What is the setting of Macbeth? – 11th century, Scotland- Limited scenery in Elizabethan drama (Shakespeare uses characters to describe it with imagery)
What is the atmosphere of Macbeth? – One of doom, little in the play regarding light heartedness
Where did Shakespeare derive the plot for Macbeth? – 11th century Scottish history in Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England (some say Shakespeare plagiarized)
What is a tragic hero? – person of high rank and personal quality but bc of a tragic flaw (fatal weakness), the tragic hero is led to their eventual downfall/deise/destruction
What is Macbeth’s tragic flaw? Ambition (it drives him to commit a series of horrendous acts)
Difference between external conflict and internal conflict – External conflict: character struggles against another person/outside force (Ex: Macbeth and Macduff)- Internal conflict: struggles within the mind of a character
blank verse – unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter- creates effect of smooth, natural speech more effectively than most other metrical patterns
prose written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure (paragraph form)
aside only the audience can hear even though other characters are there
purpose of paradoxes in Macbeth – bc they are surprising/shocking, they draw reader’s attention to what is being said
Summarize Act I, scene i. SETTING: Thunder and lightning (dark and gloomy play)- written in couplet- 3 witches: archetypal elements— SUPERNATURAL- Purpose of witches: set the atmosphere for the play- “Fair is foul and foul is fair”— paradox, informs you that the witches aren’t straightforward- Three witches (a.k.a. the “weird sisters”) meet on a foggy heath (an open plain) in Scotland, amidst thunder and lightening. It’s all very dramatic and mysterious.- They discuss when they’ll meet again, and decide to hook up “When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.” The implication is that they’ve been up to something really naughty. Brain snack: Even though the play’s speech headings and stage directions refer to these three lovely ladies as “witches,” the term “witch” only shows up once in the play. – The sisters are, however, called “weird” six times, but not “weird” like kooky and strange; they’re “weird” like “wyrd,” an Old English term meaning “fate.” Spooky.- They let the audience in on their plan to meet some dude named Macbeth. Title alert! The witches then call out to Graymalkin and Paddock, the witches’ “familiars,” or spirits (usually animals like cats) that serve the witches. – All three witches then chant, “Fair is foul and foul is fair” before going back about their supernatural business.
Summarize Act 1, scene ii. SETTING: A camp near Forres, a town in northeast Scotland – captain comes in bleeding, recounts how brave Macbeth (traits of tragic hero) and Banquo were in a battle against Norway- Thane of Cawdor executed for being a traitor- King decides that the title of Thane of Cawdor will be given to Macbeth (foreshadow), but Macbeth doesn’t know this yet- Reality vs expectations: don’t judge by looks/can’t know true people (King Duncan said this upon learning of Thane of Cawdor)- Duncan (the King of Scotland), his two sons (Malcolm and Donalbain), and Lennox (a Scottish nobleman) hang out with their attendants at a military camp in Scotland.- King Duncan’s forces have been busy fighting against the King of Norway and the traitor, Macdonwald.- A wounded Captain arrives, fresh from the field, where he fought to help Duncan’s son, Malcolm, escape capture. What’s the news?- Well, says the Captain, the battle was going south fast until brave Macbeth fought through the “swarm” of enemy soldiers and disemboweled the traitorous Macdonwald.- There’s some gab about Macbeth’s great courage in the face of seemingly impossible adversity and the Captain continues his story: after Macbeth spilled Macdonwald’s guts all over the ground, the battle flared up again when the “Norwegian Lord” brought new men to the field, but even this didn’t daunt Macbeth and Banquo, who just redoubled their efforts.- Oh, but could someone get the Captain a surgeon? He’s kind of bleeding all over the place.- The Thane of Ross arrives from another battle, where Macbeth was also kicking serious butt. Sweno, Norway’s king, is not allowed to bury his men until he hands over ten thousand dollars to the Scots.- Duncan then proclaims the traitorous Thane of Cawdor will be executed, and Macbeth, responsible for the victory, shall have his title.- Ross is sent to announce the news to Macbeth.
