1. The fantastical and grotesque witches are among the most memorable figures in the play. How does Shakespeare characterize the witches? What is their thematic significance?
2. Compare and contrast Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo. How are they alike? How are they different? Is it possible to argue that Macbeth is the play’s villain and Macduff or Banquo its hero, or is the matter more complicated than that?
3. Discuss the role that blood plays in Macbeth, particularly immediately following Duncan’s murder and late in the play. What does it symbolize for Macbeth and his wife?
4. Discuss Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations. What role do they play in the development of his character?
5. Is Macbeth a moral play? Is justice served at the end of the play? Defend your answer.
6. Discuss Shakespeare’s use of the technique of elision, in which certain key events take place offstage. Why do you think he uses this technique?
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Macbeth (No Fear Shakespeare)
Macbeth (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)
Macbeth and the Witches Essay
1011 Words5 Pages
Macbeth: The Witches’ Responsibility for Macbeth’s Actions
The three witches that are introduced at the beginning of the play are responsible for the introduction of the ideas that caused Duncan’s death and Macbeth’s destruction but not for Macbeth’s actions themselves. They recount to Macbeth three prophecies; that Macbeth will be: 1) Thane of Cawdor, 2) Thane of Glamis, and 3) King. Macbeth welcomes the ideas spawned from the witches’ prophecies, which is what triggered the spiral of events in this story. Macbeth eventually followed through with killing King Duncan. It was sometimes thought that the witches had the ability to reverse the natural order of things. This brings to the play the idea of fate and the role it has in the play.…show more content…
Lady Macbeth is partly to blame for the manipulation and the encouragement she gave Macbeth to do her evil deeds. Lady Macbeth is shown early in the play as an ambitious woman with a single purpose. She can manipulate Macbeth easily. This is shown in the line "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear" (1.5.26). She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. Before the speech that Lady Macbeth gives in Act I, Scene V, Macbeth has decided not to murder Duncan. However, Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth’s self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery. This convinces Macbeth to commit regicide. Her manipulation of Macbeth is like a child who is easily guided. Lady Macbeth knows this and acts on it. Although Macbeth has the final say in whether or not to go through with the murder, he loves his wife and wants to make her happy. Lady Macbeth is the dominating individual in the relationship, which is shown in her soliloquy in Act I, Scene V:
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, form the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, stop up th’ access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between th’ effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall, you