1.11. What is the effect of beginning the play with the witches? Whom are the witches going to meet, and when? Notice the language of lines 10-11 and watch for it later in the play.
- It gives the play a sense of foreboding. They are going to meet Macbeth when the battle is over.
- We learn what is happening in the battle. Macdonwald is a rebel who is supported by Irish soldiers. He has been slain by Macbeth. No, it didn't end the problems because the Norwegian king started an attack on them.
2. What do we learn from Ross and Angus (1.2.45-62)? Who was the traitor in this different revolt? What does King Duncan say about the traitor and about his title (1.2.63-65)?
* we learn that Macbeth has defeated the Norwegians. The traitor this time is the thane of Cawdor. Duncan says the traitor will be executed and Macbeth gets his title.
1.31. What is the effect of what the witches tell each other in 1.3.1-27)? What is the effect of the specifics they tell? Are these details important to the plot of the play? Why are they here? What does the First Witch mean by line 9? Keep the line in mind; "do" is an important word in this play. How do the witches prepare for Macbeth's arrival, and what do they say (1.3.28-35)?
2. Does Macbeth's first line (1.3.36) remind you of anything we have heard before? What do the witches look like (1.3.37-45)? What do they tell Macbeth (1.3.46-48). What happens to Macbeth then? How do we know? (See 1.3.49-55.) What does Banquo ask the witches and what do they tell him (1.3.55-67; notice the paradoxes in 1.3.63-65, similar in structure to 1.1.10-11 and 1.3.36). What do we know that Macbeth doesn't know in 1.3.68-76)?
*Yes, it reminds me of the beginning of the play when all the witches say "fair is foul, and foul is fair." The witches are withered looking and crazyly dressed and they have beards. They tell Macbeth that he is to be future king and is the thane of Cawdor. Macbeth becomes startled and frightened we know this because he isn't talking. Banquo asks the witches what will happen in his future and they tell him that he wont be king, but his children will be. We know how Macbeth is the thane of Cawdor.
3. How does Banquo explain the witches (1.3.77-78)? What does Macbeth learn from Ross and Angus (1.3.87-114)? What is Macbeth doing in lines 114-156? Note where he is speaking to himself, where he is speaking only to Banquo, and where he is speaking to everyone. How is Macbeth reacting to what the witches have said and to what Ross and Angus have said? Read Banquo's speech in lines 120-125 carefully for a statement related to the themes of the play. Then read Macbeth's speech at 1.3.126-141 carefully. What is he saying? What is he beginning to think about? Notice an echo of the paradox of "fair is foul" in lines 140-141.
* Banquo says the witches must have come from a bubble in the earth. Macbeth learns that the king wants to see him to give him the title of thane of Cawdor and that the old thane was killed. Macbeth is thinking about murdering the king. He's in a daze and having a bunch of conflicting thoughts. Macbeth is talking about how he would be king.
4. How does Macbeth explain his behavior (1.3.148-149)? How much of his thought does he plan to share with Banquo (1.3.152-154)?
* Macbeth says he was distracted. He plans to share some only when they've had time to think.
1.41. How did Cawdor die (1.4.1-11)? How does the King respond (1.4.11-14)? Keep these lines in mind.
* Cawdor confessed to his treasons and repented he threw away his life. The king says that he trusted Cawdor completely and that you can't read a man's mind by looking at his face.
2. How does the King greet Macbeth and Banquo (1.4.14-35)? Note the imagery of planting and growing. What announcement does the King make in lines 35-42? (Prince of Cumberland is the title of the Scottish heir apparent, like Prince of Wales for the English.) Where does the King intend to go (1.4.42-47)? How does he react in his aside to the King's announcement of his heir (1.4.48-53)? What is going on in Macbeth's mind?
* The king says that giving Macbeth the title he is starting his career and Banquo deserves no less than Macbeth. The king announced that he is going to bestow his kingdom on his eldest son. The king intends to go to Macbeth's castle. Macbeth is upset because now there is an obstacle in his way to becoming king. Macbeth still plans on killing the king.
1.51. Has Macbeth reported accurately to his wife (1.5.1-12)? How does she respond? Read her speech in lines 13-28 carefully. How does she describe Macbeth? Does this match what we have seen of him?
* He hasn't reported accurately because he never mentioned that he planned to kill the king. She worries if he has what it takes to sieze the crown. She describes Macbeth as being to full of human kindness, he doesn't have a mean streak, and he wants things to be done for him. Not really because he
2. How does Lady Macbeth respond to the news that the King is coming? Read her speech in lines 36-52 carefully. What does she intend to do? What does she have to do to herself to let that happen?
