The Macbeth graphic novel I have in class has the original
text. The pictures of the characters to the side are from this adaptation.
They also make it in plain text. Click the link above and you can read:
Act II i, Act II ii, Act III v, Act V iii
for free. Better yet, buy a copy for yourself from Amazon.
EXTRA CREDIT: Get a 100
daily grade by reading one of the web sites above and then explaining
iambic pentameter to a parent or guardian. You will prove to me that you
did this by having them write on a sheet of paper:
My child read the web site and explained to me the wonders of iambic
Then have them sign it. Make sure your name is on there too.
Symbolism plays a major role. Look for clothing symbolism.
Here is an example:
After Macbeth is first addressed as Thane of Cawdor, he is confused
The Thane of Cawdor lives; why do you dress me In borrowed robes?
Another example would be when Banquo talks about how
stunned Macbeth is to be called Thane of Cawdor:
Look, how our partner's rapt.
New honors come upon him
Like our strange garmets, cleave not to their mold
But with the aid of use.
In other words, just as new clothes don't quite fit like
old broken in ones, Macbeth doesn't seem like he fits the Thane of Cawdor
Another example is after Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that
he decides not to kill Duncan:
We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honored me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
After seeing Macbeth struggling with his conscience,
he says this which shows that Macbeth should not be king:
Now does he feel his title
Hang loose upon him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
In other words, just as a giants robe does not fit a
dwarf who stole it, the grandness of kingship does not fit the lowly
There are others. See if you can spot them as you read.
Macbeth, in my opinion, is the best of Shakespeare's works.
One thing you should be aware of is that the play is cursed - or so
Extra Credit Opportunity:
Write a one page paper on the curse of Macbeth including things
that have happened while the play was performed in the past.You can
listen to a podcast from Stuff
You Missed in History Class that tells you all kinds of information
on it. You can skip the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds if you want to
get right to the meat of the information. The podcast is only 20 minutes
long. The paper will give you a test grade and if you get a piece of
paper signed by a parent saying that you listened to the whole podcast,
I'll put in a 100 daily grade.
During this time, the audience would know exactly what was going on
during the scene with the witches. King James was was king during this
time and he was very interested in the occult. During Shakespeare's
time, anywhere from 4,500 to 8,000 women were burned at the stake as
King James was a witch hunter himself. He had an incident
that put fear of withces in him. On a return trip from Norway in which
King James had picked up his bride, the ship ran into many troubles.
Several women were arrested and charged with trying to sink the ship
using witchcraft. King James personally attended the trial. They told
him that they indeed did try to sink the boat and that they had sailed
out into the ocean on sieves (noodle strainers). King James did not
believe this tale until one of them told him, word for word, what he
had said to his bride on thier marriage night. This spooked King James
so bad that he made sure they were killed. In fact, one woman was found
innocent, and King James persuaded the jury to reconsider. They did
and she was found guilty. All were executed. You can see where Shakespeare
used this story in the play.
King James wrote a book about witches called Daemonologie,
which describes the evil that witches do, how to recognize a witch,
and some remedies for their spells. This book sparked a revolt against
witches, much like our Salem witch trials that came later. Churches
even had boxes under the pews so that anonymous witch accusations could
be made. Most of these accusations resulted in a woman being tortured
until she confessed. Then she would be burned at the stake.
Unfortunately for Shakespeare, King James was NOT happy
about the witches in the play and banned it.
Find out more about the witches at What's
It All About. Get an extra credit
quiz grade by listing 10 things you learned from this blog post.
EXTRA CREDIT - What is
the name of Lady Macbeth? It is not in the play, but it is the name
of the real Lady Macbeth! Worth one quiz grade.
EXTRA CREDIT - What
is wrong with the following picture? Worth one and a half daily grades.
(click to see it bigger)
EXTRA CREDIT - Explain
the symbolism in the picture below. Worth a quiz grade. (click to see
Twice in Macbeth you have songs mentioned (Act
III, iv and Act IV, i). Both times the song was probably stuck in the
play by someone other than Shakespeare. They are most likely the same
songs used inthe play The
Witch by Thomas Middleton. Here are the words to the songs.
