Macbeth Study Guide

Act I Scene i
Who do the witches plan to meet when the battle is over? Macbeth
What kind of mood is established in this scene? Gloomy
“Man proposes God disposes” is an example of antithesis from a poem by Alexander Pope. Can you find some other examples in this scene? “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”
How would Shakespeare’s audiences have reacted to the witches? Afraid because they were dangerous and looked evil
Scene ii
What news has the captain brought to King Duncan? He says that Banquo and Macbeth ave fought valiantly
What further news brought Ross? That Macbeth defeated Cawdor (traitor) and Macbeth should have Cawdor’s title
What is King Duncan’s reaction to the news about Cawdor? King Duncan wants Cawdor dead and gave Macbeth Cawdor’s title
Scene iii
What do the witches discuss as they await Macbeth? Talk about what they did. One killed Swedish men and the others pulled revenge on sailors
How do the witches surprise Macbeth and Banquo? Appeared ugly and had beards
What do they tell Banquo? They tell him his children will sit on the throne
How could Banquo be “less than Macbeth, and greater,” and “not so happy, yet much happier”? He will have different greatness and happiness than Macbeth
What does Macbeth demand of the witches? To know why they called him Thane of Cawdor
What new does Ross relate? He tells him he is Thane of Cawdor
How do Macbeth and Banquo react differently to Ross’s information? Macbeth is amazed and believes the witches, Banquo doesn’t
What does this line mean “If chance will have me King, why chance may crown me without my stir”? What he will have to do to become king
Scene iv
How did Cawdor die? Executed by Duncan’s son Malcolm
How had King Duncan always felt about Cawdor? Never liked or trusted him
What announcements does King Duncan make he, Macbeth, and Banquo exchange warm greetings? Thank the generals and they say they’ll be loyal
How does Macbeth view the Prince of Cumberland? As an obstacle for the crown
Scene v
How was Lady Macbeth advised of the witches’ prophecies? She got a letter from Macbeth
What is Lady Macbeth’s main concern about her husband? That he is too kind to take the throne
On whom does Lady Macbeth call for guidance and strength? Evil spirits
What does Lady Macbeth mean by “He that’s coming must be provided for”? She wants Macbeth to kill Duncan while he is staying at their home
Scene vi
As Duncan arrives at Inverness, does he suspect that anything could be wrong? How do you know? Isn’t suspicious and granted with hospitality
What is ironic about the way Duncan and Lady Macbeth speak? They speak normally, despite the fact that Macbeth will be killing Duncan that night and Lady Macbeth knows it.
Scene vii
What does Macbeth’s long soliloquy at the beginning of this scene mean? They should kill Duncan but he is afraid of doing so
What does Macbeth first tell Lady Macbeth? He won’t kill Duncan
What methods does Lady Macbeth use to goad him into action? Calls him a coward and tells him he isn’t a man
After reading the speech Lady Macbeth makes about her baby, what adjectives can you use to describe her? Crazy, sinful, sociopath, ambitious,ruthless, manipulative
What plan has Lady Macbeth formulated for Duncan’s demise? Gets guards drunk and Macbeth will kill them in their sleep
What does Macbeth add to the plan? Then they will use the guards’ daggers to kill Duncan and put the bloody daggers back with the guards
Act II scene i
At what time does this scene take place? What lines tell you? Night time “How goes the night boy?”
Why would Banquo prefer to sleep? He has a feeling that something bad will happen
What offer does Macbeth makes to Banquo? He asks him to join him
What feelings does Macbeth reveal in his soliloquy at the end of this scene? He is horrified by the vision of a bloody dagger and he is hesitating about what he is intending to do
Scene ii
What feat has Lady Macbeth accomplished? She got Macbeth to kill Duncan
Lady Macbeth said she would have killed Duncan herself except for what? King Duncan looks too much like her own father
What does Macbeth tell his wife? He has killed Duncan
What did Macbeth hear or imagine he heard, while he was in Duncan’s chamber? Can you explain this? He thinks he hears the guards calling out and he hears someone knocking the door
In what ways does Lady Macbeth’s reaction to the murder differ from Macbeth’s? She is more practical, doesn’t feel guilt. Macbeth is remorseful
What advice does she give Macbeth? She tells him to stop worrying/thinking about it
Macbeth is overwhelmed with guilt over what he has done. What lines indicate this? “It would be better to be lost in thought than have to look at what I have done. Wake Duncan with your knocking! I wish that you could!”
Scene iii
Why do you think Shakespeare added the porter and his long speech? Foreshadowing to tell us what will happen
Besides being funny, is the porter’s speech in any way ironic? Yes
Who does the porter admit to the castle? Macduff
As Lennox and Macbeth talk, what is Macduff about to do? Told to call for his limited service
How does Macduff ‘s treatment of Lady Macbeth strike you? ironic and she faked surprise
What was Macbeth’s reaction to the discovery? He acts surprised and kills the guards
What wise decision do Malcolm and Dolman make? Why? Malcolm goes to England and Dolman goes to Ireland. They had to get away
Scene iv
Shakespeare often uses references to the weather and strange occurrences to create an ominous mood. Give examples. It’s daytime, but dark. Horses ate each other. An owl killed a hawk
What might the Old Man in this scene represent? Wisdom of age
Who is under suspicion for Duncan’s murder? Does this make any sense? Malcolm and Dolman are under suspicion and this makes sense because they were the heirs to the throne and the death of their father benefits them
Who will be king now? Macbeth
Explain the line, “Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!” Macbeth will never be as good as the past kings
Act III scene i
Briefly paraphrase Banquo’s first speech in this scene? The prophecies were coming true, suspects of Macbeth, his sons will be kings and everything the witches said might be true in the end
How does Macbeth find out Banquo’s plans for the day? Does Banquo suspect Macbeth of an ill will toward him? Invites Banquo to a banquet and Banquo does’t suspect of that Macbeth will kill him
What has Macbeth realised about Banquo? The witches say his sons will be kings
Does Macbeth totally believe in the witches at this point? Does he have a good reason why? Yes he believes, and this is because everything they said was going to happen is happening.