* Lady Macbeth doesn't believe it because she didn't even get time to prepare. She intends to kill the king. She has to become more like a man and become full of cruelty.
3. Who is in charge when Macbeth arrives (1.5.52-71)? Has Lady Macbeth decided what to do? Has Macbeth? What does she tell him to do, and what will she herself do?
* Lady Macbeth is in charge. She had decided what to do. No, Macbeth hasn't. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to project a peaceful mood so as not to look suspicious and she will handle all the preparations.
4. What is Lady Macbeth's name? (A trick question-it's not in the play. But historical sources tell us her name was Gruoch and that she had a son by a previous marriage, named Lulach. See the Bedford Texts and Contexts edition of Macbeth, p. 128, with no source given there.)
* Lady Macbeth's name is Gruoch.
1.61. Read the opening speeches (1.6.1-10) carefully, noting the imagery. How honest is Lady Macbeth's welcome (1.6.10-31)?
* Her welcome isn't honest because she is planning on having macbeth kill him.
1.71. Read Macbeth's soliloquy in 1.7.1-28 carefully. Notice the repetition of "done" in lines 1-2. How ready is Macbeth to kill the King? What is he worried about in lines 1-12? What special rules of hospitality is Macbeth violating (lines 12-16)? What motivation does Macbeth attribute to himself (lines 25-28)?
* Macbeth isn't ready at all. He's worried about the consequences of committing murder. He's violating the rule that the host is supposed to shut the door on murders. His motivation is ambition.
2. What is Lady Macbeth complaining about in lines 28-30? What does Macbeth then say, and how does Lady Macbeth reply? Read their discussion in lines 31-82 carefully to see what positions each holds and what means each uses to convince the other? Who is the stronger person in this scene?
* Lady Macbeth is complaining about how the king has almost finished dinner and Macbeth left. Macbeth replies by asking if the king has asked for him and lady Macbeth responds by saying don't you know he has. Macbeth uses guilt and honor and Lady Macbeth uses insults toward Macbeth. lady Macbeth is the stronger person.
2.11. What is the purpose of the opening of 2.1 (lines 1-9)? Notice the references to time (lines 1-3), and think about the other references to time so far in the play (1.1.1-5; 1.3.56, 146, and 152; 1.5.8 and 56-62; 1.7.51 and 81). What is the function of the discussion about the witches in 2.1.20-29?
* The purpose of that opening is the fact that the king is to be murdered at night. The function of the discussion about the witches is that everything they said is about to come true.
2. Read Macbeth's soliloquy in 2.1.33-64 carefully. What is happening to him? How does he explain it? What will he do about it? Notice references to time in line59 and to deeds and done in lines 61-62.
* Macbeth is starting to see hallucinations. He explains it as the murder that he's about to commit getting to him. He will murder the king because the bell told him to.
2.21. What is Lady Macbeth's state of mind in her soliloquy (2.2.1-13)? What has she done? What does she assume Macbeth is now doing? Why didn't she do it (lines 12-13)?
* Lady Macbeth's state of mind is paranoid. She had given the servants a bunch of drugs in their drinks. she assumes Macbeth is killing the king. she couldn't do it herself because the king reminded her of her father.
2. What deed has Macbeth done (2.2.14)? What is Macbeth worried about in lines 17-31? How does Lady Macbeth respond (lines 31-32)? Notice the heavy emphasis on the murdering of sleep in lines 33-41. What problem arises in line 46? How is it solved? Keep lines 44-45, 58-61, and 65 about washing in mind for later in the play.
* Murder is the deed Macbeth has done. He's worried because he couldn't say amen. Lady Macbeth tells him not to worry about it much. The problem is that Macbeth didn't leave the bloody daggers. It's solved because lady Macbeth is going to take the daggers and cover the servants in blood.
2.31. What does the porter pretend to be doing? Notice the emphasis on equivocation in this speech and in the following dialogue with Macduff. Equivocation was a doctrine espoused by Jesuits living secretly in England (and in danger of arrest, torture, and death) that allowed them to swear oaths with double meanings in order to preserve their lives while also maintaining their faith but that looked to their opponents very much like lying under oath. Equivocation had recently been much discussed because of the trials surrounding the Gunpowder Plot of November 1605, a Catholic attempt to blow up Parliament while the members and the King were present. Watch how the idea of equivocation functions in the play.