"Come Away, Come Away"
[WITCHES]: Come away, come away,
Hecate, Hecate, come away. HECATE: I come, I come, I come, I come,
With all the speed I may,
With all the speed I may,
Where's Stadlin? [STADLIN]: Here. HECATE: Where's Puckle? [PUCKLE]: Here. [WITCHES]: And Hoppo, too, and Hellwain, too;
We lack but you, we lack but you.
Come away, make up the count. HECATE: I will but 'noint, and then I mount.
A spirit like a cat descends.
[WITCHES]: There's one comes down to fetch his dues,
A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood,
And why thou stay'st so long
I muse, I muse,
Since the air's so sweet and good. HECATE: Oh, art thou come?
What news, what news? [MALKIN]: All goes still to our delight,
Either come or else
Refuse, refuse. HECATE: Now I am furnish'd for the flight.
Now I go, now I fly,
Malkin my sweet spirit and I.
Oh, what a dainty pleasure 'tis
To ride in the air
When the moon shines fair
And sing, and dance, and toy, and kiss;
Over woods, high rocks, and mountains,
Over seas, [over misty] fountains,
Over [steeples,] towers, and turrets,
We fly by night, 'mongst troops of spirits.
No ring of bells to our ears sounds,
No howls of wolves, no yelps of hounds,
No, not the noise of water's breach
Or cannon's throat our height can reach.
No ring of bells, etc.
HECATE: Black spirits and white, red
spirits and grey,
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.
Titty, Tiffin, keep it stiff in.
Firedrake, Puckey, make it lucky.
Liard,Robin, you must bob in.
Round, around, around, about, about,
All ill come running in, all good keep out. FIRST WITCH: Here's the blood of a bat. HECATE: Put in that, oh, put in that. SECOND WITCH: Here's libbard's bane. HECATE: Put in again. FIRST WITCH: The juice of toad, the oil of adder. SECOND WITCH: Those will make the younker madder. HECATE: Put in; there's all, and rid the stench. FIRESTONE: Nay, here's three ounces of the red-hair'd
wench. ALL: Round, around, around, about, about,
All ill come running in, all good keep out.
This is an excellent character
web that really lays out who each character is and what their relationship
to each other is. I kept it here on the test review instead of up in
the character listing because it has spoilers in it. Thank you, Ms.
Mattera, for this!
In 2003, my class did a movie version of the last act of Macbeth set
in Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings). It was hard, but so much fun and
the movie turned out great. However, I no longer have a copy of it and
that makes me very sad.
was written for King James (the same as the one who commissioned the
King James Version of the Bible). King James was really into the occult
and the fantastical. This why there are so many spells and witches.
This play is based on history (from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles).
Find an online version of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles and list out
what is different and what is the same in the two accounts. Boost the
worth of the project by doing it on poster board with pictures and decorations
that match the play and time period. Could be worth major quiz grade
or test grade.
EXTRA CREDIT -
What is Macbeth's real Gaelic name and what was his nickname (The ____
King)? Worth 2 daily grades.
All Scottish clans have a tartan (a plaid design) as their family emblem.
Here is the tartan of the real Macbeth.
I have heard that this is the scariest version of teh play out there.
If you watched the three versions of the wtich scene back up in Act
I, this is the one that has the witches as nurses. You may recognize
Patrick Stewart (Professor X of teh X-Men).
Extra Credit Opportunity:
Read this post on Mental
Floss. Summarize each of the six points mentioned on a Google
Doc and share it with me for an extra Daily grade and a half.
Calling all Whoovians!
What did the Doctor have to do with Macbeth? You tell me!
Watch episode 2 of season 3, "The Shakespeare Code" and complete
this Deus ex Machinaassignment.
Extra Credit Opportunity - You've
seen several memes on this page (my favorite one is the Thane of Fife
one). Make one yourself (I should not be able to Google search and find
the one you are submitting). Be clever. Use knowledge of the play. Make
me laugh out loud. Worth 1 quiz grade - 2 quiz grades if I laugh out
Year: 1040 AD (so note that this takes place after the
Romans leave but before William the Conqueror comes in - Alfred the Great
has mostly unified England, but that does not include Scotland). In England,
King Edward the Confessor is in power (remember our 1066 notes).
This is my best grasp of where all the places in Macbeth
Click the map to see it bigger.
meet the three witches. Through their talking, we see that there is a
battle and they will meet with Macbeth.
