Topic: Act I Questions

Act I
Scenes I and II
Identify the two settings for these scenes.
i. deserted place – film shows a tidal plain or mudflat
ii. a camp near Forres – military camp, lots of wounded, some skirrmishes still heard within

How is the witches’ chant different from the major poetic styles of the drama?
“iambic pentameter” = normal character speech rhymes only at end of act, if at all.
“What he hath lost the noble Macbeth hath won”(I,ii,77)
witches’s chant in rhyme, 4 beats per line.
“When the hurlyburly’s done”(I,i,3)
“When the battle’s lost and won”(I,i,4)

The witches’ refrain serves as foreshadowing, as an example of paradox, and as one of the themes of the drama. Quote it.
“Fair is foul and foul is fair”(I,i,11)
“lost and won”(I,i,4)

Locate two similes that contribute to descriptions of Macbeth and Banquo.
“as sparrows, eagles”(I,ii,39) Macbeth is eagle, Norwegians are sparrows
“… or the hare, the lion”(I,ii,39) Banquo is lion Norwegians are hares
“sun ‘gins his reflection”(I,ii,27) Macbeth is the sun after a storm – victory after a battle
“like valour’s minion”(I,ii,21)

Quote a further reference to a quality of Macbeth.
“valiant”(I,ii,26) – courage or determination “carved passage”
“brave”(I,ii,18) – ready to “face Macdonwald” and endure danger or pain
“lavish spirit”(I,ii,65) – Macbeth revels in the gory slaughter of MacDonwald

Scene III
Both Macbeth and Banquo speak of “foul” or “fair” aspects. Give examples.
foul thunder and lightening, fair “upon a heath”
“start at things that sound fair”(I,iii,54)
foul- fighting Scottish, fair fighting Norway.
“So Foul and fair a day I have not seen”(I,iii,39)

Banquo refers to the witches’ prophecies. What are those “predictions” given to Macbeth? Quote the predictions that are given to Banquo.
“happy, but”(I,iii,69)
“beget kings”(I,iii,70)

Macbeth is addressed by Ross as “Thane of Cawdor.” Why?
Ross is most trusted by Duncan with best news
Duncan rewards Macbeth for “brave, valiant, loyal, worthy, cousin”
Cawdor is a big deal reward, because Macbeth has done a big deal. Macbeth defeated Macdonwald(battle 1), Cawdor(battle 2), Norway War 1.

Report Macbeth’s mixed feelings about one of the prophecies of the witches coming true.
“supernatural soliciting cannot be ill; cannot be good”(I,ii,140)
doubts magic/witches are real
paradox either ill or good but how neither?
“unfix my hair”(I,iii,144-5)
“shakes so my single state of man that function”(I,iii,150)

How does Macbeth’s reaction contrast to Banquo’s reaction?
Macbeth: “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more”(I,iii,73)
Macbeth: “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir”(I,iii,154) recall Brutus and Cassius and Portia(she swallowed hot coals)
Macbeth seems stoic but eager to hear more
“rapt withal”(I,iii,60)
Banquo’s reaction:
“new honors”(I,iii,158)
“insane root takes the reason prisoner”(I,iii,88)
“instruments of darkness tells us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.”(I,iii,134f)

Scene IV
To whom does the following quotation refer? “Nothing in his life/Became him like the leaving it.” How is this statement significant for Macbeth?
I,iv,8 Cawdor: witches promise(I,iii,51) and King’s reward is fulfilled(I,ii,75)

As Macbeth talks to Duncan, why does the term “Prince of Cumberland”(I,iv,44) disturb Macbeth?
“step on which I must fall down”(I,iv,55f) Malcolm is in the way.
“full of growing”(I,iv,33) Duncan promised more???

What does Macbeth admit to himself?
(I,iv,55f) “o’er-leap” – admits Malcolm must be removed from office
“black and deep desires”(I,iv,58) – admits removal would need to be evil

Scene V
In her soliloquy Lady Macbeth speaks of Macbeth: “What thou wouldst highly,/That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false.” Restate what she is saying, and explain the irony. As a result of her own observation, what does Lady Macbeth plan to do?
Macbeth would only do honest and brave worthy valiant to get reward, Macbeth won’t lie.
Ironic because he indeed has “black and deep desires”, technically the letter is true, but he has left out his “hair raising” notions.

Identify the major point of Lady Macbeth’s second soliloquy.
“unsex me” (I, v, 44)
women are not evil, she must become evil
“direst cruelty” (I, v, 46)
“stop access to remorse” (I, v, 47)
guilt free ; no conscience ; give up immortal soul

Why does Lady Macbeth tell Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower?”
(I, v, 72)
“your face, my thane, is as a book” (I, v, 70)

Scenes VI and VII
Explain the dramatic irony in Duncan’s statement: “This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air/Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/Unto our gentle senses.”
seems perfect, when he doesn’t know he will die there soon
(I, vi, 1)
future examples of dramatic irony will be more intense
death of Fleance and Macduff’s son

Explicate Macbeth’s next four lines, from “But in these cases” to “inventor.”
golden rule : what goes around, comes around
Banquo’s warning (I, iii, 133)

Report three reasons that Macbeth considers for not killing Duncan.

How does Macbeth explain his desire to be king at all costs?

When Lady Macbeth arrives, how has Macbeth’s intention changed?

Quote Lady Macbeth’s arguments in response to Macbeth’s vacillation.

Report the plan that Lady Macbeth outlines.

How does the last line of this Act, spoken by Macbeth, echo the previous statement of Lady Macbeth?
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know”(I,vii,