Macbeth Act 5

1. How does Shakespeare seek to create sympathy for Lady Macbeth? She portrays her as vulnerable and mentally unstable. Humans are most vulnerable when we are asleep.
2. Of what importance are the Doctor and the Gentlewoman? Explain. They are the ones who witness Lady Macbeth’s actions while she sleepwalks. They have no prior knowledge of the murders
3. Compare Lady Macbeth’s first appearance in the play with her appearance in this latest scene. In the beginning, she was strong, confident and willing to do whatever it took to secure the throne. Now she is seen as weak and fearful
4. Describe the rituals of Lady Macbeth’s disorder. She is walking in her sleep, reenacting the murder and confessing to all the crimes she and her husband have committed.
5. What is the Doctor’s ‘prescription’? What would a modern doctor prescribe? Explain your choice. He says that only she can heal themselves. Today the patient would have been referred to a mental health professional.
6. Analyze the meaning of Lady Macbeth’s action of washing her hands. What does it symbolize? She is trying to get the blood (and the smell of blood) off of her hands which symbolizes guilt.
How is it ironic? After the murder she says that “a little water clears us of this deed”.
What does the audience learn of Macbeth and his plans? That he is banking on the Witches’ prophesy being true and that extraordinary things have to happen before he can be defeated.
How does scene 2 suggest the growing isolation of Macbeth and the solidarity of the forces that oppose him? Support your answer. This conversation shows the audience how Macbeth’s subjects see him. They only follow his command out of fear of him and love for their country. They hold no loyalty to Macbeth as a man and king.
Macbeth receives news in scene 3. What is the effect of each of the items of news he receives? That his wife’s illness is mental, not physical and the doctor can not help her.
How does Malcolm unwittingly fulfill one of the prophecies? By ordering each of the soldiers to cut branches from the trees to hide behind so Macbeth will not be able to tell how many soldiers there are.
Prove that Macbeth is placing his trust in the second and third prophecies of the Apparitions. In 58-60 he says “Bring it after me. –I will not be afraid of death and bane Till Burnam Forest come to Dunsinane”.
What does Macbeth’s soliloquy in lines 18-28 tell us about his mental state. He now truly understands that life is short and that everything he has said and done will eventually be forgotten. He also regrets that he won’t have the chance to mourn his wife
Macbeth is confident in his battle with Macduff until he learns this about Macduff. That Macduff was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped” In other words, Macduff was born through a cesarean section.
In lines 17-22, Macbeth finally Realizes that the witches were tricking him