Macbeth Study Guide


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Study guide for MacBeth

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Macbeth Study Guide

  1. 1. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act One - Study Guide) ACT ONE - SCENE 1: Write two or three lines explaining the action in this scene. ACT ONE - SCENE 2: 1. The sergeant describes a battle in the war between _________________ AND __________________. 2. Who were the heroes in that battle? __________________ AND _________________. 3. The Thane of Cawdor was a Traitor. King Duncan sentenced him to death and gave his title to ___________________. 4. What do we learn about Macbeth's character in this scene? ACT ONE SCENE 3: 1. What do the witches predict for Macbeth? A) B) 2. What do they predict for Banquo? 3. Explain the dramatic irony in the witches' first prediction. 4. When the prediction comes true immediately, what does Macbeth think about the other predictions? 5. What does Macbeth plan to do about the possibility of becoming king? ACT ONE - SCENE 4: King Duncan greets Macbeth and Banquo returning form battle. Duncan is in such good spirits he decides to name his successor.
  2. 2. 1. To whom does king Duncan give the title Prince of Cumberland? 2. What does Macbeth think about this? ACT ONE - SCENE 5: 1. Lady Macbeth reads a letter. Who sent it to her? 2. Lady Macbeth says of Macbeth: quot;Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full O'the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.quot; What does she mean by this? 3. What message does the servant give to Lady Macbeth? 4. Explain Lady Macbeth's soliloquy (lines 44-58) 5. Macbeth arrives. What do he and Lady Macbeth discuss? 6. What advice does Lady Macbeth give her husband? ACT ONE - SCENE 6: King Duncan arrives at Macbeth's palace along with Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, his sons and attendants. 1. Explain the dramatic irony in this scene. ACT ONE - SCENE 7: In this soliloquy Macbeth is thinking over the plot to kill King Duncan. He is having second thoughts. 1. List four reasons Macbeth finds to talk himself out of committing the murder. (Lines 1-27) A. B. C. D. 2. How does Lady Macbeth convince him to go through with the murder?
  3. 3. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act Two - Study Guide) ACT TWO - SCENE 1: Macbeth and Banquo meet up at the court of Macbeth's castle. When Banquo mentions that he had a dream about the Weird Sisters, Macbeth wants to discuss his desire to become king of Scotland. Banquo also wants the prediction made about himself to be fulfilled, but he is not willing to do anything dishonorable to make it happen. He says he is loyal to the King. 1. Banquo leaves, and Macbeth is left with his thoughts. Explain Macbeth's soliloquy and his feelings as he goes to commit the murder. 2. What does the ringing of the bell mean? ACT TWO - SCENE 2: 1. After Macbeth murders King Duncan he agonizes over something. What is it? A) Duncan saying murder B) Having blood on his hands, the knocking on the door C) He can not say “amen” 2. What mistake does Lady Macbeth scold Macbeth for? (She later fixes it.) She had to bring the dagger back to the room so that the servants are blamed for the murder ACT TWO - SCENE 3: 1. Explain how comic relief is provided by the porter's speech. 2. What has Macbeth done when he says: quot;0, yet I do repent me of my fury? 3. Who are Malcolm and Donalbain? 4. What do they decide to do after King Duncan is murdered? Why? 5. Explain the dramatic irony when Macduff says: quot;0 gentle lady! quot;'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak...
  4. 4. 6. What does Banquo decide to do, and why do you think he does not accuse Macbeth of the murder? ACT TWO - SCENE 4: Ross and an old man are riding along discussing the terrible murder. Along comes Macduff. He suspects Macbeth because he has killed the only ones who could lead them to the murderer. 1. What does this scene foreshadow? 2. The orderly scheme of nature is strangely affected by the murder. Shakespeare skillfully lets nature correspond to man's acts. How is this revealed by the conversation in this scene? 3. Who is named successor to King Duncan? Why? 4. Where is the coronation to be held?