How does Macbeth get the murdered on his side? Convinces them that Banquo is their enemy too
What does Macbeth want the murderers to do? Kill Banquo and Fleance when they return to the castle
Scene ii
How does Lady Macbeth try to comfort her husband? Tells him to stop thinking about it
is Macbeth able to accept her advice? No, he will never be in peace
From this scene, what is your evaluation of the Macbeth’s relationship? Tenderness between them
Scene iii
Summarise this scene Banquo is killed, but Fleance has escaped
Scene iv
How does Macbeth react to the news that Banquo’s throat has been cut? He is happy
Why is Macbeth distressed by the escape of Fleance? Because Fleance will end up being king if he is not killed
What “surprise guest” appears at the feast? Ghost of Banquo
What is Macbeth’s reaction to the apparition? He is frightened
Who is conspicuously Not present at the feast? Macduff
What does “…in his house I keep a servant fee’d” mean? Has a spy in every castle
What does Macbeth plan to do as soon as possible? Wants to kill Malcolm and will go to the witches for help
Scene v
Who is Hectate and why is she angry? Hectate is the Goddess of Darkness and she is angry because the witches have excluded her from their meeting with Macbeth
What is the effect of this scene? Foreshadowing
Scene vi
Lennox and other thanes are now suspicious of Macbeth’s role in the deaths of Duncan, the two guards, and Banquo. In this scene, what does Lennox reveal about Macduff? He knows Macbeth killed Duncan
Act IV scene i
Where does this scene take place? Fife castle
What is Lady Macduff complaining about? Macduff left them
On what do Lady Macduff and her son disagree? Lady Macduff thinks her husband is dead, but her son thinks his father is still alive
What antithesis is found in this scene? “Where to do harm/ is often laudable, to do good sometimes/ accounted dangerous folly”
What is the outcome? Everyone is killed
Scene iii
Why does Malcolm tell Macduff that when he, Malcolm, become king, “black Macbeth/Will seem as pure as snow”? Because he is paranoid and just needs to test Macduff’s loyalty to his country
How does Macduff convince Malcolm he can be trusted? He tells him that he reminds him of his mom and dad and that he feels sorrow for his country
What information does Ross have for Macduff? His family was murdered
What help has the English offered Malcolm and Macduff? Siward and 20,000 men
Act V scene i
Why has the doctored been called to Dunsinane? So that he can treat Lady Macbeth
What motion does Lady Macbeth make continuously? She keeps washing her hands
In your own words, what is the doctor’s evaluation of Lady Macbeth’s problem? She needs divine help
Scene ii
Who are Meredith, Caithness, and Angus? Noble men
Why is it significant that Macbeth is now referred to as a tyrant? Does he have the support of those he commands? He was only concerned about his throne and he killed anyone that was a threat to him. He was loved and had supported by everyone, but now everyone fears him.
What does the clothing imagery mean (“Now does he feel his title/ hang loose about him…”)? His role is too big for him
Scene iii
What reports does the servant bring Macbeth, or try to? Army of 10,000 soldiers is coming
Why does Macbeth make light of the servant’s reports? Because of the second prophecy
Will Macbeth be happy as long as he holds on to his title? No, he gave up what made him happy
Macbeth wishes the doctor could somehow remove from Lady Macbeth’s (and perhaps his own) memory the knowledge of their deeds. Have you ever felt like that? IDK
What does the doctor wish? That his medicine would work on Lady Macbeth
Scene iv
Why does Malcolm tell the soldiers to cut boughs form the trees in Birnam Woods? To cover their numbers
Scene v
What happens at the beginning of this scene? Lady Macbeth dies
How does Macbeth react? He doesn’t really care and said it would’ve happened anyways
Paraphrase Macbeth’s soliloquy following the announcement of his wife’s death? He already gave everything up by becoming king and now that she has died life has no meaning to him
What message is delivered to Macbeth? The armies are getting near the castle
Scenes vi,vii
What are the attitudes of Siward and Macduff as they prepare to fight? Both want to kill Macbeth
Why is Macbeth unafraid of young Siward? He is woman born
What spurs Macduff on with such determination? Macbeth killed his family
Scene viii
Explain the line, “Of all men else I have avoided feel!” He is avoiding to kill Macduff since he already killed all his family
What surprise does Macbeth learn form Macduff? He isn’t woman born
Does Macbeth give up when he realises he has been tricked by the witches? No, he fights
What “prize” does Macduff bring to Malcolm? Who will now be King of Scotland? Macbeth’s head and now Malcolm will be King of Scotland

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