prophecy – like he’ll killl Duncan to fufill the prophecy
There’s no artTo find the mind’s construction in the face.He was a gentleman on whom I builtAn absolute trust. Macbeth, 1. 4 King Duncan to Malcom – There is no way to tell what someone is thinking by looking at the facee. If he could tell what someone was thinking by looking at them, he should have known the thane of Cawdor would betray him.
Yet do I fear thy nature;It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness. Macbeth, 1. 5 Lady Macbeth to Macbeth while she is trying to convince MB to kill Duncan. Saying that he is too weak to do it. You are too full of the milk of human kindness to strike
Come, you spiritsThat tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,And fill me from the crown to the toe top fullOf direst cruelty; make thick my blood,Stop up the access and passage to remorse,That no compunctious visitings of natureShake my fell purpose. Macbeth, 1. 5 Lady Macbeth – her aside- Come, you spirits that asist murderous thoughts, make me less like a woman and more like a man, and fill me from head to toe with deadly cruelty! Thicken my blood and clog up my veins so I won’t feel remorse, so that no human compassion can stop my evil plan or prevent me from accomplishing it! Super deep womanly meaning here. Period blood. Stop from having a child. She is taking away her femility because it is nurturing.
I have given suck, and knowHow tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:I would, while it was smiling in my face,Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as youHave done to this. Macbeth, 1. 7 Macbeth to Lady Macbeth – I have suckled a baby, and I know how sweet it is to love the baby at my breast. But even as the baby was smiling up at me, I would have plucked my nipple out of its mouth and smashed its brains out against a wall if I had sworn to do that the same way you have sworn to do this. – He has to do the dasardly deeds ~murder DUNCAN~
Is this a dagger which I see before me,The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.Art thou not, fatal vision, sensibleTo feeling as to sight? or art thou butA dagger of the mind, a false creation,Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?Macbeth, 2. 1 Macbeth – SOLILOQUY – He didn’t know if he should kill Duncan, but he sees the dagger and takes it as a sign to do so
Whiles I threat, he lives.Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.Macbeth, 2.1 Macbeth during his solo – While I stay here talking, Duncan lives. The more I talk, the more my courage cools.
Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore CawdorShall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!Macbeth, 2. 2 Macbeth to LB about his dream — “Macbeth has murdered sleep, and therefore Macbeth will sleep no more.”
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this bloodClean from my hand? No, this my hand will ratherThe multitudinous seas incarnadine,Making the green one red. Macbeth, 2. 2AND A little water clears us of this deed. Macbeth, 2. 2ANDOut, damned spot! out, I say! Macbeth, 5. 1 Lady Macbeth going crazy because of her deeds — hernhands are dirty with the murders. A little water will wash away the evidence of our guilt.
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke opeThe Lord’s anointed temple, and stole thence The life o’ th’ building. Macbeth 2.5 MacDuff- The worst thing imaginable has happened. A murderer has broken into GOD’S TEMPLEMacduff compares Duncan’s corpse to a church that has been broken into, which confuses his listeners.God’s temple and stolen the life out of it.
Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,As the weird women promised, and I fearThou played’st most foully for ‘t. Yet it was saidIt should not stand in thy posterity,But that myself should be the root and fatherOf many kings. If there come truth from them—As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—Why, by the verities on thee made good,May they not be my oracles as well,And set me up in hope? Macbeth 3.1 Banquo to MB -Now you have it all: you’re the king, the thane of Cawdor, and the thane of Glamis, just like the weird women promised you. And I suspect you cheated to win these titles. But it was also prophesied that the crown would not go to your descendants, and that my sons and grandsons would be kings instead. If the witches tell the truth—which they did about you—maybe what they said about me will come true too. Crappy bc he is about to kill him.
To be thus is nothing,But to be safely thus. Our fears in BanquoStick deep, and in his royalty of natureReigns that which would be feared. ‘Tis much he dares,And to that dauntless temper of his mindHe hath a wisdom that doth guide his valorTo act in safety. Act 3.1 MB To be the king is nothing if I’m not safe as the king. I’m very afraid of Banquo. There’s something noble about him that makes me fear him. He’s willing to take risks, and his mind never stops working. He has the wisdom to act bravely but also safely. I’m not afraid of anyone but him. Threatened of Ban.
