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Many scholars consider Lady Macbeth a representation of pure evil, while others consider her
one of Shakespeare’s most human and multi-faceted characters. Each time we hear Lady
Macbeth, take note of her positive and negative characteristics. You should also briefly explain
what she says or does to make you describe her in this way.
Positive Trait
Negative Trait
IMPORTANT SOLILOQUY #1: “UNSEX ME HERE” (1.5.28-45)
SHAKESPEARIAN:
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. 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. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
TRANSLATION:
IMPORTANT SOLILOQUY #2: “IF IT WERE DONE WHEN ‘TIS DONE...” (1.7.1-28)
SHAKESPEARIAN:
If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly. If the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague th' inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked newborn babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on th' other.
TRANSLATION:
Will There Be Blood?
Use quotes and proper citations from Macbeth’s soliloquy AND your Essential
Vocabulary terms to help explain the reasons in your own words.
Macbeth’s Reasons FOR the Murder Macbeth’s Reasons AGAINST the
Murder
The Tragedy of Macbeth, King of Scotland
Cast of Characters
Act I
1st Witch ………..___________________________
2nd Witch ………..__________________________
3rd Witch …………__________________________
King Duncan……..__________________________
Malcolm .………..___________________________
Sergeant………….__________________________
Lennox ………….___________________________
Ross ……………..___________________________
Macbeth….............___________________________
Banquo……………__________________________
Angus ………........___________________________
Lady Macbeth………_________________________
Messenger………….._________________________
ACT I: IMPORTANT QUESTIONS & QUOTES
1a.) What is the purpose of Act I, scene i? (There are several.) Give SPECIFIC
EXAMPLES of how this goal is accomplished.
1b.) Examine the excerpt where the wounded general informs Duncan and his men that
Macbeth approached the “merciless Macdonwald” and “unseam’d him from the nave to
the chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements” (1.2.9-23). Consider the way that
“brave Macbeth,” war hero of _______________, killed the leader of the Norwegian
army. Discuss with your group whether you feel Macdonwald’s demise was appropriate,
or gratuitous (unnecessarily violent). Do you think this act foreshadows anything about
Macbeth’s personality?
2.) What are the three greetings the Weird Sisters (witches) use to hail Macbeth when he
arrives?
3.) What crime did the original T.O.C. commit that caused a “job opening” for Macbeth?
4a.) What are the three predictions that the witches have for Banquo? (Use direct
quotes.)
a) _________________________________________________(1.3.___-_____).
b)_________________________________________________(1.3.___-_____).
c) _________________________________________________(1.3.___-_____).
4b.) What do the first two predictions have in common? (Check your list of Macbeth
literary devices.) They are both __________________.
5.) What role/purpose does Banquo serve in The Scottish play? (You may use the
acronym I gave you to help you in your explanation.)
6.) “That, trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you onto the crown,
Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ‘tis strange;
And oftentimes to win us to our harm
The instruments of darkness [witches] tell us truths,
Win us over with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence” (1.3.120-5).
a. Which character spoke these lines?
b. Summarize the quote.
c. What does it demonstrate about the speaker and the person to whom he is speaking?
7.) “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me
Without my stir” (1.3.143-4).
a. Which character spoke these lines?
b. Summarize the quote.
c. What does this quote tell you about the speaker?
8.) "There's no art
to find the mind's construction in the face.
He was a gentleman on whom I built
an absolute trust" (1.4.12-4).
________________________________________________________________________
a. Which character spoke these lines? About whom is he speaking?
b. Translate the quote.
c. Why is this quote important - what does it tell us about the speaker?
9.) [Aside] “The Prince of Cumberland!
That is a step on which I must fall down, or else overleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires ...” (1.5.48-51)
a. Which character spoke these lines? About whom is he speaking?
b. Translate the quote.
c. Why is this quote important - what does it tell us about the speaker?
10.) “Oh, never
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters.
To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue. Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t. He that’s coming
Must be provided for; and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch,
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom” (1.5.61-71).
a. Which character spoke these lines?
b. Translate the quote.
c. What does this quote tell us about Macbeth, Lady M, and their relationship?
d. What MAJOR THEME of the play is expressed in this quote?
e. Name the literary devices that are used in the bolded sections of this excerpt.
Bolded excerpt #1: ___________________
Bolded excerpt #2: ___________________
11.) “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way” (1.5.15-18).
a. Which character spoke these lines? About whom is he/she speaking?
b. Translate the quote.
c. Why is this quote important? What does it tell us about Lady Macbeth, and her
perception of her husband?
12.) “This castle [Inverness] hath a pleasant seat. The air/Nimbly and sweetly
recommends itself/Unto our gentle senses” (1.6.1-3).
a. Which character spoke these lines?
b. Translate the quote.
c. Why is this quote important - what does it demonstrate about the speaker?
d. What literary device is present in this excerpt?
13.) What was the Rule of Tanistry and what did it entail?
14.) What is Macbeth’s hamartia, or tragic flaw? How do you know? Use at least two
quotes as EVIDENCE to support your CLAIM.