What are good discussion questions for Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act I, scene iv?        Thank You

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare's Macbeth provides a great deal to discuss.

One discussion question might be:

By their speech, what characteristics do the men reporting Cawdor's execution believe the Thane showed which the men would have found admirable, even though the man was a traitor?

Second question:

What does...

"There's no art

To find the mind's construction in the face" (I, iv, 12-13)...

mean, and why is this comment ironic, based upon Macbeth's private thoughts in his "aside" (shown below),

The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step

On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,

For in my way it lies. Stars, hid your fires;

Let not light see my black and deep desires...? (I, iv, 48-51)

Next question:

Explain the significance of Duncan's words to Macbeth, as he returns from the battlefield:

I have begun to plant thee, and will labor

To make thee full of growing. (I, iv, 28-29)

Last question:

Duncan makes a great to-do over Macbeth, heaping extensive praise upon him as they return from battle, in lines 14-21, and again in lines 28-29.

Duncan also praises Banquo, but only briefly (lines 29-32).

Based upon what we know already of Macbeth and Banquo, and what we learn of Macbeth by the end of the scene, which man is more deserving of the King's praise? Support your response with specific examples from the play.

[Make sure to check the line numbers provided here: different versions of the play sometimes use different numbering of lines.]

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