Macbeth Act Questions

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This passage provides a strong and dramatic start to the play by introducing us to the three witches, also known as the Weird Sisters. It quickly becomes evident that these witches have malicious abilities and are gathered in an ominous meeting place – where rain falls and lightning strikes nearby. Yet, what truly makes them appear menacing is their synchronized chant regarding a rendezvous with Macbeth, who we previously believed to be righteous. This implies that they may have plans to either kill or influence the protagonist.

The witches also use iambic pentameter, a form of poetry that enhances their chants and intensifies their evilness (ACTA, SC. Ii . 1). Macbeth is first introduced to the audience through an injured captain who reports to King Duncan about the ongoing battle. The captain describes how Macbeth leads the soldiers with aggressive tactics and exceptional fighting skills. Furthermore, the captain praises Macbeth as the bravest man on the battlefield, fearlessly killing enemies with every step he takes.

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Shakespeare employs this technique to enhance the reader’s understanding of Macbeth’s qualities, including his strength, bravery, and violence, without the need for direct introduction. Additionally, the sentence “Doubtful it stood; as two spent swimmers, that do cling together and choke their art” delivered by the injured captain, utilizes imagery to depict the current outcome of the battle. The imagery illustrates two drowning swimmers desperately grasping at each other, struggling to survive, suggesting that death is equally probable for both parties.

In conclusion, the captain believed that the battle could have gone either way for both sides. He compares the uncertainty of the battle to a storm that emerges when the sun rises and brings forth both comfort and discomfort. The captain further describes how the remaining Norwegian troops, who were helping the rebels, regrouped, surprising Dunce’s men who thought they had the upper hand.

The captain elucidates that a storm can arise without warning, even amidst clear and sunny weather. This analogy serves to demonstrate that despite outward appearances of tranquility, unforeseen events can still occur. The aim of this specific scene is to offer understanding into the persona of the Machete. We discover that he hails from Scotland as a nobleman with close ties to the former king, and possesses great valor as a warrior. Within just twenty-four hours, he has vanquished two opposing armies. Single-handedly, he dispatched MacDonald, the Scottish rebel leader, and triumphed over the invading Norwegian forces commanded by Swenson.

Macbeth is acknowledged as the main victor, although he receives help from Banquet, another nobleman. In Act 1, Scene 3, the witches inform Macbeth of his prophecy – that he will become the Thane of Castor and eventually the King of Scotland. Afterwards, they approach Banquet and compare him to Macbeth using paradoxes: greater yet lesser, not so happy yet much happier. Moreover, the witches prophesize that Banquet’s descendants will become kings, with the exception of Banquet himself.

After the departure of the witches, Macbeth and Banquet engage in a conversation about the prophecies they have received. Banquet, acknowledging the wickedness of the witches, decides to dismiss the prophecies as false. On the other hand, Macbeth is lured by the prospect of acquiring power as king and believes that the prophecies are genuine. Recently, Macbeth has learned that he has been appointed Thane of Castor in line with what was foretold by the witches. However, he remains uncertain about the prophecy, describing it as neither good nor bad. He recognizes that he is now on his way to achieving success in becoming king but understands that fulfilling the final part of the prophecy will require him to commit horrendous acts. Despite his hesitations, Macbeth’s speech portrays a man who has just discovered his fate for greatness.

At the same time, the king realizes that achieving these things has scary implications and it’s causing him great inner conflict. In Act l, SC. Iv, he confesses, “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” King Duncan admits that he’s unable to discern true loyalty from a façade of loyalty. He refers to the treacherous former Thane of Castor and then extends the same opinion to Macbeth, whom he believes is even more dependable than any previous thanes.

Macbeth’s statement, “Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires; the eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it is done, to see,” is dramatically ironic. The reader knows that Macbeth cannot be trusted, as he already plans to gain power similar to the former Thane of Castor. This realization occurs when Macbeth learns that if King Duncan dies, his son Malcolm will inherit the throne, thus granting Malcolm the title of

Macbeth expresses his intentions to kill Duncan, the Prince of Cumberland, in order to fulfill his desire for power and position, as foretold by the witches. He reveals this plan as an aside, keeping it hidden from those who trust him. In a soliloquy, Macbeth ironically praises Duncan’s virtues while plotting his murder, highlighting the contrast between his public persona and his true desires.