We spent some time learning about iambi pentameter, yet here the witches
start off the play and anyone can plainly see that there is no iambic
pentatmeter here. The witches speak in trochaic tetrameter with
rhymed couplets. The rhymed couplets simply means that every
two lines rhyme. The trochaic tetrameter means that you have eight syllables
in each line. You can hear the difference every time the witches talk.
It sounds sing-songy with a DUM da DUM da
DUM da DUM da rhythm. Sometimes they leave off a syllable,
which you'll notice if you count out the syllables.
You can see the scene from this page of the graphic novel (click it to
see the image bigger):
Graymalkin and Paddocks are names of their pets. Graymalkin is a cat
and Paddocks is a toad.
Watch three different screen versions of this scene. This first is traditional.
The second two are more modern takes on the play.
This get a bit confusing with all the thanes and the MacThis and MacThats
involved. Basically, King Duncan is fighting a war. The Thane of Cawdor
has betrayed the king and is revolting. Banquo and Macbeth have gone off
to meet this threat and have run into Macdonwald (an Irishman) who is
fighting on Cawdor's side. It is a bloody battle. The key point (besides
setting the scene) is to show Macbeth's fighting skills. Meanwhile, Sweno,
the King of Norway, is attacking as well. The other soldiers come in to
report how that fight is going.
The line to the king goes: Prince then Thane of Cawdor. Since there is
no prince, the Thane of Cawdor is the heir to the throne.
What is all this for? To let us know two things:
Macbeth is a good guy who kicks serious butt on the battlefield
Macbeth is now the Thane of Cawdor (a promotion), but he doesn't know
The witches come in and through their talking we can see how incredibly
evil these hags are (that poor guy whose wife wouldn't share her chestnuts!).
They meet with Macbeth and greet him three ways:
Thane of Glamis (he is already this),
Thane of Cawdor (which we know Macbeth is, but Macbeth doesn't (dramatic
They tell Banquo that he will have descendents as kings. When Ross and
Angus come and pronounce Macbeth the new Thane of Cawdor, both he and
Banquo start thinking about the other prophecies the witches told them.
Pay attention to the fact that the witches began scene i with, "fair
is foul and foul is fair." When Macbeth is about to meet the witches,
he says, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." He is talking
about it being a glorious day because the traitor was killed but it is
foul weather. It is interesting that they use the same words.
shalt get kings, / though thou be none."
Important Line: "If
chance will have me king, why / chance may crown me without my stir."
Malcolm (Duncan's son) is named Prince of Cumberland and now becomes
the heir to the throne over Thane of Cawdor.
The king invites himself to Macbeth's castle to celebrate the victory
and his promotion.
Up until this point, Macbeth felt that Fate might make him king without
his 'stir.' This means that he felt that he might become king by doing
nothing different. Now, however, he feels that he might need to take action.
Lady Macbeth gets a letter informing her of what has happened so far.
She expresses concern that Macbeth will not be able to take the quickest
route to kingship because of his kindness. She is an evil woman (ah, but
I am redundant...)!
We start with the King and others in front of Macbeth's castle. Lady
Macbeth greets them at the door. The King talks nice about her, she talks
nice about the king, blah, blah, blah. The king enters the castle.
The king's words here are very ironic as he compliments the look of the
castle as a pleasant place to stay.
Dinner is already underway and Macbeth has left the dinner table to talk
to himself. Macbeth is having second thoughts. The idea of murder to him
is much different that the idea of slaying enemies on the battlefield.
He thinks about the lose of his salvation in this action and then begins
to think about someone trying to kill him later.
Lady Macbeth enters and scolds him for leaving the dinner table. She
then scolds him for having second thoughts, questions his manhood, and
tells him that if she had promised to do an evil deed for him, she would
do it, even if it were to bash her baby's head against a rock.
Macbeth still questions about the possibility of failing but Lady Macbeth
assures him that they will not fail.
This scene really gives the image that most people think of when they
think of Lady Macbeth.
Answer these questions:
Macbeth is alone on stage and speaking aloud. What literary term is
What three reasons does Macbeth give for not killing the king?
What does Macbeth tell Lady Macbeth in line 31?
What does Lady Macbeth say she would do for Macbeth if she had promised
to do it?
Who will be framed for the murder of Kind Duncan?
