The Tragedy of Macbeth

Renaissance Drama Timeline 1485-1642
When are the first five-act plays written? 1553
When is the globe theater built? 1598
WHen does Shakespeare write/perform Macbeth? 1603/1605
Tragedies tell the story of a downfall of a person of high status; celebrates the courage/dignity of a tragic hero in the face of inevitable doom; sometimes made inevitble by a tragic flaw
How many plays are attributed to Shakespeare? 37
Stage directions notes included in a play that describe how something should be performed on stage
Soliloquy character alone on stage, speaking his/her thoughts; allows the author to establish the character’s interior state without the use of common direct commentary by the narrator
Aside character literally turns to the audience and comments on the situation, sometimes with humor
Motif recurring element/pattern
Lightness/Darkness in Macbeth a motif used to contrast innocence & depravity; not wanting to be see by the heavens when doing wrong
Motifs used in Macbeth ambiguitydisturbances in naturemadnessblood”Fair is foul and foul is fair”
What did Shakespeare use as a historical source in writing Macbeth? Raphael Holinshed’s 1587 edition of ‘Chronicles of England, Scotland, & Ireland’
Macbeth elements dark tale of a man’s ambition & treachery; sheer spectacle & suspense; “The end justifies the means”; What would you be willing to do to achieve a goal?
Macbeth characters this tragedy features some of Shakespeare’s darkest characters
Conflict struggle between two forces in a literary work; plot introduces it, develops it, & eventually resolves it
External conflict main character may struggle against another character, the forces of nature, society, or fate
Foil character whose attributes/qualities contrast with & highlight those of another character
Internal conflict main character struggles against some element within him/herself
Who is Duncan? king of Scotland
Who are Duncan’s sons? Malcolm & Donalbain
Who are generals in the king’s army? Macbeth & Banquo
Who are Scottish noblemen? the good MacduffLennoxRosseMentethAngusCathness
Who is Fleance? Banquo’s son
Who is Siward? earl of Northumberland, leader of the English troops
Who is young Siward? Siward’s son
Who is Seyton? Macbeth’s servant
Who is boy? Macduff’s son
What is another word for porter? Gatekeeper
Who sends the three murderers off to kill Banquo? Macbeth
What are the three witches called? the Weïrd sisters
Where is the play set? Scotland & England in 12th century (Anglo-Saxon period)
Flout (v) show scorn/contempt for
Trifle (n) something of little value/importance
Surmise (n) guessing; imagined action; having the power to predict/foreshadow
Recompense (n) repayment; reward
Wanton (adj) undisciplined; unmanageable
Chastise (v) scolt/condemn sharply
Remorse (n) pity/compassion
Pall (v) cloak in darkness
Purveyer (n) one who supplies/provides
Mettle (n) spirit/courage
Which act includes comic relief? Act II Scene ii
Hyperbole deliberate exaggeration made for effect
Comif relief technique used to relieve the seriousness/emotional intensity of a literary work by introducing a humorous character/situation
Augment (v) add to; supplement; make greater; enlarge
Palpable (adj) tangible; capable of being touched or felt
Stealthy (adj) slow, deliberate, secretive; sly; furtive; sneaky
Multitudinous (adj) numerous; infinite; existing in great number
Equivocator (n) one who speaks ambiguously & tells falsehoods
Scruples (n) doubts; qualities
Iambic Pentameter meter in which a line of poetry has five iambic feet, each comprising one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable
Trochaic Pentameter meter in which a line of poetry has four trochaic feet, each comprising one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable; sets the speech apart from the rest of the characters and reinforces their supernatural nature
Verity (n) truth
Jocund (adj) cheerful, merry
Monparell (n) someone unequaled
Malevolence (n) malice; spitefulness; ill will
Allusion reference to a well-known person, event; never explained
Paradox seemingly contradictory statement, idea, or event that actually may be true
Permiclous (adj) causing ruin/death
Homely (adj) simple; unprenentious
Stanchless (adj) unstoppable
Abjure (v) resource
Teem (v) bring forth
Doff (v) take off; remove
Theme central message or perception about life revealed in a literary work
Stated theme presented directly, whereas an implied them must be inferred
Taint (v) infect
Ague (n) fever/chills
Harbinger (n) a person/thing that comes before/hints at what is to follow
Usurper (n) one who assumes power without right
Scone where Scottish kings are crowned
Colmekill where Scottish kings are entombed
Malcolm fled to England
Donalbain fled to Ireland
What three personal questions does Macbeth ask Banquo? What will you be doing today?How long will you be gone?Will you be bringing Fleance with you?
