Macbeth Study Guide

Act I Act I
Why is Scotland at war at the opening of the play? Scotland is at war because Mackdonwald, a rebel, was trying to overthrow Duncan and make a deal with the King of Norway
What three predictions do the witches make for Macbeth? For Banquo? Macbeth: 1) he will become Thane of Glamis 2) he will be Thane of Cawdor 3) he will be King of ScotlandBanquo: his children will become kings
Who is named heir to the Scottish throne? Malcolm since he is King Duncan’s son
What is the “double trust” that makes Macbeth hesitate to kill Duncan? In Macbeth’s first soliloquy, he expresses his doubts about murdering the king. Among the reasons he shouldn’t is his “double bond” as kinsman (countryman) and subject, which should make him oppose the deed he is contemplating
Characterize King Duncan? The good King of Scotland whom Macbeth, in his ambition for the crown, murders. Duncan is the model of a virtuous, benevolent, and farsighted ruler. His death symbolizes the destruction of an order in Scotland that can be restored only when Duncan’s line, in the person of Malcolm, once more occupies the throne.
Characterize Lady Macbeth? What does she ask the spirits to do? What does this mean? *stronger and more ruthless and more ambitious than Macbeth; she’s aware of this and knows she has to push Macbeth to commit murder; at one point, wishes she wasn’t a women so she could do it herself; her husband implies that she is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body, which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence; uses female methods of achieving power, manipulation, to further their male ambitions; women can be as ambitious and cruel as men, yet social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own; manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to her murder, she questions his manhood until he feels he needs to commit the murder to prove himself; remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king (she calms her husband after the crime is committed); however, she begins a slow slide into madness; by the end, she is sleepwalking trying to wash the invisible bloodstain; once guilt comes home to roost, sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope; she kills herself, signaling her total inability to deal with the legacy of their crimes*She asks them to unsex her because she wants to help her husband kill Duncan and do the other things that he needs to do in order to become king. Her request is based on the idea that women, by their nature, are unsuited for doing brutal things like that
What quality in her husband does Lady Macbeth see as a liability? she thinks he is too nice
What are Lady Macbeth’s plans for Duncan’s murder? How will she signify to Macbeth it is time to kill Duncan? She plans to poison the guards at the castle so Macbeth can go kill Duncan with a knife while he is asleep in his room then no one will know who killed Duncan because the guards will be drunk. A bell is used to signify Macbeth
What does Lady Macbeth say she would do in order for Macbeth to become king? She would nag him until he’s ashamed of himself for being afraid; she would ask the spirits to unsex her so she could murder the king herself
Act II Act II
What is the name of Banquo’s son? Fleance
Characterize Banquo? How is he a foil character to Macbeth? The brave, noble general whose children, according to the witches’ prophecy, will inherit the Scottish throne. Like Macbeth, Banquo thinks ambitious thoughts, but he does not translate those thoughts into action. In a sense, Banquo’s character stands as a rebuke to Macbeth, since he represents the path Macbeth chose not to take: a path in which ambition need not lead to betrayal and murder. Appropriately, then it is Banquo’s ghost (not Duncan’s) that haunts Macbeth. In addition to embodying Macbeth’s guilt for killing Banquo, the ghost also reminds Macbeth that he did not emulate Banquo’s reaction to the witches prophecy
What does Banquo say at the beginning of act to let audience know he is suspicious of Macbeth? “Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, / As the weird women promised, and I fear / Thou pay’dst most foully fort.”