What has Macbeth decided about murdering King Duncan at the end of
The importance of this scene is to set the now evolving relationship
between Banquo and Macbeth. This also gives us our first inkling that
Macbeth is having some mental problems (that is what lines 33 - 61 are
It is unclear, but it seems that Banquo suspects the possibility of Macbeth
murdering the king. He says that he will always be loyal to Macbeth as
long as he can do so and stay innocent.
I am reading that long soliloquy by myself, I will want to make sure I
know that there really isn't an actual dagger magically floating in the
air. It is Macbeth with some serious internal conflict over killing King
Interesting fact - the murder happens
off stage, but in the Roman Polanski film, it is shown in graphic detail.
Polanski's wife and unborn child had been brutally murdered by Charles
Manson's group and he had this scene re-enact their deaths.
Possible quiz questions for scene i
Who is with Banquo before Macbeth enters?
What does Banquo dream about?
When Macbeth asks Banquo if he will support him, what is Banquo's
What imaginary object does Macbeth see?
What is the signal to let Macbeth know the guards are drunk and passed
If you think about who this play was written for, you'll probably understand
why the murder happens off stage.
How would direct this? So you show an imaginary dagger or not? This version
chooses not to show it.
Lady Macbeth explains the plan (again, for no reason since she is all
At this point, King Duncan has kicked the bucket (or rather, Macbeth
has kicked it for him), but Lady Macbeth doesn't know that and hse starts
to think that Macbeth has failed even though she set everything up for
him. When Macbeth comes in, he's being all loud and he's very much so
freaked out. He passed by someone's room when they were praying and he
tried to say, "Amen," in repsonse, but he couldn't so he figures he is
damned for all eternity.
The bloody hands imagery here is big in posters for productions of Macbeth.
Owl's hooting are thought to foretell death.
I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murder sleep"
Important line: "A
little water clears us of this deed."
Possible quiz questions for scene ii:
Lady Macbeth says she would have killed Duncan herself, except he
looks like ________
Macbeth can't say _________
Macbeth thinks he hears someone yell out that Macbeth has murdered
_________ (no, not Duncan)
Macbeth forgets to do what?
Macbeth thinks he will never be able to do what with his hands again?
This scene is from the 1971 movie by Polanski. Polanski's pregnant wife
had just been murdered by Charles Manson's group. He used this scene to
mimic her death struggles.
After such a serious scene, Shakespeare gives a bit of comic relief.
Here, he shows the porter (a servant) trying to open the door. The porter
is drunk and imagines that he is opening the gates of hell. Not slap-stick
comedy, but a light hearted moment. Some say that the porter is the devil
himself and that is why the play is cursed. Note the lack of iambic pentameter
when the drunk guy speaks.
Finally he opens the door for Macduff and Lennox, two noblemen. Macbeth
comes in and talks to the noblemen. They have come to get King Duncan.
They talk about how rough the night was. They mention several things of
importance that happened the night before. They are:
Harsh winds - enough to blow over chimneys
Strange noises - the wind sounded like crying and death screams
Eerie voices that sounded as if they were prophecying
Owls hooted all night long (remember the symbolism)
The earth shook as if it had a fever
Remember the theme of the land and the king are one from Excalibur?
Macduff goes in to wake the king and discovers him murdered. This sets
off a chain of events:
They wake everyone up
Lady Macbeth acts all innocent and sad
Lennox claims that the guards killed Duncan, so Macbeth, in a false
sense of rage, goes and kills them for it (and thus silencing anyone
who can say differently).
Lady Macbeth faints (to draw attention away from Macbeth's murder
of the guards)
Malcolm and Donalbain figure if someone killed their dad, then they
must be next, so they split (Malcolm to England and Donalbain to Ireland).
is outside of Macbeth's castle. Ross and an old man are talking about
the disturbances in nature last night. They mention:
it is still dark even though it is morning
a falcon is killed by a mouse-hunting owl
Duncan's horses went wild and ate each other
Macduff reveals to them everyone is suspicious of Malcolm and Donalbain
being behind the murder, but since the guards were killed by Macbeth,
nobody will ever know for sure. Macduff does NOT go to see Macbeth get
crowned. Remember that.
These signs once again show the unholy act of the king's murder.
In the castle, Banquo ponders that Macbeth's prophecy has come true,
even if he may have used some foul play to get it.