* The porter pretends to be the gatekeeper of hell answering the door for those going to hell for their crimes.
2. What is the thematic function of Lennox's conversation with Macbeth about the unruly night (lines 50-59). What is the theatrical function of the scene? Why does something need to be here?
3. What news does Macduff report at line 59? How do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respond? What does Macbeth report in lines 103-104 that he did? What do Malcolm and Donalbain decide to do and why (lines 116-121 and 131-142)? Where will they go? What do they seem to expect will happen if they don't leave?
* Macduff reports that the king has been murdered. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth act surprised and that the event shook them up. Macbeth says that he killed the servants in a greif striken rage. The two decide to leave before the dagger can strike again. Malcolm is going to England and Donalbain is going to Ireland. They expect that if they don't leave the dagger will strike them too.
2.41. What is the function of the dialogue between the Old Man and Ross (lines 1-20)? What do we learn from Macduff about Malcolm and Donalbain? About Macbeth? Where has Macbeth gone? Where will Macduff go? (Macbeth was historically a member of the royal family; his mother and Duncan's mother were sisters, daughters of Duncan's predecessor as king; both Duncan and Macbeth were historically about the same age. Duncan ruled from 1034 to 1040 and Macbeth from 1040 to 1057.) Notice that many of the key words and ideas we have been tracing appear in this scene.
* The function of the dialogue between the old man and Ross is to give the murder a bigger sense of evil unjustice. we learn that Malcolm and Donalbain are the kings two sons and have fled making them the prime suspects. Macbeth is going to be crowned king and has gone to scone. Macduff is going to Fife.
3.11. How does Banquo react to Macbeth's being King (3.1.1-10)? What does he suspect has happened to Duncan?
* Banquo responds by saying how Macbeth has it all and he suspects that Macbeth cheated and killed Duncan.
2. What does Macbeth learn from Banquo in lines 19-38? Why does he want to know it? What does he say about Malcolm and Donalbain in lines 31-34?
* Macbeth learns that Banquo is going riding. He wants to know if he'll be their for the feast. Macbeth says that they are the murderers and have been making up lies about it to their hosts.
3. Read Macbeth's soliloquy in 3.1.49-73 carefully. What is bothering Macbeth?
* Macbeth is bothered by the fact that Banquo is so noble.
4. How does Macbeth get the two murderers to agree to kill Banquo? Has he told them the truth about Banquo and himself? What has brought the murderers to be willing to do a deed like this?
* Macbeth gets the murderers to agree by saying that Banquo is the enemy and the one making their lives horrible. No, he hasn't because they are actually friends. The murderers agree because they are angry and have nothing to lose.
3.21. How much does Macbeth tell Lady Macbeth about his fears? How much does he tell her about what he plans to do? Does she know as much as we know at this point?
* Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he rather be dead then live with the nightmares. Macbeth tells her that Banquo needs to be murdered. No, because she doesn't know that Macbeth hired hit men and is going to have Banquo's son killed also.
3.31. How do the two murderers respond to the third one? How does the third one explain his presence?
* The two murderers trust the third murderer easily because they have the same mission. Third one explains his presense with one word.
2. How successful is their mission?
* It's only half successful because they killed Banquo but his son got away.
3.41. During the banquet, what does Macbeth learn from the First Murderer (3.4.11-31)? How does that affect Macbeth's participation in the banquet?
* Macbeth learns that Fleance has escaped. Macbeth isn't entertaining his guests.
2. What appears at 3.4.36? Who can see it? What "trick" does it play on Macbeth (3.2.36-46)? How does Macbeth respond? How does Lady Macbeth explain his response to him? To the guests? What does Macbeth find strange (3.4.74-82)? What happens to the banquet?
* Banquo's ghost appears. Macbeth can only see it. The ghost shakes his head at Macbeth and he tells it to go ahead. Lady Macbeth say that Macbeth has convolsions all the time since he was a child and to ignore him. Macbeth finds it strange that the dead can rise again. The banquet is ruined by Macbeth's outbursts and they all leave.
3. Who is the next problem person mentioned (3.2.127-129)? How well does Macbeth trust his followers (3.4.130-131)? Where will he go tomorrow and what does he want to find out (3.4.131-134)? How does Lady Macbeth diagnose his infirmity (3.2.140)?3.51. What is Hecate's complaint to the witches? What does she tell them to do? What will happen tomorrow? Where?
