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Macbeth

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Jordan Thomas

on 2 September 2012

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Transcript of Macbeth

Macbeth Character Study Macbeth Lady Macbeth “Yet do I fear thy nature: It is too full o’ the milk of human-kindness to catch the nearest way” (Act 1 scene 5 lines 16-18)

“Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round”(Act 1 scene 5 lines 25-28)

> What does Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy reveal about her character, her plans for Macbeth, and her ambitions? She feels she must find 'valor' in her tongue to persuade Macbeth to abandon those scruples which prevent him from seizing the crown

- Her ambition stems from selfishness: she wishes to manipulate Macbeth so she can become Queen

She aims to supply the passion necessary to persuade and motivate him to murder Duncan

- Her ambition is devious and thoughtless
- She is blinded by the desire for power, she does not consider the repercussion of murder

> Agree or Disagree Finding Meaning Digging Deeper Macbeth is reluctant to commit the murder:“We will proceed no further in this business.”

Lady Macbeth’s angry response clearly refers to the ever present theme of ambition:

> “Was the hope drunk. Wherein you dress’d yourself?” (Act 1 scene 7 lines 35-36)
> "Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire?" (1.7 39-40)
> "When you durst do it, then you were man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man" (1.7 49-51)

She mocks her husband’s lack of courage and in a chilling image declares she would do anything if she had made a promise to Macbeth. What does this show about her character? Guilty or not? Act 1 Scene 7 sheds light on Lady Macbeth's true intent: her words in the scene are both uncanny and cogent (persuasive)

> Stabbing rhetorical questions that include the words 'coward', 'man' and 'beast'
> She pushes the idea that she would murder him if she was in his position and made a promise: uses the inhuman image of a woman who dashes out the brains of her suckling child
> These questions and words challenge Macbeth's manhood and push him to accept the notion that he must kill Duncan to prove himself as not just a man, but also a loyal husband

What do you think? Do you believe Lady Macbeth's selfish and thoughtless ambition makes her as guilty as Macbeth? Yes or No? Why? Brave exterior: "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution..." (Act 1, Scene 2, 17-20)

> Macbeth is depicted as a strong, courageous war hero in the beginning scenes, before even making an appearance

> Exterior courage is juxtaposed with self-doubt and consuming ambition once the three witches enter the fore Inner Conflict: "Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter" "If ill, why hath it given me earnest of success commencing the truth? I am Thane of Cawdor" (Act 1, 3, 130-132)

> Macbeth considers the words of the witches, noting the truth they spoke as Ross just notified him that he had been named the Thane of Cawdor.
> He appears to swoon in his bewilderment at the sudden coincidences - the notion that he could be King seems tantalizing to him and his ambition

"If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, and make my seated heart knock at my ribs..." (Act 1, 3, 133-135)

> Macbeth is frightened by the suggestion, his self-doubt becomes apparent. He is conflicted deeply, and considers the anxiety he feels as a sign of disbelief Honor vs. Ambition Lady Macbeth: "Your hand, your tongue; look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't" (1.5, 63-64)

Macbeth: "First, 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." (1.6, 13-16)

> Macbeth is deeply troubled by the notion of murdering Duncan despite Lady Macbeth's influence. His words state the importance of honor and loyalty to him as well as respect for the King

"I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent but vaulting ambition" (1.7, 25-27)

> Macbeth's ambition is still alive within him. Agree or Disagree? Guilt "In the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly; better be with the dead whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, than on the torture of mind to lie in restless ecstasy." (3.2, 19-22)

> Macbeth struggles with the overwhelming guilt he feels from murdering Duncan. He becomes increasingly isolated and suspicious of others.

"To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus! - Our fears in Banquo stick deep; and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared" (3.1, 47-49)

> Macbeth is consumed by suspicion. His conquest for security pushes him to suspect Banquo and he begins plotting and has him murdered. His main concerns: "royalty of nature" (Loyalty), he has a "dauntless temper" (Courage), and he has "a wisdom that doth guide his valor" (Wisdom & Valor).
> He lists the sons of Banquo after these original fears - Why is this important?