IMPORTANT: Macbeth reveals to us that he fears Banquo. He begins to replay
the events of the witches in his mind and convinces himself that Banquo
has been jealous of his kingship all along. Then he begins to get angry
that he is damning his soul for Banquo's children, since the prophecy
states that Banquo will be the father of kings.
IMPORTANT: He calls for two murderers to review plans
to kill Banquo and Fleance.
Too bad Macbeth never thought about it this way:
Possible quiz questions:
This scene revolves around Macbeth's fear of Banquo. Does Banquo think
his friend really murdered Duncan?
Does Macbeth know where Malcolm and Donalbain are?
Who does Banquo travel with?
Macbeth says in line 66, "For them the gracious Duncan have I
murdered." Who is "them"?
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth talk. She scolds him for thinking about Duncan
still. He claims that his worry is with Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth calls
her "chuck" - a name like "babe" or "sweetheart."
He tells her she doesn't need to worry about anything. He's got it covered.
Interesting Fact: Queen Jezebel from I
and II Kings is often referred to as the Lady Macbeth of the bible since
she too goads her husband into doing things that he should not.
Possible quiz questions:
Is Lady Macbeth happy?
What does Macbeth ask Lady Macbeth to do to Banquo?
How much of Macbeth's plan for Banquo does Lady Macbeth know?
THREE murderers show up to kill Banquo and Fleance even though Macbeth
clearly only hired two. This is not a mistake on Shakespeare's part. They
succeed in killing Banquo but fail in killing Fleance. Fleance flees.
Ha! Get it? Flees! I crack myself up.
The third murderer is up for debate. Who is he? There are several possibilities
(not all of them good, but each intriguing):
a guy hired to make sure the first two did their job
Macbeth (to make sure the job was done properly)
Lady Macbeth (to make sure that Macbeth's plans work, especially after
his repeated worrying in the last scene)
Somebody Lady Macbeth hired (for the same reason as above)
one of the witches trying to make sure that Fleance escapes.
A minion or dark spirit of the witches for the same reason
Hecate, goddess of witches, for the same reason
One of the Thanes
Malcolm or Donalbain
Does it matter? Not to the plot of the story, but it does make for interesting
thinking. You will be asked to be able to answer this question:
Who is the third murderer? Provide one example from the text to support
This weird scene of Macbeth yelling at Banquo's ghost gives us more insight
on Macbeth's mental state. Three questions come up:
Is the ghost real? No one else sees it.
Is the ghost an apparition sent by the witches to torment him?
Is the ghost just part of Macbeth's imagination (maybe if Macbeth
is the third murderer, it is the gory image of his best friend that
he can't get out of his mind)?
What really matters here is Macbeth's obsession with the absence of Macduff.
He has good reason to worry at Macduff's continual absence. He reveals
that he has spies everywhere and will find out the information. He also
says he will consult the witches again.
Important line(136): I am in blood / Stepped in so far that, should
I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
This means that Macbeth feels that he has now done so much evilness
(waded in so far into a pool of blood) that it would be easier to continue
through rather than try to make things right.
Important Line: "Thou
canst not say I did it. Never / shake your gory locks at me."
Interesting fact - Macbeth is now talking
in first person plural (we, us, our) rather than first person singular
(I, me, mine). This is because kings represent all of their country,
so they always use the plural point of view.
Possible quiz questions:
What bad news does the murderer give Macbeth?
How many times did they stab Banquo in the head?
Who is sitting in Macbeth's seat?
How does Lady Macbeth play off Macbeth's actions?
Who doesn't come to Macbeth's party?
Macbeth reveals that he has what in every noble's house?
The three witches gather around Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. Hecate
is really upset that they are meddling with Macbeth.
Hecate is the goddess of witches (among other things) and she is often
shown with three faces.
Many scholars say that this scene was never in the original, but added
later by someone else. One of the reasonings is that this scene is not
needed. Another is the difference in the rhyme scheme and line length.
Here the witches speak in iambic pentameter and trochaic tetrameter.
The witches sing a song here titled, "Come Away, Come Away."
You can find the lyrics to it on the side bar of this page, or by just
The three witches appear. They dance around a cauldron and put in several
items. Hecate comes in and praises them and leaves again. Don't read the
translated version of the chant. It is some of Shakespeare's finest poetry.
