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What are some good passages in Macbeth to annotate?This is for a class assignment. I...

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soccerfan55 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM via web

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What are some good passages in Macbeth to annotate?

This is for a class assignment. I need to analyze the meaning of the passage as well as define certain words' according to what they meant in Shakespeare's time. Literary elements must also be analyzed. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
Please provide the page number if you suggest any passages.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:49 AM (Answer #1)

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To reinforce the previous answer (good choice), you should also add from Act I Sc v(44-45) :

...Come to my woman's breasts

And take my milk for gall,..

The symbols of nurturing that she feels hamper her ability to be 'strong' and fulfil her purpose, can also be used to her advantage and to further her cause - to help Macbeth act more fittingly and be a 'man.' She will give him all the strength he needs (my milk for gall).

This is a good passage to analyse because it confirms her wickedness - how could something so revered, so good (ie breast milk) be used for such a purpose!It seems that her womanly attributes which should bring out the best in her, serve only to bring out the 'beast' in her. It is a fact that women do use their 'wiles' to get what they want from their man (husband, boyfriend) but there is usually no harm in it.We all try to 'persuade' our partners to our way of thinking.  But in this case her way is so destructive and yet her man is persuaded!!!! Apparently, we have far more power over our men than we may have realised. Most of us, though, would not use it like her although historically, women have  persuaded men to do some pretty horrific things on their behalf.

And Act I Sc VII v(59 - 60)

Macbeth: If we should fail?

Lady M: We fail!

But screw your courage to the sticking place, / And we'll not fail....

Lady M is clearly the driving force and consistently reassures Macb of this. If he stays with her,as a team, they are invincible.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:38 PM (Answer #2)

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If you go to the eNotes study guide for Macbeth and click on "eText", there is a modern version of the play that runs vertically on the right, parallel to the original version. Also, in the original version, some words are underlined. Hover the cursor over them and they will be translated to the modern equivalent. 

Here is an example from Act I, Scene V. 

                             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, 
Stop up the access and passage to remorse, (I.v.41-45) 

In this passage, Lady Macbeth asks the spirits (witches or spirits in general) to unsex her, meaning to remove her feminine qualities so that she might be more like a man, more macho and inclined to action. She asks to be remade into someone who will not feel remorse. In other words, she is psyching herself into becoming a murderer. In this quote, "blood" is symbolic as the conduit for the emotions and moral thoughts. If her blood is thickened, guilt and remorse will not have access to her heart/mind. Lady Macbeth feels she must unsex herself to the point at which she is incapable of feeling. 

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