Macbeth Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Act 4

Act 5

Act 1
What are the witches planning at the beginning of the act? They are planning on meeting with Macbeth.

What does the Captain report about the battle to Duncan? He reports that Macbeth has fought bravely and has defeated the enemy.

What title is given to Macbeth for bravery in the battle? Thane of Cawdor.

What happened to the original Thane of Cawdor and why did he lose his title? He was executed because he had betrayed his country.

How do the witches greet Macbeth after the battle? They greet him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and as future King.

What do the witches mean when they say, 'Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none'? They mean that Banquo will be greater in death than Macbeth is in life.

What news is brought by Ross and Angus? News that Macbeth has gained the title of Thane of Cawdor.

What happens that causes Macbeth to recalculate his ease of becoming king? Malcolm becomes the Prince of Cumberland.

What is the signifigance of Lady Macbeth's "unsex me" scene? She wishes she was a man so that she could have power instead of her husband having it and her having to control him.

What has Lady Macbeth schemed to do to the King? She has schemed to have Macbeth murder the king while he is sleeping.

Why does the King come to Macbeth's castle? To be the new Thane of Cawdor's guest and to congratulate Macbeth over dinner.

How sure is Lady Macbeth that this plot will succeed? She is so sure that she doesn't even consider the fact that they could fail.

Act 2
What does Macbeth ask of Banquo at the beginning of Act 2? He asks Banquo to support him in fulfilling the prophesies.

What is Macbeth doing in his soliloquy? He is trying to convince himself that he is doing the write thing.

How guilty does Macbeth feel after committing the murder? He felt so guilty that he couldn't even say "Amen" to a prayer.

What does Macbeth wish the knocking could do? He wishes that it would wake Duncan from death.

What is the first reaction to the King's death and who's is it? The reaction from Macduff is great horror, almost uncoceivable horror.

What does Macbeth do to the supposed murderers and why? He kills them in fury. He claims that in his great fury he killed them without thinking.

What symbolism does Lady Macbeth's fainting have and how is it ironic? It gives the people the sense that she is completely shocked that the King has been murdered. It is ironic because she planned the entire thing.

Why do Malcolm and Donalbain decide to flee? They suspect that Macbeth murdered the King and fear that they may be the next to be killed.

What meaning does the line, 'God's benison go with you, and with those that would make good of bad, and friends of foes!' have? It is a warning to Ross that he should be very careful in dealing with Macbeth.

Act 3
Why does Macbeth have Banquo killed? Macbeth fears that Banquo's children will end up with the throne and he doesn't want that to happen.

Why does Macbeth hire murderers to kill Banquo? He is already guilty enough from killing Duncan and doesn't want to have more guilt by killing his friend Banquo.

How does Macbeth feel with his new found power? He is very insecure about having one of his enemies take it from him.

What happens when the murderers try to kill Banquo and his son? They kill Banquo but let his son Fleance escape.

What does the ghost of Banquo do to Macbeth's paranoia? It makes him completely insane. He knows that he can never be free of the guilt connected with the murders of his friends.

How does Lady Macbeth make her husband feel better after seeing the ghost? She attempts to get him to go to sleep.

Act 4
What are the witches doing at the beginning of this act? They are making a brew and waiting for Macbeth.

What three things does Macbeth learn from the witches and apparitions and how does he react to them? 1. He should fear Macduff, he is thankful for the warning. 2. He shouldn't fear any man born of a woman, he rethinks his views on Macduff. 3. Nothing will affect his reign until Birnam Wood moves, he knows that a forest can't get up and move so he is very secure in the fact that he will reign until he dies of natural causes.

How does Macbeth react to Macduff's departure? He decides that he will destroy all that Macduff has so that he won't be threatened by any of Macbeth's kin.

How does Macduff react to the news that his family has been slaughtered? He regrets leaving them and not warning them. He feels that he should have been there to defend them.

What action is taken by Macduff and Malcolm? They decide that now is the best time to go to battle with Macbeth and they make moves towards ordering the army to move out.

Act 5
What significance does the doctor have? He sees and hears the confession of Lady Macbeth while he is trying to diagnose her condition.

Why won't the doctor or the gentlewoman tell anyone what they have seen or heard? They fear the wrath of Macbeth. If he would find out that they know about the murder of Duncan he would surely kill them very quickly.

What is Macbeth's current psychological condition? He is nearing insanity. He finally believes all the prophesies and knows that he is going to eventually lose the throne.

How is the prophesy of Birnam Wood moving to Dusinane Hill fulfilled? Each man in the English force cuts down a bough to provide cover so that the size of the army is not known.

Why doesn't Macbeth put his armor on when he goes out to do battle? He knows that he can't be killed by a man born of woman. Therefore he has nothing to fear from mere humans.

What is said that frightens Macbeth before he is killed by Macduff? Macduff tells Macbeth that he was ripped from his mother's womb at an untimely moment.

Who decides who becomes king and who does he choose? Macduff decides that Malcolm should be king since he was the next in line for the throne.

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Margaret Stewart-Zimmerman
May 22, 1998 - 2010