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Lit. Paper 1: Changing Heroism in 'Macbeth'

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Paul Hanson

on 31 October 2017

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Transcript of Lit. Paper 1: Changing Heroism in 'Macbeth'

Changing Heroism in 'Macbeth'
Select the best quotations to show how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth evolve across the play.
Act One Scene One
What is, by far, the most important line in the opening scene?
Act One Scene Two
The first time we hear him, Macbeth is presented as a hero. Find the best evidence of this and how his heroism is contrasted with Macdonald's treachery.
Act One Scene Five
Can you find evidence of Lady Macbeth's unheroic and unnatural behaviour?
Act One Scene Seven
Find evidence of Macbeth's cowardice and trying to talk himself out of killing King Duncan.
'Fair is foul, and foul is fair.'

Yet, why?
[Captain, speaking of Macbeth] 'Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name.'

[Captain, on Macdonald] 'merciless Macdonald'

[Captain, on Macdonald's reliance on good luck] 'Showed like a rebel's whore'

[Captain, speaking of Macbeth] 'Like Valour's minion carv'd out his passage/Till he faced the slave'

[Captain, speaking of Macbeth] 'he unseam'd him from the nave to th' chaps/And fix'd his heads upon the battlements.'

[Duncan, speaking of Macbeth] 'O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.'

Duncan: 'Dismay'd not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo? / Captain: 'Yes, as sparrows, eagles, or the hare, the lion.'

[Captain, speaking of Macbeth] 'they were/As cannons over-charg'd with double cracks; So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.'

[Lady Macbeth, speaking of Macbeth] ‘yet do I fear thy nature/It is too full o' the milk of human kindness/To catch the nearest way’

Lady Macbeth: ‘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!’

Lady Macbeth: ‘make thick my blood/Stop up the access and passage to remorse/That no compunctious visitings of nature/Shake my fell purpose’

Lady Macbeth: ‘Come to my woman's breasts,/And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers’

Lady Macbeth: ‘Come, thick night/And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell/That my keen knife see not the wound it makes/Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark/To cry 'Hold, hold!'
Act One Scene Seven
Find evidence of Macbeth's cowardice and Lady Macbeth attacking his masculinity.
Should Stayed A Hero
Find evidence of the effects of the murder on the two tragic protagonists.
Changing Heroism
Shakespeare suggests from the start that the natural order of things will be reversed throughout. Can you think of any evidence?
[Macbeth on killing King Duncan] ‘If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well/It were done quickly’

[Macbeth on killing King Duncan] ‘we but teach/Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return/To plague the inventor’

[Macbeth on killing King Duncan] ‘this even-handed justice/Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice/To our own lips.’

[Macbeth on killing King Duncan] ‘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.

[Macbeth on killing King Duncan] ‘I have no spur/To prick the sides of my intent, but only/Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/And falls on the other.’
'We will proceed no further in this business'.

'Was the hope drunk / Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept since?'

'I dare do all that may become a man; / Who dares do more is none.'

'When you durst do it, then you were a man.'

'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.'
[The witches] 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair.'

[Lady Macbeth to Macbeth] 'Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under't.'

[Macbeth to Lady Macbeth] 'False face must hide what the false heart doth know.'

The Final Showdown
Find evidence of Macbeth's return to bravery, if not to heroism in Act Five Scene Eight.
'But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” Stuck in my throat.' (2.2)

'Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep'. (2.2)

'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?/ No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red.' (2.2)

'Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.' (3.2)

'Out, damned spot! out, I say!--One: two: why, then, 'tis time to do't.--Hell is murky!--Fie, my lord, fie!' (5.1)

'The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne'er be clean?' (5.1)
'Why should I play the Roman fool, and die/ On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes/ Do better upon them.'

'Turn, hell-hound, turn!'

'Accursed be that tongue that tells me [you are not of woman-born] For it hath cow'd my better part of man!'

'Then yield thee, coward'

'I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff, / And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"'

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