What does the Captain tell King Duncan about Macbeth’s battlefield deeds? What does the King learn from Ross about the Thane of Cawdor’s activities? what reward for victory does Macbeth receive almost immediately from the King? – Macbeth was very brave and fought successfully against Norwegians (indirect characterization of Macbeth)- King learns from Ross that Thane of Cawdor was a traitor and fought for Norwegians- Macbeth is rewarded by being crowned the Thane of Cawdor
Summarize Act 1, scene iii. – witches meet Macbeth and Banquo- characterization of the witches (vengeful and vindictive): a sailors wife had chestnuts and wouldn’t give any to a witch, so the witches are going to curse him (he won’t be able to sleep, he’ll waste away but they can’t kill him— LIMITATION OF WITCHES)- supernatural – They hail Macbeth as: Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, King- Banquo is predicted to be: will have Kings, lesser but greater than Macbeth(paradox), not so happy but happier (foreshadow)- Banquo warns Macbeth not to trust these witches (foreshadow)- Ross and Angus arrive, Macbeth is given the title of Thane of Cawdor and starts to think that the only thing next is King: Are witches evil bc they were right about Thane of Cawdor (and Glamis) but they are causing evil thoughts in my mind- Right away he’s thinking about killing the king bc of his ambition- Decides that if chance will have him King, he’ll be King (he’s leaving it up to fate)- The three witches meet again on the heath and check in about what everyone’s been up to. Oh, the usual witchy stuff: one was killing swine; another has been making some poor sailor’s life miserable.- Her sisters are going to help her by depriving him of sleep and by “drain[ing] him dry as hay,” which means the sailor’s going to have some serious gastro-intestinal problems and/or that he’s going to be unable to father children.- Witch #1 also came back with a pilot’s thumb, a convenient rhyme for “Macbeth doth come,” heralded by “a drum.”- Hearing Macbeth’s approach, the witches dance around in a circle to “wind up” a “charm.”- Macbeth and Banquo show up, and Macbeth delivers his first line: “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” Hmm. Where have we heard that line before?- Banquo notices the witches (they’re kind of hard to miss) and speaks to them, using some variety of “You’re not from here, are you?”- The witches put their fingers to their lips, but that does not deter the perceptive Banquo from noticing their beards.- Macbeth tells them to speak, and they hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and future King. Banquo, who apparently took over the narration for these five lines, mentions that Macbeth is “rapt,” as if he’s in a trance. – Banquo asks if the witches will look into his future too. Sure: he’ll be lesser and greater than Macbeth, and not too happy, but happier than Macbeth. Oh, and he’ll be father to kings, though he will not be a king himself. Great, thanks for clearing that up.- Macbeth says he’s already the Thane of Glamis but it’s hard to imagine becoming Thane of Cawdor, especially because the current Thane of Cawdor is alive.- He demands to know where the witches got their information. The witches don’t respond, but simply vanish into the foggy, filthy air.- Banquo suggests that maybe they’re tripping on some “insane root” but conversation quickly moves on to the big news about their own fates, as promised by the witches. Ross and Angus, two noblemen sent by Duncan (the King), break up the party.- Ross passes on that the King is pleased with Macbeth’s battle successes of the day, and announces that the King would like to see him, and also that Macbeth is the new Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth does some private ruminating.- On the one hand, the sisters’ first prophecy that Macbeth will be named Thane of Cawdor can’t be evil, since it’s true. On the other hand, the witch’s prophecy could be evil, especially since it’s got Macbeth thinking about something naughty. This is where we get the first inkling that Macbeth might be down for a little regicide (fancy word for killing a king).- He says he’s just had a really awful and disgusting thought about “murder” that’s made him feel a little panicky.- While Macbeth is deep in thought, Banquo comments to Ross and Angus that Macbeth seems “rapt,” in a trancelike state.- Macbeth concludes his dramatic musings and says that he’s just going to leave things to “chance.” If “chance” wants him to be king, then he will be.- They hasten to the King, and Macbeth and Banquo agree to talk more about everything later.
