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1 Viewing this Presentation
This is a partial version of Thinking about Macbeth, an interactive study guide produced by Shakespeare Help. Viewing this Presentation To view this presentation in Slide Show View: Press the F5 key on the top row of the keyboard, or click the Slide Show tab on the ribbon and then click the From Beginning button. To exit the presentation, press the ESC key. To purchase the complete presentation, please visit: Next Slide

2 Thinking about Macbeth
An Interactive Study Guide Click the mouse to continue. © 2010,

3 What’s in This Study Guide?
Introduction to Macbeth Quizzes Quotes Characters Recurring Images Themes YouTube Videos Essay Topics Home

4 Introduction to Macbeth
The Basics The Text The Great Chain of Being Macbeth and King James Main Menu

5 Macbeth – The Basics Macbeth was written in 1606, the last of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear). Shakespeare was in his early 40’s, a mature playwright with an established reputation. The source of Macbeth is Holinshed’s Chronicles of Ancient British History, used frequently by Shakespeare as a plot source. Macbeth is a more complex morality play, focusing on a man who faces a choice between good and evil, and chooses evil. However, Macbeth is more than a one-dimensional villain. He is a believable human being who gives in to the temptation of ambition. Introduction to Macbeth Next Main Menu

6 Macbeth – The Text There is only one definitive version of Macbeth – the First Folio. The First Folio is a collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays prepared by two of his colleagues 7 years after his death. It is considered the most reliable text of many of the plays, which also existed in “bad” quarto versions. Introduction to Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

7 Three Witches, Henry Fuseli
Macbeth – The Text Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays. Macbeth also contains several unanswered plot questions: Who was the 3rd murderer? What happened to Fleance and Donalbain? Did the Macbeths have children? Did Lady Macbeth commit suicide? Three Witches, Henry Fuseli Some scholars theorize that there are missing scenes. The scenes with Hecate (III, 5 & IV, 1) were probably added after Shakespeare’s death for the purpose of entertaining the audience. Introduction to Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

8 The Great Chain of Being
God Angels Demons Stars Moons Kings Princes Nobles Men Wild Animals Domesticated Animals Trees Other Plants Precious Stones Precious Metals Other minerals Shakespeare’s audience believed in a great Chain of Being that determined the natural order of events. The chain was a series of hierarchical links with God at the top. Each level of the chain had its own hierarchy, with the king at the top of the human level. Disruptions in the chain could also disrupt the laws of nature and cause bizarre events to occur. Introduction to Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

9 Macbeth and King James I
King James I, Paulus Van Somer Aspects of the play were calculated to flatter King James, who ascended the throne in 1603 after Queen Elizabeth died. James had authored Demonology in and was intensely interested in the supernatural. James was a descendant of the historical Banquo. The line of kings in IV, 1 suggests that the Stuart line will continue indefinitely. Introduction to Macbeth Back Main Menu

10 Macbeth Quizzes Act I Act II Act III Act IV Act V Main Menu

11 Quiz: Act I Click the hand  for an answer.
Why did King Duncan strip the Thane of Cawdor of his title and give it to Macbeth?  What prophecies did the witches make regarding Macbeth? What prophecies did the witches make regarding Banquo? How does Lady Macbeth react to the witches' prophecies and the idea of killing the king? Macbeth Quizzes Main Menu

12 Why did King Duncan strip the Thane of Cawdor of his title and give it to Macbeth? Click anywhere to show answer. The Thane of Cawdor betrayed King Duncan and deserted to the rebel army during the battle.    Macbeth fought heroically in the battle, killed the rebel leader, MacDonwald, and helped win the day for Duncan's army. Macbeth Quizzes Next Question Main Menu

13 Quotes from Macbeth Act I Quotes Act II Quotes Act III Quotes
Act IV Quotes Act V Quotes Main Menu

14 Act I Quotes Who said it, and why is it important
Act I Quotes Who said it, and why is it important? Click the hand  for an answer. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.”  “If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me.” “The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me In borrowed robes?” “Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t.” “Fair and noble hostess, We are your guest tonight.” “He’s here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed.” Macbeth Quotes Main Menu

