Macbeth Study Guide Act I-III

Who do the witches want to meet in Act 1, Scene 1? Based on this scene alone, do you trust them? The three witches want to meet with Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 1 and I would not trust them.
What information does the Sergeant inform King Duncan? How does Macbeth behave in battle? The Sergeant informs King Duncan that they won the fight. Macbeth was laughing as he was chopping his way through to Macdonwald.
What has the thane of Cawdor done in this battle? What will happen to him? Who will receive his title? The thane of Cawdor betrayed his country in the battle and will be sentenced to death. Macbeth will receive his title.
Describe what the witches look like based on Banquo’s description (do not rely on the movie’s perspective). They are so withered-looking and crazily dressed. They don’t look like they belong on this planet. Knows they’re women but can’t tell with their beards.
What do the witches tell Macbeth and Banquo? Macbeth – The witches greet him with three titles which is Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King Hereafter.Banquo – That he would be the father of kings, but not king himself
What does Ross tell Macbeth, and how does Macbeth react or respond? Why? Ross tells Macbeth that he now holds the title of the Thane of Cawdor.
How does Banquo react to the witches’ prediction? How does this reaction indirectly characterize him? What does he advise Macbeth about “instruments of darkness”? Banquo is surprised that the witches have predicted Macbeth’s new title. This reaction characterizes him by becoming cautious. He advises Macbeth about “instruments of darkness” by saying they often tell of good things that may happen without telling the bad consequences.
Why does Shakespeare include information about what the former thane of Cawdor has committed and the consequences of those actions? What may this information foreshadow? What is King Duncan’s reply? Shakespeare includes information about what the former thane of Cawdor has committed and the consequences of those actions because he will commit a horrific act of treason too. With the execution of the Thane of Cawdor, a title Macbeth is given by King Duncan for his bravery on the battlefield, foreshadows Macbeth’s own death later in the play. King Duncan’s reply is that you can’t tell what is in a person’s heart by looking at his face.
Macbeth says, “Stars, hide your fires. Let not light see my black and deep desires.” What does Macbeth desire? Macbeth now desires to become king, but in order to make his desires come true he realizes that something will have to be done with the present king and his sons.
What is Lady Macbeth’s opinion of her husband? Why? How and why does she want to help him? Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth would be a good king but thinks he’s weak. She will help him by convincing him to get to where he wants.
What does Lady Macbeth’s pray to the spirits for, and how does this monologue indirectly characterize her? Lady Macbeth prays to the spirits to be filled with cruelty and given a hard heart so she can do what has to be done in order to make Macbeth king.
What strategy does Lady Macbeth give Macbeth? Lady Macbeth tells MacBeth to not be a coward and to be a man and go get what he wants.
What specific reasons does Macbeth list for why he shouldn’t kill King Duncan? Duncan is a good king and a honorable man. He doesn’t deserve to be killed because he has done no evil, is a popular king, and his death would bring sorrow upon Scotland.
How does Lady Macbeth successfully convince Macbeth to her plan? What does she insult or question? Lady Macbeth calls Macbeth a coward and questions his manhood. She says”When you durst do it,”and, “then you’ll be a man.”
What is Lady Macbeth’s plan? What are the good and bad aspects about it? Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth her plan by saying she will drug the King’s guards and then Macbeth will then go into the king’s room and murder him in his sleep.
What does Banquo say to Macbeth about the witches’ prophecy? What is Macbeth’s reaction? Banquo says that the witches are evil creatures and doesn’t believe them at all. Macbeth is fascinated by the witches prophecies.
What does Macbeth see at the end of Act 2, Scene 1? What does Macbeth mean when he refers to it as “a dagger of the mind” (2.1.50)? Macbeth hallucinates the dagger he sees just as he is about to make his way to Duncan’s chamber. He calls the hallucination a “dagger of the mind.” His mind is overwrought, and he seems to feel conflicted about the deed he’s about to do. Macbeth’s state of mind is anxious and troubled.
At the beginning of Scene 2, why does Lady Macbeth say that she can’t kill King Duncan? How do you interpret this quotation? For example, does this revelation make her more villainous or cowardly? Lady Macbeth says that she can’t kill King Duncan because he looked like her father sleeping there. This revelation makes her villainess and cowardly.
When Macbeth returns from the murder, what does he say that he heard from the guards? Why can’t Macbeth say “Amen” after he returns from killing King Duncan? What is Lady Macbeth’s response to this? Lady MacBeth tells Macbeth to not think about it too much or it will make them crazy.
What does Macbeth mean when he says he hears someone say, “Macbeth does murder sleep”? He feels as if he will never sleep again because he has killed Duncan.
In the porter’s soliloquy in 2.3, the porter pretends to be the porter of hell’s gate. Why is this reference to hell appropriate given what has happened at Inverness? This reference to hell is appropriate given what has happened at Inverness by implying that bad things happen there and that Macbeth is the ruler of hell. It also implies that Macbeth’s rule will turn Scotland into a hell.
The porter’s monologue and his conversation with Macduff is supposed to act as comic relief even though the revelation of Duncan’s murder is about to be apparent. Do you find his monologue or him to be funny? Why or why not? After the building tension of the murder and its aftermath, it gives us a humorous chance to breathe before the tension starts to build again so yes I think it’s funny.
Historically, Macbeth could not have been performed using elaborate lighting designs that we enjoy in tech-friendly theatre today, so settings had to be described through language. How does Lennox describe the night? Lennox described a violent storm that had occurred earlier the night of Duncan’s murder. Many unnatural things happened.