What does Macbeth forget to leave behind when leaving Duncan’s chamber? the daggers
Who seems the stronger character at the end of Scene 2 – Macbeth or Lady Macbeth? Macbeth
What happens to the sleeping grooms? When Macduff announces the king has been murdered, Macbeth says he saw the body of Duncan and became so angry that he killed the guards. He blames the guards for the murder of the king and says they had blood all over them and the daggers in their hands
Where does the porter imagine he is? What function does this scene serve? He imagines he is in hell. This scene his meant to be humorous, comic relief scene
Name the strange event that the characters see as evil omens? *night or darkness in the daytime*an owl has killed a mighty falcon*Duncan’s horses broke out of their stalls and killed and ate each other*the weather is violent, blowing and swirling and destroying homes*nature is out of sync because of Duncan’s murder. the balance between good and evil has been tipped in favor of evil with Macbeth’s heinous crime against a divinely appointed king
Who first discovers Duncan’s murder? What literary device is being used here? Macduff. allusion
What crimes does Macbeth publicly confess? killing the guards
Where do Malcolm and Donalbain say they will go? Why? Malcolm flees to England and Donalbain flees to Ireland because they believe they will be killed next
Who accompanies Banquo at the opening of this act? His son, Fleance
What reason does Lady Macbeth give for not committing the murder? Because Duncan looks exactly liker her father
Why does Lady Macbeth return to the King’s bedchamber? Because Macbeth left with the daggers and forgot to plant the guards so she had to do it
What causes Macbeth and his wife to hurry back to their own chamber? Because they hear knocking
How does Macbeth respond to his murder of King Duncan? He feels very guilty and has to be calmed down by his wife
Why have Macduff and Lennox come to Inverness? to call upon the king and arrange for his departure
To what does Macbeth invite Banquo? to a feast
Who is going to accompany Banquo when he rides forth? Fleance
Does Macbeth consult his wife about his plans to murder Banquo? No
What part of Macbeth’s plan is not carried out? The murderers fail to kill Fleance
What ghost does Macbeth imagine he sees? Banquo’s ghost
Who does Macbeth publicly blame for Duncan’s murder? the guards
Why does Macbeth want Banquo dead? because the the witches prophesied that Banquo’s descendants will be kings and he wants to eliminate anything that threatens his throne
What emotions does the ghost arouse in Macbeth? fear and shock
How many times does the ghost of Banquo appear at the banquet? three
Which Scottish noble refuses to attend the feast at the palace? Macduff
How does Lady Macbeth explain her husband’s strange behavior to their guests? How is this behavior consistent with Lady Macbeth’s previous behaviors? she says that his strange behavior is the result of an illness which has plagued him since youth. She quickly covers for him just like she did when Duncan was looking for Macbeth
Who is Hecate, and why is she angry? the goddess of witchcraft. she scolds them for meddling in the business of Macbeth without consulting her
What does Macbeth hope to learn for the weird sisters? more about the future and about who may be plotting against him
Why has Macduff left for England? to join Malcolm in pleading with England’s King Edward for aid
Act IV Act IV
How many apparitions are there? What does Macbeth learn from each? there are three apparitions1) an armed head to warn Macbeth that Macduff is coming back to Scotland to ruin him2) a bloody child tells Macbeth that no man born of a woman can do him harm3) a child wearing a crown and holding a tree telling Macbeth that he will not be vanquished until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill
What happens to the members of Macduff’s household? they are killed by murdered hired by Macbeth
What does Macbeth learn about “Banquo’s issue”? that eight kings will be descendants of Banquo
What crime is Macduff accused of by Macbeth? a traitor
Why does Macduff blame himself for the death of his wife and children? because he left his wife and children behind when he fled to England to aid Malcolm
How do the witches reveal to Macbeth that Banquo’s descendants will be kings? a procession of eight crowned kings walk by, the last carrying a mirror. Banquo’s ghost walks at the end of the line
What is Lady Macduff’s reaction to her husband’s flight? she feels betrayed and tells her son that his father is dead
Why does Malcolm paint a black picture of his character to Macduff? Because he does not trust Macduff so he tells Macduff how he is not fit to be king until Macduff gives in and says that he isn’t fit to be king and he would ruin Scotland proving that Macduff cares more about the country then power
Act V Act V
What two people observe Lady Macbeth sleepwalking? the gentlewoman and the doctor
What does Lady Macbeth carry as she walks in her sleep? a candle
In what manner does the English army move toward the castle? with a camouflage of branches from Birnam Wood
Who kills Macbeth? Macduff
Who becomes the king of Scotland? Malcolm
What gesture does Lady Macbeth make as she sleepwalks? she rubs her hands as if to wash them
What is the doctor’s response to his patient’s behavior? What does he advise the gentlewoman to do? How does he later respond to Macbeth? He concludes that she needs a priest’s help. He advises the gentlewoman not to reveal what they have seen or heard. The doctor tells Macbeth that she is not sick but troubled with visions and that she must cure herself of these visions
How does Lady Macbeth die? How does Macbeth respond? She kills herself. He is shocked, but remains very calm
What does Macbeth tell Macduff when Macduff prepares to attack him? That he cannot be killed by a man born of woman
What information does Macduff reveal that makes clear the witches’ prophecy that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”? Macduff reveals that he was ripped from his mother’s womb so he wasn’t born of woman
Which murders does Lady Macbeth allude to in the sleepwalking scene? Duncan, Banquo, and Lady Macbeth
How does Malcolm bring Birnam Wood to Dunsinane? He orders each soldier to cut a branch and carry it in front of him as camouflage
How do Macbeth’s followers react to the arrival of the English army?
Why does Macbeth refuse to yield?
How does Malcolm rewards his thanes?
Who is Seyton? Siward? Young Siward? What happens to Young Siward?
Dramatic Irony