What do the three witches predict for Macbeth? For Banquo? – He’s not only Thane of Glamis but he’ll become the Thane of Cawdor and the future king- Banquos’s descendants will be kings, lesser than Macbeth but greater, not happy yet happier
What the theme of Act I? Supernatural
Give examples of Macbeth’s courageous, trustworthy, loyal, and or brave traits in the beginning of the play. – Brave fighting in battles against Norway (indirect characterization)
Act I, scene iv SETTING: Forres, the palace- King Duncan: reality vs expectations- don’t judge by looks (foreshadows Macbeth)- Malcolm is crowned Prince of Cumberland (heir to the throne), there is to be a feast at Macbeth’s castile at Inverness crowning both Malcolm and Macbeth- Macbeth thinks (in an aside)now that Malcolm is another obstacle on his way to becoming King – Macbeth internal conflict: should he let fate take over to become King or does he have to take action? (tells himself hold in evil thoughts and desires)Back to Duncan, who wants to know if the Thane of Cawdor is dead.He is, and he confessed to being a traitor right before he died.Whew. Glad that’s settled.Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus then meet the King. The King is grateful; Macbeth and Banquo pledge their loyalty; group hugs all around.The King announces that his son Malcolm will be named Prince of Cumberland, which is the last stop before being King of Scotland.They’ll all celebrate the good news at Macbeth’s place.Macbeth trots off, thinking (well, saying, since this is a play) that Malcolm is all that stands in the way of his kingship. He’s thinking naughty thoughts again and hopes nobody can tell that he’s got “black and deep desires.”
What happens to the Thane of Cawdor? Why, despite the witches’ predictions, does Macbeth have reason to doubt he will succeed Duncan as king? – executed at King Duncan’s orders- Malcolm is named Prince of Cumberland (heir to throne)
Macbeth and Banquo respond differently to the witches’ predictions. After becoming the Thane of Cawdor, how does Macbeth react to the thought of becoming king? How does Banquo view the witches’ predictions? – Macbeth has ambition: wants to be King immediately – Banquo is cautious of the witches, doubtful, gives warning to Macbeth
Summarize Act 1, Scene v. – Lady Macbeth reads letter (PROSE) from Macbeth (her and her husband have very close relationship and told each other everything)- Says Macbeth is too loyal and kind to follow through with his ambition (too full of the milk of human kindness)- Lady Macbeth wants to unsex herself to be capable of doing evils on King- Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to keep a peaceful poker face so no one will be suspicious, and that King Duncan’s not leaving the castle the next morningLady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth, calling her his “dearest partner of greatness,” and telling her of the witches’ prophecy.Lady Macbeth says she’s worried her husband’s not up for killing the current king in order to fulfill the witches’ prophesy. Macbeth, she says, is “too full o’th’ milk of human kindness” and isn’t quite wicked enough to murder Duncan. (Looks like Lady Macbeth isn’t going to leave anything to “chance.”)Lady Macbeth says she’s going to browbeat her husband into action.When a messenger enters and announces that King Duncan will stay the night at Inverness as a guest of the Macbeths, Lady Macbeth tells us it’ll be King Duncan’s last night on earth.Then Lady Macbeth delivers one of the most interesting and astonishing speeches ever. She calls on spirits to “unsex” her, “make thick [her] blood,” and exchange her breast “milk for gall.” Translation: Lady Macbeth calls on murderous agents to stop her menstrual flow and change her breast milk for poison (undo all the physical features that make her a reproductive woman). Basically, she suggests that being a woman and a mother could prevent her from committing a violent deed.When her husband (the guy who’s “too full o’th’ milk of human kindness”) enters the castle, Lady Macbeth tells him that King Duncan’s spending the night but he won’t be waking up the next morning.
How does Lady Macbeth first learn of the witches’ predictions regarding Macbeth? What in Macbeth’s personality does she fear may thwart his ambition? – Letter from Macbeth (close relationship, share everything)- His kindness
What action does Lady Macbeth plan to take during the King’s visit? How does she intend to accomplish it? How does she advice Macbeth to act in King Duncan’s presence? – plans to murder King Duncan – get 2 guards drunk, murder the king in his sleep, and place suspicion on the guards
Summarize Act 1, Scene vi. – dramatic irony: King Duncan thinks the castle is good/is commenting on how peaceful it is, when the audience and readers know that death awaits himDuncan, his sons, Banquo, and a bevy of noblemen arrive at Glamis Castle (Inverness), complimenting the Lady Macbeth, their “honoured hostess,” for her seeming hospitality.Lady Macbeth is pretty charming here – she says that the Macbeth’s are grateful for the “honours” bestowed on Macbeth by the king and tells the men to make themselves at home.There’s a whole lot of very formal “You’re so gracious.” “No you’re the one who’s so gracious” talk here before Lady Macbeth finally takes the king to see her husband.
