analysis of Shakespeare’s Macbeth
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Act 2 Scene 1
1. What evidence is there that Banquo is uneasy about recent events?
In the first scene of Act 1, Banquo is quite worried and anxious. But he was not is also not sure what is the root cause of his worries. He became sleepless because he fears his thoughts and dreams about the three weird sisters “witches,” he coined these thoughts as “cursed thoughts.” The evidence lies on the 3rd line of Banquo in his conversation with his son Fleance. Which is found below:
“ Hold, take my sword. There’s husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose!”
- Banquo, Act 2 Scene 1
The Tragedy of Macbeth
2. How does Macbeth respond to these “fears”?
In Act 2, Macbeth has a lot of things he fears about. In the opening scene, he is worried about not being caught on his plan to kill Duncan. On the way to his murder, he is concerned with Banquo and the prophecy of the three weird sisters, and then after killing Duncan, he feared the guilt caused by the deed he has done. At first, Macbeth had hallucinations as a response to these fears, but later on, he continued to work on securing the kingship for himself, even to the extent of killing the kill himself.
3. Macbeth’s “dagger” soliloquy does not contribute anything to the action of the play. Why does Shakespeare include it? What does it add to the play?
The dagger soliloquy does not add to the storyline of the play. Still, it is a significant element that describes the emotion and thoughts of Macbeth, as well as a foreshadowing that he will commit a lot of things with the same nature as the story progresses. The dagger symbolizes the conscience of Macbeth, warning him not to proceed with the murder. His conscience was stained after the murder, just like how the dagger was covered with blood after the act.
Act 2 Scene 2
1. Why can’t Macbeth say “Amen”? What does his inability to pray to suggest?
Amen is used to expressing one’s agreement on a matter. Because of his guilt over the death of Duncan and because he knows that God will not spare those who have committed acts like what he did, he was not able to say Amen. His inability to pray suggests that he feels guilty and remorseful of the murder he committed.
2.Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth refer to the blood on their hands. Compare what they say regarding it.
“Whence is that knocking?
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.”
- Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 2
The Tragedy of Macbeth
“My hands are of your colour; but I shame
To wear a heart so white.”
- Lady Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 2
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth felt guilty over the murder they did together. But their reason differs from each other. Macbeth immediately felt guilty over the deed and thought that nothing could cleanse the sin out of him. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth described that she has the same hands as Macbeth, meaning the same sin also stains her. But on the latter, she said that she is ashamed or does not have a heart of the same color as Macbeth, which is white, the symbol of cowardice. She is implying that even though she did the act, she should not feel guilty at all. As the story progresses, we can see that the guilt eventually caught up in Lady Macbeth, and she was driven to insanity.
3. What is Macbeth’s mental state by the end of the scene?
He is disrupted, nervous and troubled. He constantly feels the guilt over Duncan’s murder, but he is also getting paranoid over getting the throne for himself.
Act 2 Scene 3
1. Summarize what Porter says about “drink” (drinking).
The porter claims to have been out late carousing and rambles on about the consequences of alcohol, which he claims cause red noses, drowsiness, and urine. He says that liquor both “provokes and unprovokes” lust in that it makes one desirous while simultaneously taking away the capacity to have sex.
2. Why would Shakespeare include Porter’s speech?
Because the previous scene is too dark and heavy, Porter’s speech is a comic relief to lighten up the story’s atmosphere, even for a bit. It also sets as a symbol that Macbeth’s home is similar to hell.
3. Why does Shakespeare have the characters comment on the “unruly” night?
To add more effects to the story, Shakespeare used the “unruly” night to express that the scene is sad due to the King’s death. The environment was attributed to human emotions.
4. Why did Macbeth kill Duncan’s groom?
He killed Duncan’s groom because he claims that they are the ones that killed him as they are covered with Duncan’s blood. But. in reality, he killed the groom to protect himself and ensure that there is no witness.
