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Macbeth Act V
Transcript of Macbeth Act V
1. See Lady Macbeth's famous invocation to the spirits (I. v. 39-55.). Describe Lady Macbeth's character. What is she like at the beginning of the play? Does she show any evidence of tenderness? Discuss the reversal of gender roles between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. How would you compare the two characters? How does Lady Macbeth change in the play's second half? Discuss Lady Macbeth as Macbeth's doppelganger.
2. Discuss the following characters as doubles of Macbeth: Duncan, Malcolm, Banquo, the Thane of Cawdor, and the King of England. How would you compare each character to Macbeth? If we interpret these characters as reflections of various facets of Macbeth's personality, what facet would each character represent?
Duncan is basically Macbeth before his aspirations took a hold of him. They were both great, honest and noble men. Duncan can easily be compared to the Macbeth towards the beginning of the book. Malcolm and Macbeth both showed their dedication to their country. They will do whatever it takes to help their homeland. Macbeth is similar to the Thane of Cawdor in the way that they eventually both turned against Duncan. They also both felt remorse for being traitors. '"That very frankly he confessed his treasons implored your Highness' pardon, and set forth a deep repentance," (I.iv 6-10). They both felt guilty.
3. Discuss the definitions of "manhood" proposed by characters throughout the play. Contrast Malcolm's and Macduff's views of manhood (see IV. iii. 213-235). Does Malcolm's view of manhood seem to contradict his earlier description of himself (see IV. iii. 125-132)? What is Lady Macbeth's definition of manhood (see I. vii. 35-59)? How does Macbeth espouse this definition in his conversation with Banquo's murderers (see III. i. 75-142)? Does Macbeth find this definition of manhood viable by the end of the play? How has his "manly" behavior reduced him to the level of a beast?
5. Look like th' innocent flower,
But be the serpent under 't. (I.v. 61-65)
Lady Macbeth is coaching Macbeth on how to trick people. She wants him to act as a kind and good man but truly be sneaky and ruthless. I believe Lady Macbeth was one of the reasons he committed the crimes he did. One can see the undying love Macbeth has for Lady Macbeth when he receives the news of her death in act 5. This truly shows that some people are so blinded by love that they will do anything to please the one they love.
4. How did each of the witches' prophecies come true?
The first prophecy was to beware of Macduff. This was shown when Macduff killed Macbeth. The second prophecy was that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth," (IV.i 91-92). This was held to be true when Macduff was able to kill Macbeth because he wasn't technically born of a woman. He was the product of a Caesarian section. The final was that "Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him," (IV.i 105-107). This came true when Malcolm and Macduff's army took sticks from Birnam and carried them as a form of camouflage, thus, moving the woods. At this point, Macbeth's fall was inevitable. Therefore, all of the witches' prophecies came true.
9. Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
clean from my hand?
10. Where we are,
There's daggers in men's smiles. (II.iii. 126-27) or (II.iii 164-5)
11. If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favors nor your hate. (I.iii. 58-61)
12. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee. (II.iii 51-52)
13. Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
And put a barren scepter in my gripe [grip], (III.I. 61-62)
14. By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes: (IV.I. 42-43)
15. Be bloody, bold, and resolute! Laugh to scorn
The pow'r of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth. (IV.I. 77-79)
16. Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers
enow [enough] to beat the honest men and hang up them.
Lady Macbeth's first sign of guilt appears here after murdering Duncan. Neptune, being the god of oceans, does not have enough water to wash out all the “blood” from her hands because it (the act) leaves a permanent stain on her. This "blood" represents the guilt she is plagued by. Because water symbolizes purification, she knows this act of violence and treachery will never be washed away by any good act.
Here, Malcom and Donalbain speak of departing after their father's murder. The "daggers in men's smiles" symbolize the way people act innocent and even friendly to one's face but are doing this only to hide the dagger, or malicious goal, behind the welcoming attitude. The two would be in danger at all times had they stayed around these men and not fled.
Banquo pleads that the Weird Sisters tell him about his future. He is, in a way, testing to see if they really are capable of foretelling but he is curious at the same time. He hides his curiousity by saying he is indifferent about knowing.
However, he actually should fear their profession because he end up dying for it. Here, the two take their predictions less seriously than they should have because they're optimistic about their misinterpretations.
Macduff has just found the dead king. He is so in shock of what he has just seen. He can't find the words to describe the scene. Everyone was shocked. No one saw this coming and nobody knew who could have kill the innocent king.
6. 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 (V.v. 24-28)
Jonalee Hilsden, Lauren Moghimi, Peace Mutwiri, Delaney Nowlan
7. My first false speaking
Was this upon myself. What I am truly,
Is thine and my poor country's to command:
8. He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
And sundry blessings hang about his throne (IV.iii. 157-58)
After the death of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is overcome with sorrow and grief. He emphasizes the nothingness of life and questions the importance of one's existence. Humans are no longer glorified as masters of the earth but are rather swallowed and buried in the earth they attempt to conquer. Despite one's continuous attempts to gain wealth and honor, none of it shall ever amount to any significance because man cannot take the riches they acquired in life beyond their death. Consequently, man's attempts to act prestigious and as if one has it all together will never bring forth any sense of victory and satisfaction.