The first witch puts in
an hallucinogenic ingredient (toad poison). The second witch puts in
parts of animals, but it really may just be gross names for ordinary herbs
(Eye of newt = mustard seed, toe of frog = buttercup, wool of bat = holly
leaves, etc.) (source) The third witch puts in
the weird stuff - odd animal parts and parts of unchristian humans (the
worst may be the figner of a baby that was delivered in a ditch by a prostitute
who then strangled it).
Here's the scene as done by the Anamaniacs, with a less than proper translation
Macbeth comes and demands them to tell him more of the future. Four apparitions
An armed head - Beware
A bloody child - No
man born of woman can harm Macbeth!
A crowned child with a branch in its
hand - Macbeth cannot
be conquered until the forest around his castle (Birnam Wood) moves
to attack the castle (Dunsinane)
So Macbeth is feeling pretty good. As long as the last two prophecies
hold true, there is nothing to worry about.
But wait! There's more...
The ghost of Banquo leading a processions
of kings, the last one with a mirror to show that the line goes on(it is Banquo's
descendants who will be king, not his). This is yet another suck up
attempt by Macbeth since King James is supposedly from the line of Banquo.
Two more interesting things in this scene:
Lennox walks on stage just as the witches leave. By all rights he
should have seen them, but he doesn't. Are they illusions in Macbeth's
mind or did they just choose to show themselves to Macbeth only and
stay invisible to Lennox? Macbeth has been known to see things before.
However, we know the witches were real at the beginning because Banquo
Who comes in after the witches say, "By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes"? Yep. Our boy Macbeth is seen
as wicked by the three weird sisters. When these chicks think YOU'RE
the evil one, you seriously have to rethink your life choices.
Macbeth is obviously happy with these prophecies. How can a man not be
born of woman. He's set. Unless....Nooo!!!!
Interesting fact: Ray Bradbury also used
the line, "Something wicked this way comes," as the title
for a book.
The witches sing a song here titled, "Black Spirits."
You can find the lyrics to it on the side bar of this page, or by just
Interesting fact: The words
that the witches speak in this scene are used to make the song sung
by the Hogwarts choir in Prisoner of Azkaban. Listen
to it on You Tube.
Interesting fact: The words,
"Double, double, boil and trouble," are used by one of the
Capulets in the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet. Plus three pionts
on your Macbeth test if you can tell me his name. It is the
Phoenix Gas scene.
It is here that we see that Macduff is acting on his suspicions of Macbeth.
However, he did not make plans to protect his wife and family. Why? Did
he think that Macbeth was not on to him? Did he think that Macbeth would
be scared to invade his home castle? Whatever he was thinking, it was
wrong as Macbeth indeeds sends murders to kill his family.
Things to consider when reading this chapter:
The boy and Lady Macduff keep making bird related puns back and forth.
Who, if anyone, survives?
Does going after Macduff's family make Macbeth worse or is it justified
considering what would probably happen to Macbeth's family if/when Macbeth
This is where Macbeth crosses the Rubicon.
Possible quiz questions:
Why does Lady Macduff say that Macduff "loves us not?"
Who is there to comfort or protect Lady Macduff, but leaves?
Malcolm says he would not make a good king. Here are some reasons why:
he is more evil than Macbeth
he is lustful and will "deflower" all the women in Scotland
he is greedy and will take all the lands away from the nobles for
he will try to start a war in Scotland
Malcolm is actually none of these things, so why would he tell Macduff
Ross comes in and tells Macduff that everyone in his house is dead.
King Edward (with his "healing hands") agrees to spare some
forces to help Malcolm get his throne back. This is the same King Edward
the Confessor that we learned about when we talked about the events of
Possible quiz questions:
Who is king of England?
What is one reason that Malcolm says he will not be a good king?
This is a big scene in the play. The sleepwalking scene.
students really struggle with this scene. To help you understand it better,
you need to know that the gentlewoman (a lady servant) is talking to a
doctor about Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking habit. Apparently she does this
often and she always does the same things - ask for a light and pretends
to wash her hands.
While sleepwalking this time, she reveals her concerns about Lady Macduff
and she confesses her guilt to the murder of Duncan.
For all intents and purposes, she is giving a soliloquy. She is revealing
her innermost thoughts and feelings. She does not know that she is being
watched by the gentlewoman and the doctor. For that matter, she does not
know that she is even talking since she is asleep.