Dunce’s evaluation of Macbeth as an exceptional relative emphasizes his lack of awareness and susceptibility. He is incapable of discerning genuine allegiance from the mere illusion of loyalty, as demonstrated with the deceitful Thane of Castor and now with Macbeth (Act l, SC. 1). Upon receiving Macbeth’s letter detailing his encounter with the witches and his ambitions for the throne, Lady Macbeth promptly comprehends the importance of their prophetic words. Upon hearing that King Duncan will be visiting Inverness, she decides to assassinate him in order to expedite the prophecy. This exposes their shared longing for power and a strong bond between them. Furthermore, similar to her spouse, Lady Macbeth also covets power.

Lady Macbeth’s willingness to kill Duncan is more evident compared to her husband. Their close relationship enables Lady Macbeth to comprehend Macbeth’s character traits. She acknowledges that he possesses excessive compassion, making him morally incapable of committing murder. Nevertheless, Lady Macbeth easily overcomes this hindrance by formulating a plan to persuade Macbeth into carrying out the deed.

In Act l, SC. Vi, Lady Macbeth’s speech about appearing innocent but planning evil describes the idea of deceiving others. This becomes evident when Duncan praises her, unaware of her true intentions. The irony lies in the fact that Duncan misjudges her, just as he did in a previous scene. In Act l, SC. Ii, Macbeth is disturbed by the consequences he may face in the afterlife for killing Duncan. Killing the king, who is seen as God’s representative on Earth, would be considered the gravest sin. Additionally, Macbeth is uneasy about the difference between his own reputation and public perception of Duncan as a virtuous king. The speech ends with Macbeth imagining Duncan’s virtue and pity being proclaimed as if by angels and cherubim from a storm-filled sky.

Macbeth’s moral confusion is evident as he decides not to kill Duncan and face the consequences from God. This change in his conscience, from planning to kill Duncan to refusing to do so, demonstrates his moral dilemma. Additionally, Macbeth compares King Duenna’s virtues to those of angels, emphasizing his lack of virtues. In order to persuade Macbeth to overcome his fears and morality, Lady Macbeth insults him by questioning his masculinity, stating that she is more courageous than he is willing to be. She claims that she would go to extreme lengths, such as killing a newborn while it is breastfeeding, to achieve her desires.

“What kind of waste was it that made you break this agreement with me? When you dared to do it, then you were a man; and, to be even more of a man than before, you would have been so much more. Neither time nor place were obstacles then, and yet you tried to make them so. They have resolved themselves, and their readiness now diminishes your worth.

I have breastfed children and know how tender it is to love the baby that sucks from me. I would have plucked my nipple from his soft gums and dashed his brains out if I had sworn to do so as you have sworn to this.

She then begins to question Macbeth’s courage and continues: ‘Were you intoxicated by hope when you dressed yourself? Has it since slept? And now it wakes up, appearing so pale and sickly at what it freely did before? From now on, I consider your love to be like that.

Are you afraid to act bravely and courageously, just as you desire? Do you want to have what you desire and be seen as the ornament of life but at the same time live as a coward in your own eyes, letting “I can’t” follow after “I want,” like the poor cat in the saying?

Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth’s manhood fully aware that this is the greatest insult she can hurl at him.”

Lady Macbeth and Macbeth start off the play as a close couple, with Lady Macbeth using her influence to manipulate him into committing murder. In Act II, SC. I, Shakespeare allows the characters to have a conversation about their surroundings. Banquet asks Balance about the night’s condition, and Balance replies that clouds cover the Moon, making it pitch dark. Banquet recognizes the potential danger in such darkness, as even Heaven seems asleep, prompting him to draw his sword. Banquet also shares why he is unable to sleep, feeling abandoned by merciful powers.

Banquet expresses his desire for his troubling thoughts to be controlled during rest, indicating his belief that something negative may occur tonight. He informs Macbeth that King Duncan retired to bed in a positive state, even giving a diamond to Macbeth. However, Macbeth deceitfully claims that they were unprepared for the king’s visit, while secretly planning his murder. Furthermore, Banquet shares a recent dream he had about the three witches and how a portion of their prophecy has already come true. Macbeth once again lies, denying any thoughts of them when in reality he thinks about their prophecy daily.