Macbeth uses various metaphors and euphemisms (inoffensive or indirect expressions) for Duncan’s murder. List at least one and explain why Macbeth does not directly say the word “murder.” Lady Macbeth says,”he that’s coming must be provided for and you shall put this night’s great business into my dispatch.” This is an example of euphemism. I think Macbeth doesn’t directly say the word “murder” because deep down inside he feels bad for committing the crime.
To Lady Macbeth, Macduff says, “Oh, gentle lady, ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak. The repetition in a woman’s ear, Would murder as it fell.” What is ironic about Macduff’s statement? Macduff’s statement is ironic because Lady Macbeth was part of King Duncan’s killing; and Macduff just discovered that the King has been killed.
What story does Macbeth give for why he killed King Duncan’s guards? Why did he really kill them? Macbeth claims that he killed King Duncan’s guards because he suspected them of killing Duncan. He says that they were covered in Duncan’s blood. He really killed the guards because of an act of revenge.
When Malcolm and Donalbain hear of their father’s murder, they flee. Where does each brother go? Why is this both a wise and foolish decision? Malcolm and Donalbain decide to go their separate ways. Malcolm flees to England and Donalbain escapes to Ireland. It’s wise because doing this will guarantee that the murderer will have a hard time tracing them since they’ll both be in separate countries. It’s also foolish at the same time because they are running instead of fighting.
Does Ross believe that Malcolm and Donalbain are to blame for King Duncan’s death? Why or why not? Ross doesn’t believe that it’s Malcolm and Donalbain’s fault for their father’s death because it is against their nature, both their personal natures and nature as the ruling force in the universe.
What does Banquo think about Macbeth’s ascension to the throne as the king of Scotland? Banquo knows that Macbeth has as good as asked him to join him in a assassination plot.
How does Banquo feel about his prediction now that he sees that the witches’ predictions for Macbeth have now come true? Banquo believes fully in the prophecies and hopes that the witches prophecy about Banquo’s offspring ascending to the throne will come true as well.
What qualities does Macbeth say that Banquo has that make him someone to be feared? Do you agree or disagree with Banquo? Why? Banquo heard the witches prophecies and that his descendants will be king.
Who does Macbeth want to kill next and why? Macbeth wants to kill Fleance and Banquo because he knows they suspect him of foul play, and he is furious that he has done all of the work of becoming king, and Banquo’s descendants will benefit from it.
How does Macbeth plan to kill his next victims? Who will assist him and how is he able to convince them to do what he desires? Macbeth lies and tells them that Banquo was responsible for their ruination and downfall. He does this so they have a personal interest in killing Banquo and to try to get them to agree to kill Banquo. He also attacks their masculinity by calling them too gospeled. He says they are in it together.
Paraphrase in your own words what Lady Macbeth says in 3.2.4-7. I think Lady Macbeth is saying that they have gained nothing by killing Duncan. Even though they got what they wanted, it wasn’t worth it because they are still not truly happy. Lady Macbeth seems to be regretting her decision from killing Duncan.
How has the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth changed? Why? Lady Macbeth was the manipulative and persuasive one at first and Macbeth was the anxious one. Then after planning to murder Duncan together it brought them close together, but the consequences drove them apart. Macbeth became the evil one and Lady Macbeth became the unstable one.
Why doesn’t Macbeth tell Lady Macbeth his plans? Macbeth doesn’t tell Lady Macbeth that he is killing Fleance and Banquo because she has already shown signs of breaking of the guilty secret of Duncan’s murder.
What happens when the murderers attack their victims? When the three murderers attack Fleance and Banquo, they attack Banquo first who has a torch and shouts at his son to tell him to run. The torch goes out and Banquo dies from his wounds. Luckily Fleance escapes alive.
Note that when the murderers return to inform Macbeth of what has happened, Macbeth never uses the word “murder.” What other metaphors does Macbeth state instead of “murder” and why? Macbeth was in shock when the murderers return to inform him that Fleance had gotten away.
Macbeth says, “The worm that’s fled / Hath nature that in time will venom breed, / No teeth for the present” (3.4.30-32). Explain this metaphor. Who is Macbeth referring to and why? Macbeth is referring to Fleance because he will be a problem in the future, since he will have children who will become kings, but for now Macbeth can let him go and deal with other things because Fleance is of no immediate threat to him personally.
Who or what does Macbeth see at the banquet table? What Lady Macbeth say to their guests about Macbeth’s behavior? Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost at the banquet table. Lady Macbeth tells the guests that Macbeth often has these fits, that those who know him well have learned to ignore them. When Macbeth really gets out of hand, she sends the guests home.
Besides Banquo, who is missing from the Macbeths’ banquet? How does Macbeth hear some of “the rumors”? Macduff is missing from the banquet.
What are Lennox’s thoughts about Macbeth, Fleance, and Duncan’s sons? Why? Lennox thinks Macbeth is the “good guy,” Fleance killed Banquo, and Duncan’s sons killed the king.
How has Macduff disgraced Macbeth? What do you predict Macbeth will do in response to his action in Act 4? Macduff has disgraced Macbeth by not showing up to the banquet that he invited him to.
‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.’ Macbeth – Banquo
‘Look like the innocent flower,But be the serpent under’t.’ Lady Macbeth – Macbeth
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.” Macbeth
Confusion now hath made his masterpiece. Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope the Lord’s anointed temple and stole thence the life o’ th’ building. (Act 2 Scene 3) Macduff
“.and I fear thou play’dst most folly for it.” Banquo
“You lack the season of all natures, sleep.” Lady Macbeth

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