* Macduff is the next problem person. He doesn't trust them at all because he has spies in every lord's home. He's going to go see the witches to find out what bad stuff is going to happen. That he needs sleep. Hecate's complaint is that the witches gave Macbeth riddles and prophecies about his future without telling her. she tells them to go and get their cauldrons, spells, charms, and everything else. Hecate is going to produce magical spirits that will trick Macbeth. This will happen in the pit by the river in Hell.
3.61. Why is Lennox talking in such an indirect way to the other lord? What is Lennox trying to tell him? What might he be trying to learn about him?
* Lennox is doing that because he wants to know about Malcolm. He's trying to tell the lord that Macbeth is going to have Macduff killed. He's trying to learn what side the lord is on.
2. What has happened to Macduff?
* Macduff isn't returning to scotland.
3. What is the function of this scene in the play?
* The function is to show that people and planning to overthrow Macbeth.
4.11. How many witches appear in this scene?
* Three witches appear in this scene.
2. What messages does Macbeth get from the witches and their apparitions? Does he feel safe after the first three apparitions? Should he? How does he feel after the fourth, the line of kings?
* First message was to beware of Macduff and the thane of Fife, second for him to be violent, bold, and firm while laughing at the power of other men, third to be brave and not fear anything until the Birnam wood marches to battle. Yes, he feels safe but he shouldn't because they are tricking him. After the fourth he is upset and angry.
3. What does Macbeth learn from Lennox at line 158? What does he plan to do about it?
*Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to england. Macbeth plans to raid Macduff's caslte and kill his wife and children.
4.21. What is Lady Macduff's reaction to her husband's departure for England (4.2.1-30).
* She thinks that Macduff doesn't love her or their children.
2. What is the function of the scene between Lady Macduff and her son (4.2.30-64)?
3. What happens to Lady Macduff and her son?
* Lady Macduff gets away while her son was killed.
4.31. What do we know at the beginning of the scene that Macduff doesn't know?
* We know that his wife is still alive.
2. What is the main issue between Malcolm and Macduff in the first part of the scene (4.3.1-32)? Why might Malcolm be suspicious of Macduff? How does Macduff respond (4.3.32-38)? What changes when Macduff starts to leave at line 35?
* The main issue is that the homeland has fallen. Malcolm is suspicious because he thinks Macduff is going to betray him in Macbeth's favor. Macduff tells him that he isn't treacherous.
3. What does Malcolm say about himself, and how does Macduff respond (lines 38-115)? What bothers Macduff more in a king, lust or avarice? Why does this character of Malcolm's surprise Macduff (lines 106-112)? (Malcolm's mother was the daughter of the Old Siward mentioned in line 135, which might explain why he is helping. The description of his mother sounds more like St. Margaret of Scotland, who in fact was later this Malcolm's wife.)
* Malcolm says that Macbeth compared to him looks like an angel. Macduff says that you couldn't find a worse devil than Macbeth. Avarice bugs Macduff more because you can't out grow it. It surprises him because he finally sees what a horrible man Malcolm is.
4. How does this threat to leave by Macduff change Malcolm's story? What is Malcolm's explanation for his behavior (lines 115-133)? What was Malcolm about to do when Macduff arrived (lines 134-138)?
* Malcolm's story changes completely everything he said was a lie now. His explaination is that he wasn't sure he could trust Macduff. Malcolm was about to have siward over.
5. What is the purpose of the discussion of King Edward's healing powers? How does this compare to the present King of Scotland in the play? Note lines 155-157: King James, who was from Scotland and who as a Stuart was considered one of those descendants of Banquo, had recently revived this practice when the play was written, which gives another reason for including it in the play.
* It compares him to Macbeth who is tainting the land while Edward heals it.
6. What message does Ross bring? How long does it take for him to tell it? How does Macduff respond? Note lines 214-217: Who "has no children"? We assume he means Macbeth, but could he mean Malcolm, who is perhaps too hasty in telling him to "Be comforted"? Notice the mentions of "man" in lines 221-223 and 237 and compare the use of the word earlier in the play (as at 1.7.46-51 abd 72-74; 3.1.92-102; and 3.4.57, 72, 98, and 107). What does it mean to be a "man" in this play?
* Ross tells them that Scotland is the land where all will die. It takes him a paragraph to tell it. Macduff says that it was so poetic but sounds so true. To be a man means to be violent, ambitious, and full of vengence.