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand,No son of mine succeeding.Macbeth, 3. 1 Macbeth – his kingship is for nothing because he has no children to pass it onto. Banquo does thiough.
Most royal sir, Fleance is ‘scaped.andThen comes my fit again: I had else been perfect,Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,As broad and general as the casing air:But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound inTo saucy doubts and fears. 3.4 Post murder of Banquo. MURDERS AND Mb. Fleance escaped. Now I’m scared again. Otherwise I would have been perfect, as solid as a piece of marble, as firm as a rock, as free as the air itself. But now I’m all tangled up with doubts and fears. But Banquo’s been taken care of?
From this momentThe very firstlings of my heart shall beThe firstlings of my hand. And even now,To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done 4.2 MACBETHFrom now on, as soon as I decide to do something I’m going to act immediately. In fact, I’ll start following up my thoughts with actions right now. I’ll raid Macduff’s castle, seize the town of Fife, and kill his wife, his children, and anyone else unfortunate enough to stand in line for his inheritance.
Whither should I fly?I have done no harm. But I remember nowI am in this earthly world, where to do harmIs often laudable, to do good sometimeAccounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,Do I put up that womanly defense,To say I have done no harm? 4.2 Lady Macduff – Where should I go? I haven’t done anything wrong. But I have to remember that I’m here on Earth, where doing evil is often praised, and doing good is sometimes a stupid and dangerous mistake. So then why should I offer this womanish defense that I’m innocent? She shouldn’t have to defend her innocence.
Dispute it like a man.andI shall do so;But I must also feel it as a man.I cannot but remember such things were,That were most precious to me. Act 4.3 Malcom to MacduffFight like a man // I will. I will. But I also have to feel it like a man. I can’t help remembering the things that were most precious to me. Macduff needs to mourn a little before going into battle. “take it like a man” is a little #rough rn
Out, out, brief candle!Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stageAnd then is heard no more: it is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing. Macbeth, 5. 5 Macbeth – Out, out, brief candle. Life is nothing more than an illusion. It’s like a poor actor who struts and worries for his hour on the stage and then is never heard from again. Life is a story told by an idiot, full of noise and emotional disturbance but devoid of meaning. – about LB’s death – shows his disposition from here nihilistic
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,I would not wish them to a fairer death.And so, his knell is knolled.He’s worth more sorrow, and that I’ll spend for himMacbeth 5.8 Siward’s reaction to him son’s death. Old Siward is concerned that his son died fighting like a man because his wounds were on his front. No father wants to find out his son had died running like a coward with his wounds on his back! He is worried that he died honorably rather than dying at all.
anachronism a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned
caesura pause in a line of poetry that is formed by the rhythms of natural speech rather than by metrics
dramtic irony when the reader or audiences knows something the character doesn’t knowAct 1, scene 6 – Duncan says what a pleasant air there is aboutMacbeth’s castle, yet the audience knows that his murder isbeing planned within it
verbal irony Words are used by the character to suggest the opposite of theirintended meaning.Act 3 – Macbeth to Banquo, whom he intends to have murdered- “Here’s our chief guest.”
Duncan’s Sons Malcom and Donalbain
Generals Banquo and Macbeth
And be these juggling fiends no more believed,That palter with us in a double sense,That keep the word of promise to our ear,And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee. Act 5, Scene 8 Macbeth about the witches to MacDuff — I don’t believe those evil creatures anymore. They tricked me with their wordgames, raising my hopes and then destroying them. I won’t fight you. MB doesn’t want to be embarassed so they exit fighting to the DEATH.
Seek to know no more.andI will be satisfied. Deny me this, And an eternal curse fall on you! … Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down! Thy crown does sear mine eyelids…And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glassWhich shows me many more. 4.1 Macbeth to the witches – I demand to be satisfied. If you refuse, let an eternal curse fall on you. You look too much like the ghost of Banquo. Go away! our blond hair, which looks like another crown underneath the one you’re wearing, looks just like the first king’s hair. I don’t want to see any more. And yet an eighth appears, holding a mirror in which I see many more men. went back to the witches for more prophecy

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