Origins of Elizabethan Theater, The Great Chain of Being, and Acts I and II of Macbeth

What is a “fatal flaw”, and from which tradition did Elizabethan tragedy adopt the concept? A “fatal flaw” is a theory from Aristotle, where a man high in life is brought to a tragic end because he has a “flaw” of some type of anger or pride. This came from the classical influence from Greece and Rome.
What is “Dame Fortune”, and from what tradition did Elizabethan tragedy inherit the concept? “Dame Fortune” or fate, is often pictures as a “wheel of fortune” that carried a man to a high station in life, and then brought him down to a tragic end. This came from the Domestic Tradition.
What does uxorious mean? Having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one’s wife.
Does uxorious behavior violate the order of the Great Chain of Being? Explain Yes, because according to the various orders of man, the husband is supposed to be the head. If the wife is over the husband the natural order is messed with.
In what way does each “segment” or link of the Great Chain of Being resemble other links and resemble the over-all structuring principle of the Great Chain? The parts of creation are ranking hierarchically from top to bottom, with God at the top and descending by order of perfection. Each segment of chain has its own hierarchy (in “man” the highest being the pope”. Within orders of man, social institutions have their own order. In family husband is the head. All parts of creation are connected. If something is out of place, other parts are disturbed.
What does equivocate mean? Use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself.
When, in Act I, King Duncan commands the Thane of Cawdor be executed for treason, he declares, “No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive” me; why does this turn out to be an ironical claim? Macbeth becomes the Thane of Cawdor after, and does in fact deceive King Duncan by killing him.
What is a soliloquy? Speech that a character makes while alone on stage, to reveal his/her thoughts to the audience.
What kind of information is given in a soliloquy? Information about what the character feels and reveals his/her thoughts.
What should we infer the “suggestion” is whose “horrid image” so frighten Macbeth, now that we know Macbeth better? Macbeth contemplates: aid from supernatural cannot be bad if it gives him something good. However, it cannot be good if it causes him to yield against suggestion. We can infer the suggestion is taking the actions to become King, and the horrid image of having to kill in order to take the throne. Macbeth struggles with his subconscious and ambition, along with his morals of right from wrong.
What is Banquo’s warning to Macbeth concerning what the Weird Sisters have professed for them? Banquo tells Macbeth to be careful because these were obvious instruments of evil. The Devil only wants the soul, and will do whatever is necessary to get it.
What did the Weird Sisters prophesize for Banquo? The foretell that Banquo will have Kings for sons, but will not be King
Macbeth says to himself that chance might make him king, and that therefore he would not have to do anything but wait for chance to do it. What happens, however, that Macbeth says will either make him fall or he must “leap over” to be king? Duncan makes his son, Malcolm, (Prince of Cumberlain) his heir to the throne. Macbeth begins thinking bad thoughts and acknowledges his want for the throne.
What does Lady Macbeth mean when she says that her husband “lacks the illness” he needs to “catch the nearest way” to the throne? She feels her husband is too good to be king by committing murder to get to the throne. The unwillingness is an illness.
What does Lady Macbeth imply when she says “The raven himself is hoarse/the croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan/Under my battlements”? She implies the death of King Duncan. Duncan will com in alive, but will not leave alive because they are going to kill him.
What are Macbeth’s first spoken words to Lady Macbeth, and why are they significant? “My Love” which expresses his relationship with his wife. He loves her.
In Macbeth’s soliloquy beginning in scene 7, he lists several reasons why he should no assassinate Duncan; what are two of them? Macbeth was Duncan’s kinsman, and he was Duncan’s host
In the same soliloquy, what is the only reason that Macbeth himself can come up for killing Duncan? His vaulting ambition was the only thing motivating him to kill the king. Pride is the root of ambition.
After telling his wife that they “will proceed no more in this business” why does Macbeth commit himself to killing his king – what becomes his motivation? Lady Macbeth questions his manhood and also suggests that his love to her relates to him taking back his word.
How does Macbeth learn that Banquo would not be a person who would participate in treachery against King Duncan? Macbeth searches Banquo’s feelings by telling him that if he became king, he would give banquet honors if he supported him. Banquo agrees as long as he doesn’t have to do anything wrong. Banquo is an honest man.
What is the “fatal vision” that appears before Macbeth? Macbeth begins seeing a dagger in his hand pointing toward Duncan.
In what two senses are we to read “fatal vision”? Dagger that can kill, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s vision of being king/queen
What happens that Macbeth says is a summons either to heaven or to hell for Duncan? The bell rings.
How does Lady Macbeth get Duncan’s bodyguards out of the way for Macbeth to do the evil deed? Lady Macbeth gets the bodyguards drunk.
Why could Lady Macbeth not kill Duncan herself? Because Duncan resembled her father.
When the bodyguards (‘groomsmen’) said their prayers, what word is Macbeth unable to say? Macbeth is unable to say “amen”. Shows he has gone to the dark side.
Who says, “A little water washes us of this deed” and what is meant by this? Lady Macbeth says this. She believes that washing your hands with a little water will make them “deed” free.
Explain how Macbeth differs from lady Macbeth in the way they react to each other after Duncan’s murder: Lady Macbeth feels that the murder is no big deal. Macbeth, although he is used to killing, is very shone from killing for the wrong reasons.
