Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 472
1. Macbeth struggles with his conscience and the fear of eternal damnation if he murders Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s conflict arises when Macbeth’s courage begins to falter. Lady Macbeth has great control over Macbeth’s actions. What tactics does she use to gain control over him? Cite examples from Act I. Does she solve her conflict through her actions? Cite examples from Act I.
2. Shakespeare begins Macbeth with Witches talking on a barren stretch of land in a thunder storm. This creates a certain atmosphere and mood. What images contributed to the evil atmosphere? Do you feel this mood continues through Act I? Did the actions and dialog of the main characters reinforce this atmosphere?
1. The Witches are characters that have a powerful impact on the play, but have very few lines. Banquo says that he cannot sleep because he is thinking about them. Macbeth says that he has not thought about them at all. How do the characters of Macbeth and Banquo differ and what influence have the Witches had on each character?
2. Macbeth is alone while Lady Macbeth returns the bloody daggers when he says, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.” Lady Macbeth returns will blood on her hands as well. What does the blood symbolize? Cite examples from the play.
1. There is a turning point in Act III, Scene 4. What is that turning point and how do you think Macbeth will respond throughout the rest of the drama? Cite examples from the play.
2. Compare and contrast the murders of Banquo and Duncan. How does the murder of Banquo show the change in Macbeth?
1. What is the symbolic purpose of each prophecy the Apparitions state in the play? What interpretation can be drawn from the way each are dressed. Do you feel there is a hidden meaning? Cite examples from Act IV.
2. Act IV, Scene 2 is the only scene Lady Macduff is in. Why do you feel Shakespeare chose to have the murder in the scene instead of having it reported, as with Duncan’s murder?
1. Describe Macbeth’s reaction to Lady Macbeth’s death. Compare his reaction to the reaction he had after the murder of Duncan.
2. Elaborate on the importance of the scene when Lady Macbeth says, “Out damned spot! out, I say! One; two. Why then ’tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our pow’r to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” This scene illustrates a change in the character of Lady Macbeth?
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