5. Why do you think Malcolm and Donalbain fled? Do you think they heard the murder of their father? Why or why not?
They did not hear the murder of their father, but they instinctively knew that their lives are in danger because they are Duncan’s heirs.
Act 2 Scene 4
1. What has been happening since the death of Duncan? Why does Shakespeare include this?
There are a series of unusual things that happened, like the strange behavior of animals and the unpleasant weather over the Kingdom. But, along with this, Macbeth was crowned King. Shakespeare included this to shadow the ascension of Macbeth which will bring consequences later.
Act 3 Scene 1
1. How does Banquo view the fulfillment of the witches’ prophecies about Macbeth? What reasons may he have for not acting upon his suspicions of Macbeth? What does this reveal about his character? Find quotations to support your answers.
Banquo saw that witches’ prophecies are all coming true, including that of Macbeth. He knows that Macbeth is the one that killed Duncan, but he keeps quiet since he knew that eventually, Macbeth would think of killing him and his son. This just shows how wise of a man Banquo is.
“Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all, as the weird women promised and I fear thou played’st most foully for’t. Yet it was said it should not stand in thy prosterity, 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.”
- Banquo, Act 3 Scene 1
The Tragedy of Macbeth
2. What 3 casual questions does Macbeth ask Banquo? Why?
“Ride you this afternoon?”
“Is’t far you ride?”
“Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu,
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?”
- Macbeth, Act 3 Scene 1
The Tragedy of Macbeth
These are the three casual questions Macbeth asked Banquo. He asked those questions because he is planning to kill Banquo and his son. He wants to make sure where to send the murderers. He also reminded Banquo to attend the feast.
3. Macbeth showed great hesitation in the murder of Duncan. Why does he not hesitate in undertaking the murder of Banquo?
There are three reasons I could think of: 1. He is hesitant because he is related and close to Duncan. 2. Duncan is a good king with good qualities. He is well-loved by the people in the Kingdom, and 3. Macbeth is more disturbed during Duncan’s murder because he had to do it by himself. Unlike in the time of Banquo where he can delegate the dirty works to his subjects.
4. Explain clearly why Macbeth is not happy although he has fulfilled his ambition.
He is not happy because he is forever haunted by the guilt and remorse he gained while doing a lot of evil deeds.
5. How does Macbeth persuade the murderers to undertake the killing of Banquo?
He persuaded them by saying that Banquo is their enemy and not him.
Act 3 Scene 2
1. What does Lady Macbeth reveal to the audience in her soliloquy?
She is starting to regret and feel hopeless. They faced more challenges after Macbeth became King. She felt insecure and happy. She also has to carry the guilt for killing Duncan.
2. Macbeth speaks of “these terrible dreams”. What are the dreams referred to earlier in the play? What is the significance of dreams?
Earlier in the play, the dreams are referred to as Macbeth becoming a King. But he will be replaced by the heirs of Banquo. In this scene, Macbeth is heavily disturbed by his conscience and fear that someone will find out what he did. He also fears that someone will kill him. This dreams drive Macbeth’s ambition in life which became his greatest downfall in the end.
3. What is revealed in his scene about the relationship between Macbeth and his wife?
Macbeth sees his wife as a trusted partner and he is affectionate towards him. But after duncan’s murder he changed and that also negatively affected their relationship.
Act 3 Scene 3
1. There is a mystery in this scene. Who is the third murderer?
Ross is the third murderer.
2. In speaking of the escape of Fleance, the second murderer says, “We have lost the best half of our affair.” Explain what he means.
Since Fleance was able to escape, they were not able to complete their task. Macbeth emphasize the importance of killing Fleance, hence it is important for the murderer to kill Fleance as well.
3. In what sense and for what reasons can we designate this scene as the turning point of the play?
This contains the climax of the story because Macbeth hit rock bottom. He does not care on who to kill as long as he keeps the throne to himself.
Act 3 Scene 4
1. What is wrong with Macbeth in this scene? To what does Lady Macbeth attribute his outbursts? Why does she have to take charge of things?