Who does the good McDuff assume killed Duncan? his sons, Donalbain & Malcolm
Sonnet 14 lines of rhyming iambic pentameter; lines 13 & 14 known as heroic couplet
What characters speak without iambic pentameter? the three witches
Who is the head witch? Hectate
Indirect characterization what characters say/do/others say about them
Acts Main Action 1. Introductory material2. Addition of plot elements/Introduction of problems3. Climax & whether resolution will be positive/negative & plot direction4. Effects of the plot5. Resolution
What is Macbeth thane of? Glaimes & becomes the thane of Quawdor by killing Macdonwald, a traitor to the kingdom
How are Macbeth’s predictions given? Clearly/directly
How are Banquo’s predictions given? Deliberately ambiguoushe is indifferent, but asks for entertainment
“Come what may” Whatever happens, happens
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving” His most noble time in life was when he was about to die
“There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face” You must look beyond people’s emotion on their faces
Who is Macdonwald based off of? Loosely based off of someone who acted as a traitor who had given vital information about the placement of the Scottish troops; killed King Duff in actual history
Who is Macbeth similar to in Beowulf? Beowulf”O, valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!”
King Duncan king of Scotland; naive & seeks the best in people
(Act 1) What battle has just been won by Scotland & who is considered the primary hero? Scotland won the battle of Ireland against the traitor Macdonwald & Norway. Macbeth is considered the primary battle hero.
(Act 1) What reward does Macbeth receive from King Duncan, of Scotland? Duncan names Macbeth thane of Cawdor for his noble acts
(Act 1) What do the three witches predict for Macbeth? thane of Glamsthane of CawdorKing, one day
(Act 1) What do the three witches predict for Banquo? lesser than Macbeth & greaternot so happy, yet much happiernever King, but his children will sit upon the throne
(Act 1) The ambitious Lady Macbeth proposes to Macbeth what? To murder Duncan in order to obtain the title, King. She believes Macbeth cares too much & has too much uncertainty
(Act 1) How will Lady Macbeth help in the plan? she will get the two chamberlains drunk & blame the murder on them the next day, as they will not remember what happened the night before
What finally convinces Macbeth that he needs to kill Ducan? He realizes that there is no reason to kill he king other than his own ambition, an unreliable guide. Lady Macbeth questions his manhood.
Furbished brighten; polished
Prophetic having the power to predict/foreshadow
Liege lord/king
Sovereign supreme in power, rank, or authority
Valor courage, bravery
Treason betrayal of a country or of an oath of loyalty
Anointed declared
Predominance superiority
Indissoluble not able to be dissolved or undone
Dauntless fearless; cannot be intimidates
Infirmity physical/mental defect
Judicious showing good judgement
Sundry various
intemperance lack of restraint
avarice greed
credulous tending to believe too readily
pernicious evil
What three apparitions does Macbeth see? The first is an armed head, summoned to warn Macbeth that Macduff is coming back to Scotland to ruin him. The second apparition is a bloody child and it tells Macbeth that no man born of a woman can do him harm. This gives Macbeth great confidence: “Then live Macduff: what need I fear of thee?” (4.1.78-80). The third apparition is that of a child wearing a crown and holding a tree
How does Malcolm test the trustworthiness of Macduff? Malcolm begins by questioning Macduff’s motives for leaving his wife and son unprotected. He then goes on to state (falsely) all of his faults and vices that would make him an even worse choice for king that Macbeth. Malcolm is doing this to test where Macduff’s loyalties lie. This assures that Macduff is loyal and true.
What changes in Macbeth over his several murders? He becomes a bit tortured by his mind and guilt, too engrossed in his task
What three previous things does Lady Macbeth refer in her sleepwalking? 3 murders of Duncan, Banquo, & McDuff
What is the ‘fate’ of Lady Macbeth? She needs God because she is sick from a spiritual problem – death, by suicide
How do the witches trick Macbeth with the 2nd prophecy concerning ‘no man of woman born’? McDuff was born by c-section
How do the witches trick Macbeth with the 3rd prophecy concerning Birnam? Malcolm tells the men to take tree branches & make it seem as if they are moving toward Macbeth
Have Macbeth & Lady Macbeth reversed roles by the end of the play? Macbeth starts as a caring leader & towards the end is described as a tyrant. Lady Macbeth begins cold and ready to commit murder & towards the end her despair allows her to kill herself.
What is Macbeth’s fate? death, by murder
Tragic hero protagonist whose tragic flaw leads to his own downfall

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