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Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
Macbeth Comprehension Questions
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Macbeth Comprehension Questions

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  • 1. MACBETH QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES Please answer all questions in your English workbook. Please write a heading for each scene. There is no need to write out the question, you can include the question in the answer. ROMAN NUMERALS The numbers for the acts and scenes in your book are in roman numerals. The key numbers you need to know are one (I), five (V), and ten (X). To make the numbers in between you use ones to count up and down. Here they are from one to ten. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X NOTES WITH THE TEXT You will be using the Student Shakespeare edition of this play which has generous notes to help you understand this text. Where you see a small number in the text this means that there is an explanation or additional information in the right column. The language has changed a great deal in the last four hundred years. You will need to read this extra information to answer many of these questions. ACT ONE, SCENE ONE 1. When are the witches planning to meet Macbeth? Support your answer with a quotation. 2. Which words let us know that this is a play about opposites and the reversal of the natural order? 3. Put the following items in their “natural order” – minerals, man, beasts, plants, noble men, God, kings. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 1
  • 2. ACT ONE, SCENE TWO 1. Which three enemies of King Duncan are named in this scene? 2. How healthy is the Sergeant in this scene? 3. What name does Macbeth well deserve in this scene? 4. What title is lost by one man and gained by another man? ACT ONE, SCENE THREE 1. Translate this text into modern English – “'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.” Use the notes on the right hand side of your book to help you. 2. Name two things the witches do to the sailor. 3. Which three things do the witches hail Macbeth as? 4. How does the first witch hail Banquo? 5. Translate Banquo’s words into modern English. And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s In deepest consequence. ACT ONE, SCENE FOUR 1. Translate one of these quotes into modern English MALCOLM A deep repentance: nothing in his life Became him like the leaving it; he died As one that had been studied in his death To throw away the dearest thing he owed, As ’twere a careless trifle. DUNCAN There’s no art To find the mind’s construction in the face: He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 2
  • 3. 2. What sentiment is Duncan expressing in this passage? O worthiest cousin! The sin of my ingratitude even now Was heavy on me: thou art so far before That swiftest wing of recompense is slow To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved, That the proportion both of thanks and payment Might have been mine! only I have left to say, More is thy due than more than all can pay. ACT ONE, SCENE FIVE 1. Milk is used here to express a quality. List four qualities usually associated with milk and suggest why milk is mentioned in this passage. Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way 2. Lady Macbeth asked to spirits to unsex her in this scene. List three qualities that we usually think of as being feminine. List three qualities that Lady Macbeth asks for instead. Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me her', And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall 3. Translate Lady Macbeth’s words into modern English. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under't. He that's coming Must be provided for: and you shall put This night's great business into my dispatch Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 3
  • 4. ACT ONE, SCENE SIX 1. What does King Duncan think of Inverness, Macbeth’s castle? This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses. 2. Translate Duncan’s words into your own words in modern English. Where’s the thane of Cawdor? We coursed him at the heels, and had a purpose To be his purveyor: but he rides well; And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess, We are your guest to-night. ACT ONE, SCENE SEVEN 1. Translate one of the following passages, in which Macbeth considers the killing of his king, into your own words of modern English. He’s here in double trust; First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off; And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself And falls on the other. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 4
  • 5. 2. Summarise what Lady Macbeth is saying in this passage. What is her purpose in saying this? What beast was’t, then, That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place Did then adhere, and yet you would make both: They have made themselves, and that their fitness now Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this. ACT TWO, SCENE ONE 1. Macbeth believes that he sees a dagger. Is this a real dagger? What does Macbeth take this vision to mean? “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” 2. Translate this passage into modern English. I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell. ACT TWO, SCENE TWO 1. What important event has happened between Scene One and Scene Two? 2. What is the reason Lady Macbeth tells herself that she did not kill King Duncan herself? 3. Why does Macbeth think he could not say ‘Amen’? 4. What does Lady Macbeth mean in the following quotation? My hands are of your colour; but I shame To wear a heart so white. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 5