Macbeth saw the ghost of Banquo. She attributed his outbursts as a product of imagination. She has to take charge since Macbeth is not stable and is going hysterical after seeing the ghost.
2. How do we see the theme of “a tooth for a tooth” expressed in this scene and what does it explain about the past arrangement?
These reoccurring apparitions or hallucinations represent the royal couple’s sense of metaphysical dread as they perceive the fatal force of their acts returning to haunt them.
3. Describe the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in this scene, the last in which we see them together.
The relationship is torn apart.
4. Estimate the effect of Macbeth’s behaviour on the assembled Lords?
The behavior he showed caused for other Lord’s to raise suspicions.
5. What is the dramatic significance of Macbeth’s decision to consult the witches?
This scene shows the dramatic change of Macbeth’s character. From someone who is too good to someone who is purely evil.
Act 3 Scene 5
1. Why is Hecate angry with the three witches?
Hectate is the goddess of witchcraft. She got angry with them for telling Macbeth his future without consulting her. Their actions lead Macbeth to his downfall.
2. How does this scene arouse suspense concerning the coming meeting between Macbeth and the witches?
Hectate became the most powerful character in the play. Her presence would mean doomed to Macbeth as she describe her as a “wayward son”.
Act 3 Scene 6
1. This scene primarily provides information about the passage of time and the actions of some of the characters. What do we learn of:
the fortunes of Malcolm
His fortunes have changed but he is living with the king of England as a guest.
2. the action of Macduff
He tried to win the favor of the King of England in order for them to dethrone Macbeth.
3. the further action of Macbeth
He continued to do everything to keep his throne.
4. What do you think are the dramatic purposes of this scene?
This scene is a foreshadowing of the retaliation of Malcolm and Macduff against Macbeth which will eventually lead to Macbeth’s downfall.
Act 4 Scene1
1. What animal parts are chosen for the cauldron and why?
Round about the cauldron go:
In the poison’d entrails throw.(5)
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Double, double, toil and trouble;(10)
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,(15)
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double, toil and trouble;(20)
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,(25)
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe(30)
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab.
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.
Double, double, toil and trouble;(35)
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
2. What is the atmosphere in this scene? Give examples to show how the atmosphere is created?
The atmosphere is eerie. For example, the witches continuously add parts of animals that were dismembered.
3. What do the apparitions of “an Armed Head,” “a Bloody Child,” and “a Child Crowned” mean and foreshadow?
The apparition foreshadows the rebellion of Malcolm against Macbeth.
4. What is the meaning of the eight kings holding a glass?
Means the neve-ending line of Kings descended from Banquo
5. By what means do they inspire in Macbeth a false confidence and lure him on to further evil?
He thought that Malcolm can’t hurt him as he is a man born out of a woman.
6. What part of the prophecy pleases Macbeth? Why? What part disturbs him? Why?
The part where it is said that no one can bring him harm pleases him. While the part where Malcolm appears disturbs him
1. What is the picture of Scotland conveyed in this scene?
Scotland is in troubled times as two individuals are waging war for the throne.
2. What is the dramatic purpose of Macduff’s little boy bantering with his mother?
The scene lets us see the deprived nature of Macbeth. which establishes the rivalry between Malcolm and Macbeth.
3. How does this scene turn the audience to totally desire nemesis (divine retribution) on Macbeth?
The scene lets us see Macbeth with no guilt and remorse. Hence, he needs to experience divine retribution.
1. Why should Malcolm doubt Macduff’s sincerity? Describe how he puts Macduff’s sincerity to the test?
He should doubt Macduff because he has a strong desire to go back to Scotland and he also left his family alone. He puts him in a test wherein he said that Scottland will be worse if he becomes the king.
2. What is the news from Scotland? And, in what way does Macduff take comfort?
Macduff’s wife and child has been murdered.
3. What evidence is there that Malcolm will make a worthy king?
Malcolm is loyal to Scotland and is intelligent.
4. How does Shakespeare, at the end of this scene, enlarge the upcoming battle to the supernatural plane?