Macbeth is a victim of fear and suspicion; his ambition lies not with securing power, but rather his fear of his murderous ways being discovered. Agree or disagree? Banquo > Banquo is a General in the army under Macbeth
> Seen in contrast to Macbeth, sometimes as an opposing force

Displays caution and wisdom in the first Act: "The instruments of darkness tell us truths; Win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequence." (Act 1.3, 123-125)

Compared to Macbeth who Banquo believes is 'rapt' or entranced by the witches: "That he seems rapt withal" (Act 1.3, 57)

> What does this comparison tell us about Banquo? What does this tell us about Macbeth? The Three Witches (Weird Sisters) - Represent darkness, chaos, and conflict as both agents and witnesses

> The Three Witches cause 'mischief' which stems from their supernatural powers OR their understanding of character weaknesses of those they meet. Which do you think? Both?

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air" (Act 1, Scene 1)

> Sets the tone of the play: moral confusion Role of the Witches What is the primary role of the Three Witches throughout the play?

> Predict that Macbeth will be King, and Banquo's children will also become King's

Do the Three Witches have supernatural powers or a deep understanding of character flaws? Do they manipulate Macbeth using his ambition?

“Double, double, toil and trouble, / Fire burn and cauldron bubble” (4.1.10–11)

> Separates them from the other characters, who mostly speak in blank verse. They are depicted as almost comical with malevolent nursery rhymes.

Why does Shakespeare use rhyming couplets for their lines and not others? "Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth, beware Macduff! Beware the Thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough." (4.1, 70-71)

> Macbeth asks the Witches for guidance, and they summon apparitions (Spirit of Banquo) which infer Macduff to be a threat

"Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks; Thou hast harped my fear aright." (4.1, 72-73)

> The Three Witches play on Macbeth's fear and use it to manipulate him Manipulation Lennox: "Macduff is fled to England."
Macbeth: "Fled to Engand!" (4.1, 142-143)

> Soon after Macbeth receives the warning about Macduff, news of his travel to England reaches his ear. Similar to Ross bringing the word of Macbeth being named Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth then embraces the premonitions warning.

Macbeth: "The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to the edge o'the sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line...

"...No boasting, like a fool; This deed I'll do before this purpose cool."

> Macbeth orders the murder of Macduff's entire family after contact with the Three Witches.
> Why does Shakespeare use a rhyming couplet for Macbeth during this stage? Is there a reason?
> If it were not for the Three Witches, would Macbeth have considered murdering Duncan? Would he have murdered Macduff's family? Would he had ever been killed? Toppling a King The Good Guy "In the great hand of God I stand; and thence / Against the undivulged pretence I fight / Of treasonous malice" (2.3.130-132).

> An "undivulged pretence . . . of treasonous malice": a secret conspiracy by the evil forces of treason.
> Banquo is saying that standing in the hand of God will give him the strength to fight against these evil forces.

What does this tell us about Banquo's character? Is he honorable? Loyal? Wise?

What implications does this line have in regards to his relationship with Macbeth? Bad Dreams "Hold, take my sword ... Take thee that too" (Act 2.1, 4-5)
> Gives his son, Fleance, his sword and dagger right before Macbeth enters the scene. Macbeth murders Duncan right after their discussion.

"Cursed thoughts that nature / gives way to in repose!" (Act 2.1, 5-8)
> Has been having issues sleeping due to 'cursed thoughts'.

Two prevailing opinions:

1. Banquo has been having dreams of assisting Macbeth in the murder of Duncan. In this reading, he hands his sword and dagger to his son to prevent such an act.

2. Banquo has been having dreams of Macbeth murdering the King and fears him, and thus takes the sword and dagger back upon his approach. "As the weird women promised; and I fear thou playedst most foully for't" (Act 3.1, 3)

> Banquo is suspicious of Macbeth, and how he gained the throne. What does this tell us about Banquo?

"But that myself should be the root and father of many kings... Why by the verities on thee made good may they not be my oracles as well and set me up in hope?" (Act 3.1, 5-10)

What does this line from Banquo's soliloquy tell us about his priorities? Is he primarily concerned about pursuing his concerns about Macbeth?

Has a transition in Banquo's character occurred? Has he been poisoned by the prospect of power?

When the witches summon apparitions later, why do you believe Macbeth sees Banquo? The Poison of Power Learning Objectives 1. Expand upon important characteristics of major characters in the play

2. Explore the connection between major characters, relating them back to important concepts and themes that are prevalent throughout the play
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