  • 6. ACT TWO, SCENE THREE 1. According to the porter which four things does drink provoke? 2. Lennox reports that it was an unruly night and many strange things happened. Thinking about the natural order, what event do you think threw the world into disorder? 3. What does Macduff mean in this quotation? Confusion now hath made his masterpiece! Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence The life o' the building! 4. Translate this passage into modern English. Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, There 's nothing serious in mortality: All is but toys: renown and grace is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. 5. Why does Macbeth say that he killed Duncan’s guards? ACT TWO, SCENE FOUR 1. How many years can the old man remember? 2. What happened to King Duncan’s horses? What does this represent in relation to natural temperament and behaviour? 3. What does it mean that Macduff goes to his own home in Fife rather than Macbeth’s coronation at Scone? 4. What text in this scene reminds us that this is a play about opposites? ACT THREE, SCENE ONE 1. Provide a quote that shows that Banquo is suspicious of Macbeth. 2. Where is Banquo going and who is going with him? 3. What two reasons does Macbeth have for wanting Banquo dead? 4. According to Macbeth who is responsible for the problems of the two murderers? 5. Assign percentages of blame for the murder of Banquo. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 6
  • 7. ACT THREE, SCENE TWO 1. Does Lady Macbeth share Macbeth’s concerns about Banquo? Support your answer with a quote. 2. Provide a quote that shows that Lady Macbeth now had doubts about the murder of King Duncan. 3. What earlier scene from this play is the following quote similar to? Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed ACT THREE, SCENE THREE 1. What is Banquo doing when he is attacked 2. Who kills Banquo in this scene? 3. Who kills Fleance in this scene? ACT THREE, SCENE FOUR 1. Translate this passage of Macbeth speaking into modern English. Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect, Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, As broad and general as the casing air: But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's safe? 2. Who is sitting in Macbeth’s seat at the dinner table? 3. “Thou canst not say I did it.” What is Macbeth saying to the ghost? 4. How does Lady Macbeth explain Macbeth’s strange behaviour to the other guests? Use a quotation in your answer. 5. How would you describe the mental state of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in this scene? Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 7
  • 8. ACT THREE, SCENE FIVE 1. Who is generally believed to have written this scene? 2. Why is Hecate angry with the other witches? Note: Check the notes in your copy of Macbeth about this scene for help with these answers. ACT THREE, SCENE SIX 1. Lennox tells how sons are said to have killed fathers. Which sons and fathers is he talking about? 2. Do Lennox and the Lord in this scene side with Macbeth or are they suspicious of him? Use a quotation to support your answer. ACT FOUR, SCENE ONE 1. What does the head covered with armour tell Macbeth? 2. What does the blood covered child tell Macbeth? 3. What does the child with crown on his head and a branch in his hand tell Macbeth? 4. What does Macbeth understand the eight ghostly kings to mean? 5. What has Macduff done? ACT FOUR, SCENE TWO 1. Is Lady Macduff happy that her husband has gone to England? Support your answer with a quotation. 2. What does Macduff son mean in this passage? Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them. 3. How would you describe the relationship between mother and son is this scene? How is this different to Lady Macbeth and how she talks about a baby? 4. Who is responsible for the death of Lady Macduff and her son? Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 8
  • 9. ACT FOUR, SCENE THREE 1. What does Malcolm mean in this passage? When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head, Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country Shall have more vices than it had before, More suffer and more sundry ways than ever, By him that shall succeed. 2. What is Malcolm’s weakness that he describes in this passage? but there's no bottom, none, In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters, Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up The cistern of my lust, and my desire 3. What are the twelve kingly graces that Malcolm names? 4. Why does Malcolm say that he is deeply flawed and that Scotland would be even worse off with him as king? 5. What power does the English king have? 6. How does Macduff take the news about his family? Support your answer with a quotation. ACT FIVE, SCENE ONE 1. What does Lady Macbeth see on her hands in this passage? Out, damned spot! out, I say!--One: two: why, then, 'tis time to do't.--Hell is murky!--Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?--Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him. 2. Translate this passage into modern English The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?— What, will these hands ne'er be clean?--No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with this starting. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 9