When the two bloody chamberlains, who had been standing guard outside Duncan’s door, are questioned after Duncan has been murdered, what do they reveal about the events of that night? The two chamberlains were not questioned, because they had been killed and the bloody daggers had been placed by their bodies.
The “porter” scene of Act II not only provides comic relief but also deals explicitly with important themes of the play. What is the theme that the porter comically reinforces that alludes to the execution of a traitor? Explain. The corrupting powers of unchecked ambition is reinforced, and the Porter is pretending to be tending the door to Hell. The farmer expects plenty, the equivocator lies under oath, and the tailor skimps on his duties.
How does Shakespeare use nature imagery on the night of Duncan’s murder to express the violation of the Great Chain of Being? Everything that night was very unnatural. The nature was disturbed because the natural order was disturbed as associated with the Great Chain of Being. The King was killed by one of his thanes.
What happens to Malcolm and Donalbain? Malcolm and Donalbain decide to flee the court. Malcolm will go to England, and Donalbain will go to Ireland.
Aside Remark that a character makes in an undertone to the audience or another character – that others on stage not supposed to hear
Monologue Spoken at length on stage by an actor in a play, movie, theatrical program.
Dialogue Spoken by characters – labeled to show who is speaking
Blank Verse Unrhymed iambic pentameter, meter in which the normal line contains 5 stressed syllables. Each preceded by an unstressed syllable.
What is the weather like when the 3 witches meet? Relate to the Great Chain of Being. They meet in thunder, lightning, and rain. In relation to the Great Chain of Being, the witches are evil, disturbances, and not part of natural order.
In Scene 2, Lines 9 to 15, why do the “multiplying villanies of nature” swarm to rebel Macdonwald? Relate to the Great Chain of Being. Macdonwald goes against King Duncan. The evils of nature swarm Macdonwald. In relation to the Great Chain of Being, this is un-natural.
On whom does “fortune” show “like a rebel’s *****”? From which stage tradition does the concept of “fortune” come from? Damned Fortune is unfaithful. Stage tradition and “fortune” concept comes from Domestic Tradition.
What has Macbeth done that pleases King Duncan? Macbeth cut the head off of Macdonwald (Duncan’s enemy)
As a result of Macbeth’s actions, what does Duncan do to honor and reward him? Macbeth is named the new Thane of Cawdor
What confuses Banquo in the appearance of the witches? The witches look like women but they have beards. The beards show the witches are abnormal in their position.
What do the witches say to Macbeth that is seemingly untrue? They introduce him as Thane of Glamis (true), Thane of Cawdor (false), and King hereafter
What do the messengers from the king tell Macbeth that provokes Banquo to say, “what can the devil speak true?” The witches were right in their first prediction of Macbeth
What are the implications when Macbeth says “if chance will have me king, why chance may crown, without my stir.” He will not do anything if fate/chance will end up making him king
What does Lady Macbeth tell Macbeth she would do if she ever swore to Macbeth to do it? She will dash the brains out of the baby.
Why does Macbeth say “false face must hide what the false heart doth know”? What does he mean? He and Lady Macbeth will return to the banquet and deceive everyone. Hiding their evil intent with gracious faces.
In the aside beginning on line 48, what does Macbeth say about the “Prince of Cumberland”? What does Macbeth say that indicates that he is thinking of treason? Macbeth begins thinking bad thoughts – and acknowledges his want for the throne
How does Lady Macbeth learn of what the three witches told Macbeth? A letter from Macbeth
Why does Lady Macbeth instruct her husband, “Your face, my Thane, is as a book where man/May read strange matters. To beguile the time/Look like the time…./But be the serpent under it”? What does it seem that she intends them to do that night? She states you can read his facial emotions like a book. They need to be good hosts and hide their evil intentions.
How does Duncan describe the general appearance of the exterior of Inverness castle? In a pleasant location that is ascetically appealing.
Who says “A heavy summons lies like lead upon me/And yet I could not sleep”? Banquo
The passage continues: “merciful powers/Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature/Gives way to in repose!” Repose means sleep. With Elizabethan psychology in mind, with its hierarchy of mental faculties, why should “cursed thoughts” be able to rise during sleep? The desire for blood and the supernatural in nature
What had Macbeth thought he heard after he murdered Duncan? A voice cry out “sleep no more/Macbeth does murder sleep”
Macbeth replies to his wife, “To know my deed, ‘there best not know myself”. What does he mean by this? He knows he is now stained, and wishes he not be known as he realizes how bad his deed is.
What does the Porter say is the “equivocator” with lechery and why is it so? Alcohol because it inclines one to be lustful but takes away the ability to have sex.
What does Lennox mean when he says “My young remembrance cannot parallel/A fellow to it”? He is too young to remember anything like it.
Who is, or was, “The Lord’s anointed temple”? The King
In what way can lines 83 to 88 be read with a double meaning? Macbeth speaks the truth when he talks, however, he is play acting.
What did Macbeth do to the two chamberlains outside Duncan’s door? He killed them “out of rage”
What did Ross see Duncan’s horses do? Turned wild in nature and ate one another
Who does Macduff say suspected of being behind Duncan’s murder, and why are they suspected? Is this a case of mistaken assumption. Malcolm and Donalbain because they fled. Yes.

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