What is the irony in the description of the air surrounding Macbeth’s castle? – dramatic irony: the air is not nice and soothing, it’s the opposite: he’s walking into his own murder
Summarize Act 1, Scene vii. – Macbeth’s soliloquy: internal conflict (character vs self)- Reasons why Macbeth is hesitant to kill King Duncan: King trusts me in two ways: kinsman/subject, and host Consequences will follow Duncan is such a great King Duncan never did wrong to Macbeth, Macbeth would be killing him out of pure ambition (foreshadows that it causes disaster) Risks his chances for Heaven- At one point, he almost backed out but Lady Macbeth convinces him to just do it because he already said he will and by questioning his manhoodSomewhere in the castle Macbeth sits alone, contemplating the murder of King Duncan. And it gets a little complicated. See, if it were simply a matter of killing the king and then moving on without consequences, it wouldn’t be a big issue.The problem is what happens afterward —the whole, being damned to hell thing. It’s even worse, because murdering Duncan in Macbeth’s own home would be a serious violation of hospitality. He’s supposed to protect the king, not murder him. Plus, Duncan is a pretty good king (if not a bit “meek”) and heaven is bound to frown upon murdering such a decent fellow.In then end, Macbeth decides that it’s probably not a good idea to commit murder. He has no justifiable cause to kill the king and he admits that he’s merely ambitious.And then Lady Macbeth enters.She gives him a good tongue-lashing, questions his manhood, and lays out the plan to get Duncan’s guards drunk and frame them for the murder.If Macbeth can’t keep his vow, she says, then he isn’t a man.Macbeth is a little turned on by this show of strength, and he finally resolves to go through with the murder.
Why is Macbeth indecisive about killing the King? – struggles with logic vs ambition- King trusts me: kinsman/subject, host
How does Lady Macbeth’s understanding of her husband’s character help her to convince him that the murder plot should be carried out? – questions his manhood, knowing that will set him off
Describe the plan set forth by Lady Macbeth and Macbeth by the end of Act 1. – Get 2 guards drunk so that they wouldn’t see the murder by Macbeth, frame the two guards and bring the suspicion upon them, kill Duncan when he’s asleep
Summarize Act 2, Scene i. SETTING: Inverness- Macbeth talks to Banquo after the party about the witches- Macbeth says: Join my cause when the time comes, Banquo says that he is on Macbeth’s side, but won’t do anything dirty- Introduces theme of sleep: Banquo is tired and can’t sleep bc he’s having nightmares- Macbeth has a vision of a bloody dagger that leads him to King Duncan’s room (STRESS VISION: he’s feeling anxious/guilty even before he commits the murder, doesn’t really want to do it)Banquo and his son, Fleance, are at Macbeth’s inner court at Glamis. They’re both feeling a little twitchy.Macbeth then enters with a servant, and Banquo notes that the new Thane of Cawdor (Macbeth) should be resting peacefully considering the good news he got today.They reminisce about those wacky witches they met the other day, and then everyone leaves Macbeth alone on stage.Just in time, too, because things are about to get read: Macbeth has a vision of a dagger that points him toward the room where Duncan sleeps. The dagger turns bloody and Macbeth says the bloody image is a natural result of his bloody thoughts.A bell rings, which is Lady Macbeth’s signal that it’s time to rock and roll.
Summarize Act 2, Scene ii. – Lady Macbeth drugged two guards, says she would have killed Duncan herself but he looked too much like her father- Macbeth is stricken with guilt, and explains that two people were awake when he killed Duncan. One shouts “Murder!” but then they went back to sleep after saying their prayers- Macbeth thinks he hears a voice say “sleep no more!”- Macbeth forgets to plant the daggers with the guards, so Lady Macbeth says that she will do it herself (he refuses)- Macbeth wants Duncan’s blood off his hands, and says that there is enough blood on his hands to turn the sea red – “Macbeth does murder sleep”- He hears knocking (Macduff), and wishes it could wake Duncan
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