  • 10. ACT FIVE, SCENE TWO 1. Who is leading the army which is marching towards Macbeth? 2. What does the following passage mean? Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in love: now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief. 3. At what location will these men meet the English forces? ACT FIVE, SCENE THREE 1. Translate this passage into modern English. I have lived long enough: my way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. ACT FIVE, SCENE FOUR 1. In this scene Malcolm tells the soldiers to each take a branch from a tree of Birnam Wood. Why does he do this? 2. Which prophesy do we see coming true in these scene? ACT FIVE, SCENE FIVE 1. What is Macbeth talking about in this quote? it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. 2. What emotion do you think Macbeth experiences when he learns that his wife is dead? Support your answer with a quotation. 3. Who is Macbeth sending to do his killing this time? Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 10
  • 11. ACT FIVE, SCENE SIX 1. What does harbinger mean? ACT FIVE, SCENE SEVEN 1. Translate this passage into modern English. If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still. I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth, Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge I sheathe again undeeded. 2. In this scene we hear that “The tyrant's people on both sides do fight”. What does this tell us about the type of king Macbeth was? ACT FIVE, SCENE EIGHT 1. What does Macbeth mean by “play the Roman fool”? 2. Does Macbeth feel guilt about the death of Macduff’s family? Support your answer with a question. 3. What is Macduff telling Macbeth when he says “Macduff was from his mother's womb Untimely ripp'd”? 4. Macbeth could surrender but chooses to stand and fight. Why do you think he does this? Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!' ACT FIVE, SCENE NINE 1. What can be tell about Siward’s morality when he asks if his son has “hurts before”? 2. Who is hailed King of Scotland by the men at the end of the play? 3. In this final scene Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are described as “this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen”. Looking back to Act One, Scene Two, how is Macbeth described then? Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 11
  • 12. ORAL PRESENTATION Once we have finished the play you will need to read a passage out loud. Here are some suggested passages. SERGEANT (ACT ONE, SCENE TWO) For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name-- Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps, And fix'd his head upon our battlements. BANQUO (ACT ONE, SCENE THREE) Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favours nor your hate. MACBETH (ACT ONE, SCENE THREE) Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor: If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 12
  • 13. MALCOLM (SCENE ONE, ACT FOUR) My liege, They are not yet come back. But I have spoke With one that saw him die: who did report That very frankly he confess'd his treasons, Implored your highness' pardon and set forth A deep repentance: nothing in his life Became him like the leaving it; he died As one that had been studied in his death To throw away the dearest thing he owed, As 'twere a careless trifle. LADY MACBETH (ACT ONE, SCENE FIVE) Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis, That which cries 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it; And that which rather thou dost fear to do Than wishest should be undone The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood; Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief!. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 13
  • 14. MACBETH (ACT ONE, SCENE SEVEN) He's here in double trust; First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off; And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other. LADY MACBETH (ACT ONE, SCENE SEVEN) What beast was't, then, That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place Did then adhere, and yet you would make both: They have made themselves, and that their fitness now Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this. MACBETH (ACT TWO, SCENE ONE) Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 14
  • 15. PORTER (ACT TWO, SCENE THREE) Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him. MACBETH (ACT TWO, SCENE THREE) Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, There 's nothing serious in mortality: All is but toys: renown and grace is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. BANQUO (ACT THREE, SCENE ONE) Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all, As the weird women promised, and, I fear, Thou play'dst most foully for't: yet it was said It should not stand in thy posterity, But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them-- As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine-- Why, by the verities on thee made good, May they not be my oracles as well, And set me up in hope? But hush! no more. MACBETH (ACT FIVE, SCENE THREE) Seyton!--I am sick at heart, When I behold--Seyton, I say!--This push Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now. I have lived long enough: my way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Seyton! Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 15
  • 16. MACBETH (ACT FIVE, SCENE FIVE) She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. MACDUFF (ACT FIVE, SCENE EIGHT) That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face! If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine, My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still. I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth, Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge I sheathe again undeeded. MACBETH (ACT FIVE, SCENE EIGHT) I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, And to be baited with the rabble's curse. Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou opposed, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!' Macbeth Questions >> Mr O’Meara >> www.redspacerocket.com Page 16

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