Macbeth attempts to bribe Banquet, offering him something in return if he remains loyal to him. Suspecting that there may be something amiss with Macbeth, Banquet plays along and agrees to the bribe. The famously quoted soliloquy from Macbeth follows: A) ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. B) ‘Thou marshal’s me the way that I was going, And such an instrument I was to use. C) I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before. D) Now o’er the one half-world nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep.

E) Do not listen to my footsteps, as they might reveal my whereabouts, and take away the horror of the present moment. It is currently fitting for the horror to prevail. ‘ Act II, SC. Ii 1). This question was already completed for homework. Act II, SC. Iii 1) The porter of Machete’s castle, inebriated from the festivities of the previous night, envisions himself as the porter of the gates of Hell. He imagines allowing entry to a farmer who committed suicide due to a failed harvest, an “equivocator” who sinned by making half-truths, and an English tailor who stole fabric to create fashionable attire and visited brothels.

This scene adds comic relief to the play, similar to the porter scene. Lennox’s bawdy jokes distract the audience from the dark atmosphere and Macbeth’s potential guilt. Additionally, Lennox comments on the unusual weather of the previous night when he enters the castle.

The text highlights the apocalyptic nature of the events within the castle, with a catalogue of unnatural occurrences such as high winds, screaming voices, bird sounds, and earth’s remorse. These events suggest a direct connection between the larger universe and the happenings in the castle. Additionally, Macadam associates the deceased King Duncan with religious significance, symbolizing his role as God’s representative. Hence, killing someone of such importance would be seen as an insult to God and the heavens. Macbeth’s consistent use of metaphors may indicate his reluctance to face the gruesome reality.

His words are both highly poetic and immensely revealing of Macbeth’s awareness of the deep ironies. He has not only “murdered sleep,” but also destroyed the very fabric of nature (Act II, SC. Iv 1). The old man describes how the familiar and dependable world has been completely overturned. The named events, such as daylight being replaced by night, an owl killing a falcon (a larger predator), and the king’s horses devouring each other, go beyond natural disasters and instead represent a disruption of the expected natural order.

The witches converse in a manner resembling the old man, but instead of discussing the past, they discuss what lies ahead. 2) Upon hearing Machete’s explanation for King Duncan’s demise, the other lords and nobles start considering the possibility that Malcolm and Donaldson, Dunce’s sons, may have been responsible for their father’s murder. This suspicion stems from their suspicious decision to flee Scotland – Malcolm to England and Donaldson to Ireland. 3) Macadam’s decision to return to Fife rather than attending Machete’s coronation in Scone clearly demonstrates his opposition.

Establishing Macadam as Machete’s eventual nemesis, Act III, Scene I reveals that Macbeth is still unsatisfied with his current role as king. He is bothered by the fact that his descendants will not inherit the throne, as the witches’ prophecy foretold. According to the prophecy, Banquet’s bloodline will produce future kings instead. Furthermore, the introduction of the hired murderers plays a vital role in shaping Macbeth’s character.

His use of others to carry out his unethical actions portrays him as politically influential yet morally feeble. The days when Macbeth would engage in face-to-face combat with his enemies are long gone. Now, he must commit murder from a safe distance, seeking the illusion of protection “something distant from the palace”. This particular scene also ironically juxtaposes the pragmatic reaction of the murderers towards the idea of murder with Macbeth’s conscience-stricken response. (Act, Scene II, Line 1) In the previous killing, Lady Macbeth held the upper hand, but in this instance, Macbeth assumes the dominant role. Macbeth was the one who needed persuasion before; now it is his wife who takes on the weaker role.

Machete’s line “make our faces viziers to our hearts” echoes Lady Machete’s earlier words “to beguile the time, look like the time.” Additionally, Machete’s instruction to the spirits of darkness to “Come, selling night” parallels Lady Machete’s beginning speech of “Come, thick night” in Act III, Scene III. The murder of Banquet holds no value for Macbeth because he wishes to sever his connection to the world. Similar to Lady Macbeth’s previous desire to rid herself of femininity, Macbeth now longs to be free from his own humanity.

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