  5. 5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act Three - Study Guide) ACT THREE - SCENE 1: Macbeth is now King of Scotland 1. What does Banquo reveal to us in his opening speech? In their conversation Macbeth learns that Banquo is going on a mission and Fleance (Banquo's son) will be going with him. Macbeth wishes Banquo a safe trip and tells him be sure to return in time for the coronation feast that evening. Macbeth is again left with his thoughts. - Lines 47-71 comprise the third of Macbeth's four soliloquies in the play. This one shows his uneasy state of mind and his determination to thwart or block the witches' prophecy that Banquo will be the father of kings. 2. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING PARAPHRASE OF MACBETH'S SOLILOQUY BY FILLING IN THE BLANKS. To be king means nothing unless I am secure in the position. I have deep _______________ about Banquo and his ________________ __________ Banquo is not only daring and courageous, but he has ________________ to guide him to act in _______________. Banquo is the only one I ______ and my own ________________ (conscience) is ________________(scolded) by him just as __________ ________________ was by Caesar. He Challenged the ________________ when they put the name of ________________ upon me, and told them to ____________ ______ __________; then they like a _________ hailed ___________ as the father to ____________ _____ __________. The ________________ said that I would become _________, but have no successor of my own blood. If this is true, then I have defiled my _____________, murdered the ______________ ______________ disturbed all of my _______________ and my __________ __________(soul) I have given to the common _____________ _____ _________ (devil). I did all of this to make way for the _____________ of ________________ to be kings. __________. Rather than let that happen I will fight against ___________ (witches' prophecy) to the death! Macbeth proceeds to hire some murderers to attack and kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, on the road. ACT THREE - SCENE 2:
  6. 6. Lady Macbeth emerges as a lonely, pathetic figure. She no longer takes a lead in making plans; her husband now assumes that role. Her close relationship with Macbeth no longer exists. (She knows nothing of Macbeth's plans to murder Banquo and Fleance.) Macbeth has become a prisoner of evil who suffers from the fear of discovery by day and the torments of nightmares by night. The ill-gotten crown has brought only mental anguish to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 1. Quote the lines that show that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have reversed roles in their relationship as compared to Act One when King Duncan's murder was planned. 2. What do you think Macbeth means when he says, quot;Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.quot;? ACT THREE - SCENE 3: 1. What went wrong with Macbeth's plot to have Banquo and Fleance murdered? 2. How does this relate to the witches' prophecy? ACT THREE - SCENE 4: 1. What ironic event marks the climax of this play? 2. What two things does Macbeth now plan to do? Why? a) b) ACT THREE - SCENE 5: How does this scene reveal Macduff as the possible nemesis of Macbeth?
  7. 7. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act Four - Study Guide) ACT FOUR - SCENE 1: Macbeth seeks counsel from the weird sisters who show him a series of apparitions: 1. Explain the message given to Macbeth by each of the following apparitions. First Apparition: an armed Head • Second Apparition: A bloody Child • Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand • 2. How does this make Macbeth feel? Finally the witches show Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following. 3. Explain the irony in the following statement by Macbeth; quot;Infected be the air whereon they ride And damn'd all those that trust them! ...quot; 4. What does Macbeth decide to do next? ACT FOUR - SCENE 2: Macduff's Castle Lady Macduff converses with he son. She is upset because her husband has gone off to England leaving his family unprotected. 1. What happens to them? ACT FOUR SCENE 3:
  8. 8. Malcolm, King Duncan's son, and Macduff are discussing plans to return to Scotland with an army to overthrow Macbeth.. Ross enters with news of Duncan's family. 1. How does Macduff reponde to this news? 2. What does he vow to do? Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act Five - Study Guide) ACT FIVE - SCENE 1: (Macbeth's Castle - Dunsinane) 1. What visions plague Lady Macbeth? 2. How does Lady Macbeth's condition differ from Macbeth's at this time? ACT FIVE - SCENE 2: (The countryside near Dunsinane) Briefly explain the conversation of these Scottish noblemen, Menteith, Caithness, Angus and Lennox. ACT FIVE - SCENE 3: (Macbeth's Castle - Dunsinane) 1. What does Macbeth's opening speech reveal to us? 2. What does Macbeth's speech to Seyton reveal to us? 3. What does Macbeth resolve to do? Why? ACT FIVE - SCENE 4: (Birnam Woods) 1. What news does Seyton bring Macbeth? The final soliloquy of Macbeth is one of the most famous passages of this tragic drama. (to be memorized) Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
  9. 9. 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. 2. list four things to which Macbeth compares life A B C D 3. How does Macbeth express the span of life? A B C 4. How does he express the futility of life? ACT FIVE - SCENE 6: (Dunsinane - outside of Macbeth's Castle) 1. What is happening here? ACT FIVE - SCENE 7: (within the castle walls) 1. Explain the action in this final scene and Malcolm's speech at the end.