Does this change your feelings toward Lady Macbeth? Does this show that
she does have a conscious or is it just karma?
Some people say that the messenger that warns Lady Macduff in the previous
act may have been Lady Macbeth in disguise. They say this because there
is already talk about the third murderer being someone in disguise, Lady
Macbeth does not ever appear in a scene with Lady Macduff, and she seems
very upset that Lady Macduff is dead.
Take note that Lady Macbeth is not speaking in iambic pentameter in this
scene. For that matter, neither is the gentlewoman or the doctor. This
stresses the disharmony of Lady Macbeth's soul.
Important Line - "Out,
damned spot! Out I say!"
Important Line - "The
Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now? -- What, will these hands
ne'er be clean?"
Interesting fact: In an attempt to make
Shakespeare more family friendly, a chap by the name of Thomas Bowdler
put together a censored version of his plays called Family Shakespeare.
He cut out about 90% of the stories and changed the language quit a
bit. Lady Macbeth's famous "Out damned spot!" was changed
to "Out crimson spot!"
In a field outside Macbeth's castle, several Englishmen and several Scottishmen
assemble to to battle against Macbeth.
Inside of Macbeth's castle, Macbeth rants and raves about how he is not
scared of those who come against him since they were all born of woman.
A servant comes to tell him of the coming army and Macbeth pounds him
for being so scared.
Macbeth talks big, but how does he really feel? We've already learned
about iambic pentameter in class. Watch what happens when you scan the
lines that Macbeth speaks when he is talking to the doctor in this scene:
See how off the scanning is? When a trained Shakesperean
actor reads these lines, they will sound slightly off, showing Macbeth's
a bit scared..
outside army hide in Birnam wood, the forest outside of Macbeth's castle,
Dunsinane. Malcolm orders every soldier to cut off a branch and hide behind
it to conceal their numbers as they approach the castle.
Third prophecy comes true.
A moment of silence for Lady Macbeth.
That's enough. Macbeth delivers a speech showing that he believes he
has been played by fate. A messenger comes in and tells Macbeth that the
forest is marching against the castle! Macbeth is furious and calls for
all to get ready for battle.
This speech Macbeth gives is one of the most quoted speeches in Shakespeare.
It shows that he has not and will not realize that this is his fault.
He clings the fact that life is unfair.
Important Line -"She
should have died hereafter.
There would have been time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Extra Credit Opportunity: List ten things you learned
about these lines from this blog
post for an extra credit quiz grade.
Macbeth clearly is clinging to the man born of woman prophecy.
Here is how you would probably see this on stage. Macbeth and Young Siward
do their thing on the balcony (not to be looked as as a balcony, but as
somewhere inside the castle). Macbeth exits. Macduff runs onto the stage
(looked as in front of the castle) and rants about revenge and the hauntings
of his wife and children. He leaves the stage (and enters the castle).
Malcolm and Siward enter the stage (still the outside of the castle),
talk and then leave to enter the castle.
Possible quiz questions:
Who does Macbeth kill?
Who is determined to be the one who kills Macbeth?
What does it mean when Malcolm says that "We have met with foes/
That strike beside us"?
professes that he will not commit suicide to avoid the enemies.
Macbeth and Macduff fight in what should be a massive fight scene on
stage. They pause in the fight to trade words with each other and resume
the fighting. Macbeth is wary of Macduff because of the first prophecy,
but not too much so since the second prophecy woudl rule him out. That's
when Macduff drops the bombshell of how he was not born of woman (I won't
tell you how here, you'll have to read to figure that out - all three
of my children are capable of fulfilling the prophecy, so it is nothing
Important Line:"Why should I play the Roman fool and die / On mine own sword?"
Important Line: "If
thou be'st slain by no stroke of mine, / my wife and children's ghost
will haunt / me still."
Interesting Fact: The "Roman fool"
line is Shakespeare plugging one of his plays (Julius Casear)
where a Roman, out of guilt for his actions of killing a leader falls
upon his sword on purpose to commit suicide.
Possible quiz questions:
What does it mean to "Play the Roman fool"?
How does Macduff fit the "No man born of woman" prophecy?
When Siward is told of his son's death, what is he concerned about?
It is the "Had he his hurts before?" question.