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Answers to Macbeth Study Sheet

Act I

2. Literally, this means what is good is bad and what is bad is good. This is the introduction of one of the main themes of the play - appearance vs. reality.

3. Macbeth's reputation is that of a brave, loyal man. "For brave Macbeth"

4. Macbeth's prophecy is that he will become king. Banquo's prophecies are that he will be "greater than Macbeth yet lesser," "not so happy yet happier," and that his sons will be kings but he will not be king. Macbeth is startled, then demanding. Banquo is rather amused at first, but would like to know his own prophecies.

5. Look at the side notes - "Complete belief in the witches may arouse in you the ambition to become king." Banquo is warning Macbeth against the instruments of darkness.

6. Macbeth is considering whether the prophecy of him becoming king is good or bad. He worries about the idea that he has already thought about killing the king. "whose murder yet is but fantastical"

7. He is speaking of the old Thane of Cawdor. This is Duncan's fatal flaw. It is ironic because just as Duncan trusted the old thane, he is trusting Macbeth, the new thane, and Macbeth is also a traitor.

8. Malcolm, the Prince of Cumberland, is the heir to the throne. If Macbeth wants to be king, he must get rid of Malcolm.

9. Lady Macbeth is a woman who knows what she wants. She wants her husband to be king! She is willing to make deals with the instruments of darkness - Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty. She wants to be more like a man, not nurturing, not remorseful. She is afraid that Macbeth is too kind to murder the king - Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o'the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.

10. She is telling Macbeth to look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it. In other words, put on a happy face but think murder. This is the fair is foul line!

11. Lady Macbeth is greeting Duncan and company to her home. It is ironic because she is making nice when, in reality, she is planning his murder.

12. He feels that Duncan is there as his cousin and his king and his guest. All of these are reasons that he should protect Duncan not kill him. Plus, Duncan is a good, kind, gentle king, not some tyrant who deserves to die.

13. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he has been honorer lately and he would like to enjoy the honor. It is a materialistic reason not the idealistic reasons he has just given himself. Could it be that he believes she would not accept moral reasons?

14. This line suits Macbeth because he will have to be nice to the king while he is planning to kill him. Macbeth was this way in scene 4, too.

15. Lady Macbeth will get the guards drunk and when they pass out she and Macbeth can kill the king.

16. Macbeth hopes that Duncan will give him some sign that he will become the future king. Duncan, however, proclaims that his eldest son, Malcolm, will be the heir.

17. Shakespeare introduces the theme of appearance vs. reality in the first scene with the witches (when the battle is lost and won; fair is foul . . .). He continues the theme with the first words out of Macbeth's mouth - So foul and fair a day I have not seen. He keeps it up by constantly showing the conflict in Macbeth's character between what he wants and what he knows he should do; between how Macbeth acts and how he really thinks; with lines like "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it" etc.

18. Shakespeare developes Macbeth's character by making him a complex man. At first we see him as a brave, loyal general. In the very next scene, we see him react to the witches hailings and react to the realization that they were so far partially correct. We see him struggle with the desire to be king, the possibility of murder, and the relief that maybe nothing needs to be done. We see Macbeth constantly waver between his ambition and morality.

19. Growth imagery is just introduced here in Act I. The first time we see it is when Banquo addresses the witches. Then we see it when Duncan says "I have begun to plant thee ..." So far, it has been a positive image directed toward Banquo.

Clothing imagery is also introduced. We see it for the first time after Macbeth is addressed as the Thane of Cawdor - "Why do you dress me in borrowed robes." It gives the feeling of something that is not quite right. At the end of scene 3, Banquo says, "New honors come upon him, like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold but with the aid of use." Again the feeling is one of something that is not quite right.