Macduff's son fails to understand his mother's perspective regarding his treacherous father. Nevertheless, Macduff's son brings to attention the ignorance and blindness of mankind. Rather than encouraging moral principles, perhaps mankind should glorify liars and cheaters for no one has been able to maintain a kind heart without harming those around them. Furthermore, because mankind is unable to escape failure, perhaps one should bask in their failures and condemn those who live otherwise. In this sense, the majority of the human race will be labeled as liars and cheaters who can easily undermine their morally secure opposition.
"...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! make thick my blood
...Come to my women's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers..."
During the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits that they may rid her of her femininity. Lady Macbeth recognizes that she will be unable to proceed with the murder with a kind heart, and consequently, adopts wicked ideologies. She is continuously characterized as a strong and courageous, yet malicious character whose only motive is to increase her glory and wealth. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth recognizes her gender roles during this time period but fails to conform to them in order to assert her authority. Meanwhile, her husband continuously doubts his actions and fails to serve as the strong foundation of the household. However, near the end of play, Lady Macbeth is haunted by her evil deeds while her husband indulges himself in the blood of what once were his companions. Both Macbeth and his wife crave for a greater position in society and consequently, never experience any form of satisfaction. This dissatisfaction moves the two to commit the murder of King Duncan. However, Lady Macbeth's constant attempts to imitate her husband's cruelty result in her death and Macbeth's failure as king.
Macbeth has no heirs because he has no children so the fruitless crown and barren scepter represent that. In many cultures, if a women could not produce a child, especially a son, it was frowned upon. It's crucial for the crown to have children to keep royalty in the family.
Why do you think Lady Macbeth is now so disturbed by the murder after convincing her husband to pursue it?
Here is where Macbeth misinterprets the apparition and has an unfortunate amount of confidence. He is murdered by Macduff, who was not necessarily woman-born because his mother had a c-section. This is representative of the witches' misleading fortunes that cause the audience to feel pity for the ignorance of the interpreter.
Throughout the play, the King of England is continuously glorified in order to please King James, the current King of England during Shakespeare's lifetime. The king's ability to prophecy and heal the sick is used to emphasize his divinely appointed rule. Not only is he praised by his subjects, but he is also glorified by the heavens. The king is so immensely blessed that his gifts shall be passed along to his offspring and his concerns regarding the throne shall diminish.
At one point in the play, Malcolm says to " dispute [the death of Macduff's family] like a man," (IV.iii 259). He believes that the manly thing to do is to suppress all emotions. On the other hand, Macduff believes that men can feel and express grief. His family was just slaughtered and he has taken to blame himself. Some would believe that it takes a true man to admit they were wrong and to apologize and grieve for what they did. However, what Malcolm says contrasts slightly in the way he described himself. He talked about being passionate though he disagreed with showing passion. He also speaks strongly of his dedication and how horrible it is to break an oath. But in the other conversation he practically tells Macduff that it is okay that he broke the sacred oath to his family in order to save his country and get revenge. As for Lady Macbeth she believes that a man will do whatever it takes to aid his family. She believes that a man is strong, powerful, and will not break an oath or promise; especially a promise he gave to his wife. Finally, there is Macbeth. Macbeth speaks of men in a general way. He talks of their 'species' and how each man or type of man is ordered on the list based on their qualities. He makes reference to dogs being ordered the same way. He uses this to convince the men to kill Banquo, in order to be as manly as himself. By the end of the book, he is no longer honorable and great. He has been withered down to an inhumane beast who will eliminate anyone needed to secure his success.
This quote is said by the second witch during the creation of the hell broth. This quote gestures to Macbeth as something wicked. It is used as a way to almost foretell even more evils Macbeth will accomplish, for example, the slaughtering of Macduff's family by command of Macbeth.
This was spoken by Malcolm to Macduff. It is the point in act four scene three where Macduff has just had an outburst caused by the atrocities Malcolm said he would do if he were king. The quote is used to clear up his lies. Malcolm admits that he has lied, but this is his first one. He only lied to confirm Macduff's honesty and dedication to Scotland. He also states that he is ready to serve his country proudly. Some people in this world will do anything in order to protect the country they love.
How did the characters' views of manhood shape who they are as people?
Did any character have the wrong ideas about manhood?
Do you believe the witches' prophecies were inevitable? Could there have been a way to prevent them? Why do you believe Macbeth disregarded the prophecies?
Is there such a thing as an appropriately used lie, or a lie used for a good cause? Would this be a case of a properly used lie?
Is Macbeth truly evil or wicked? Do you think his wickedness is his true self, or the kind and honorable man at the beginning was?
Why do you think evil deeds are generally associated with males?
Do you think Macbeth blames himself for the death of his wife? If so, why?
Why is the King glorified for his abilities to prophecy while the witches are condemned for the same act?
Why do you think good morals are valued so highly in today's culture?