7. What are Malcolm, Macduff, and Ross ready to do at the end of the scene?
* They are all ready to kill Macbeth.
5.11. What has the gentlewoman seen Lady Macbeth do (5.1.1-15)? Why won't she tell the Doctor what Lady Macbeth said?
* She has seen lady Macbeth sleepwalking. She wont tell the doctor what she heard because no one else was there.
2. What does Lady Macbeth reveal in her sleepwalking speeches and actions (5.1.23-58)? To what does the Doctor relate this in 5.1.61-69? What is he suggesting in lines 66-67?
* Lady Macbeth reveals that she played a part in king Duncan's murder. The doctor relates it to having a diesease. He suggests that she needs to see a priest because of her guilty conscience.
5.21. Where are the soldiers heading in 5.2? Whose side are they on? What do the mentions of Birnam Wood (line 5) and Dunsinane (line 12) remind us of?
*The soldiers are heading to Birnam woods and are on Malcolm's side. They remind me of what the apparitions told Macbeth about.
5.31. What reports are the servants bringing to Macbeth (5.3.1)? Why does Macbeth say he is not afraid? What does he think about himself in lines 20-29?
* They tell him that there are ten thousand soldiers and the thanes are deserting Macbeth. He says he isn't afraid because they are all born of a woman. Macbeth thinks that he is sick at heart and his life is withering away.
2. What does the Doctor say about Lady Macbeth (lines 39-46)? What does Macbeth wish the Doctor could do (lines 52-58)?
* The doctor says that Lady Macbeth is troubled with endless visions that lays keep her from sleeping. Macbeth wishes that the doctor could cure his country.
5.41. What does Malcolm tell the soldiers to do (5.4.4-7)? What effect do you expect this to have on Macbeth?
* Malcolm tells the soldiers to grab branches and conceal themselves so Macbeth's spies wont know how many are really there. Macbeth will probably freak because the forest is moving.
5.51. What does "the cry of women" signify (184.108.40.206, 15)? Read Macbeth's famous speech in lines 16-27 carefully. What is he saying? How does he feel about life at this point?
* The cry of women signigies the death of the queen. Macbeth is saying that the days are bringing everyone closer to death. He feels that life is nothing more than an illusion.
2. What news does the messenger bring in lines 28-33? How does Macbeth react to this news? What does he now think of the witches (lines 40-46)? (Notice the return of "equivocation" in line 41.) Yet what is his mood at the end of the scene (lines 49-50)? Will he go out with a whimper?
* The messenger tells Macbeth that Birnam forest is moving. Macbeth gets angry and calls him a liar. Macbeth now is starting to doubt teh witches. At the end of the scene he kinda want sto die. No, he 's going to die with his armor on.
5.61. What do we learn in this scene? Why are Siward and his son mentioned?
We learn that the battle is going to begin. Siward and his son are mentioned because one of them is going to die.
5.71. What is Macbeth's attitude at the beginning of the scene (lines 1-4)? What happens in his encounter with Young Siward?
* Macbeth is afraid of nobody except the man not born of a woman. Macbeth kills Young Siward.
5.8 (5.7 continues in most editions)1. Who is Macduff looking for and why (lines 1-10)?
* Macduff is looking for Macbeth so that he can kill him to put his family's spirits at rest.
5.9 (5.7 continues in most editions)1. How is it that Malcolm and Siward are able to enter the castle so easily (lines 1-6)?
* They enter so easily because their enemy truely isn't trying to beat them.
5.10 (5.8 in most editions)1. What unwished-for information does Macduff have for Macbeth (lines 1-16)? How does Macbeth respond? What will happen if he doesn't fight? Why does he fight?
* Macduff tells Macbeth that he was cut out of his mother's stomach and was not born naturally. Macbeth says he wont fight. If he doesn't fight they're gonna put him in a freakshow. He fights because he refuses to kiss the ground Malcolm walks on and being taunted be the common folk.
5.11 (5.8 continues in most editions)1. How upset is Siward at his son's death? Why?
* Siward isn't upset at all because his son died honorably.
2. What does Malcolm promise his followers (lines 26-41)? What does he tell us about Lady Macbeth's death (line 36-37)? Should we believe him? (He is her enemy, after all-but remember the Doctor's instructions in 5.1.66-67.)
* Malcolm promises his followers to be named earls. He tells us that Lady Macbeth committed suicide. Yeah, he's believable because Lady Macbeth's guilt probably got to her and she killed herself.