Macbeth Act I Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Act I Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What atmosphere is established in Scene 1?

2. How does Banquo describe the Witches when he first sees them upon the heath?

3. Macbeth is reported to be a valiant soldier in Act I. The line, “Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chops And fixed his head upon our battlements”, paints a different Macbeth. What can you infer from that line?

4. In Scene 1 the Witches say, “Foul is fair and fair is foul.” Which characters do you consider fair or foul?

5. Why do you think Shakespeare opened Scene 3 with the Witches discussing an evil deed they have committed?

6. What prophesies do the Witches make for Macbeth and Banquo?

7. What does Lady Macbeth mean when she says of Macbeth, “Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way”?

8. Macbeth is having second thoughts about killing Duncan. What are the reasons he gives? Based on these reasons what does he decide?

9. What does Lady Macbeth mean when she says, “Was hope drunk Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since? And wakes it now to look so green and pale”?

10. What decision does Macbeth make at the end of Act I? What has Lady Macbeth said to influence his decision?

Answers
1. The scene is filled with Witches, thunder and lightning, which creates a dark and sinister atmosphere.

2. He calls them “withered” and “wild” in their attire; “That they look not like the inhabitants o’ the’ earth;” and that they “should be women...yet [their] beards forbid [him] to interpret that [they] are so.”

3. Macbeth is a cold-blooded killer on the battlefield.

4. The Witches are foul because they are evil. Macbeth and Banquo seem to be fair because of their loyalty and bravery. However, Macbeth reveals his plan to murder Duncan and his character is viewed differently. Lady Macbeth is foul. Macdonwald is foul because he is a traitor. The Captain and Duncan are fair because the Captain fought bravely and the King supports him and is compassionate regarding the Captain’s injury.

5. The Witches are capable of creating situations that are evil and destructive. However, their powers are limited as they...

(The entire section is 560 words.)