1. Give examples of the ways in which Macbeth is a brave and honored soldier at the beginning of the play and discuss why it is so important to the plot of the play that the other characters see him this way and why the witches accost him and Banquo?
2. Explain all the reasons Macbeth wants Banquo murdered and why Macbeth is so upset at Fleance's escape?
Macbeth's valor is seen through the eyes of others when initially described. The audience themselves only know of the great feats he has undertaken as a result of what others say. The first to detail such glory is the Sergeant who talks of Macbeth's prowess on the battlefield:
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,Which smoked with bloody execution,Like valor’s minion carved out his passageTill he faced the slave;Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,And fixed his head upon our battlements.
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis.But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives,A prosperous gentleman, and to be kingStands not within the prospect of belief,No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whenceYou owe this strange intelligence, or whyUpon this blasted heath you stop our wayWith such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you.