15 Who said it, and why is it important?
“Fair is foul and foul is fair.” Click anywhere to show answer. This is the witches’ chant in the opening scene and one of the main themes of the play – the confusion between good and evil, or between appearance and reality. Things that seem to be fair (good) are sometimes foul (evil), and visa versa. When Macbeth takes the witches predictions as fact, he is confusing foul with fair (evil with good). He and Lady Macbeth use the same technique on Duncan and their other victims. They pretend to be good, while planning evil deeds. Macbeth Quotes Next Quote Main Menu

16 Characters in Macbeth Macbeth Lady Macbeth The Witches Banquo Duncan
Malcolm Macduff The Porter Lady Macduff Macduff’s Son Fleance Siward Young Siward Donalbain Hecate Seyton Main Menu

17 Charles Kean as Macbeth, 1858
Macbeth is first portrayed in the play as a courageous, loyal , though somewhat brutal, warrior. When he meets the witches, his ambition to be king is revealed. In spite of his ambition, Macbeth is consumed by self-doubt: 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. (I, 7) Charles Kean as Macbeth, 1858 Characters Next Main Menu

18 Macbeth 2 At the end of Act I, Macbeth is pulled in two directions:
The witches predictions, two of which have come true, tempt him to obtain the kingship. His conscience dictates that he must be loyal to the king as a subject and kinsman. Macbeth needs Lady Macbeth to convince him to commit the murder of the king. But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail.  (I, 7) Characters Back Next Main Menu

19 Thomas Keene in Macbeth, 1884
Later in the play, Macbeth acts ruthlessly on his own, vowing to not let himself be distracted by moral doubts: …from this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. (IV, 1) Lady Macbeth has no knowledge of the murders of Banquo and the Macduff family. Macbeth feels secure after hearing the witches’ predictions: He will not be harmed until Birnam Wood marches to Dunsinane Castle He will not be harmed by any man “born of woman.” Thomas Keene in Macbeth, 1884 Characters Back Next Main Menu

20 Macbeth’s Conscience Though Macbeth acts more and more ruthlessly over the course of the play, Shakespeare suggests that he is plagued by inner guilt. ? Is the bleeding dagger a figment of Macbeth’s imagination? ? Does Banquo’s ghost appear to Macbeth, or is it a product of his guilty conscience? (Elizabethans believed that the ghost of a murdered person could actually appear to the murderer.) ? Some scholars suggest that Macbeth’s second meeting with the witches in Act IV occurs in his imagination. What are the implications of this theory? Characters Back Next Main Menu

21 Macbeth and the Witches
The Death of Macbeth At the end of the play, Macbeth is alone. His wife has died. His soldiers are deserting him. He is surrounded by his enemies. He is ultimately tricked by the double meanings in the witches’ prophecies. Although defeated, he vows to die on the battlefield fighting, rather than surrender or commit suicide. The final battle with Macduff is a reminder of his Macbeth’s bravery on the battlefield that began the play. Macbeth and the Witches Henry Fuseli Characters Back Main Menu

22 Recurring Images in Macbeth
Animals Birds Blood Children Clothing Light and Darkness Sleep Main Menu

23 Animals - 1 Shakespeare uses animals to emphasize the disruption to the natural order caused by the murder of the king. The night of the murder is filled with the sounds of animals: I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. (II, 2) The day after the murder, Ross and an old man discuss the events of the night before: A falcon, towering in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd. (II, 4) Because the falcon is usually the predator, this image reflects the king’s murder in nature: A superior is attacked and killed by an inferior or subordinate. And Duncan's horses… …Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make War with mankind. (II, 4) Recurring Images in Macbeth Next Main Menu

24 Animals - 2 The witches are associated with animals:
Their “familiars” are animal companions – Graymalkin (cat) and Paddock (toad). The brew they concoct in IV, 1 has several animal references: Fillet of a fenny snake… …Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing. (IV, 1) Animal references related to Macbeth increase in the play as he becomes more vicious and animalistic, associating himself more closely with the supernatural, and perhaps evil, realm of the witches. Recurring Images in Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

25 Animals - 3 After learning that Fleance has escaped from the murderers, Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth: O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! (III, 2) At the end of the play, Macbeth compares himself to a bear in a bear-baiting contest : They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, But, bear-like, I must fight the course. (V, 7) When Macduff confronts Macbeth in the final battle, he refers to him in animalistic terms: Turn, hell-hound, turn! (V, 8) Recurring Images in Macbeth Back Main Menu

26 Bear Baiting Bear-baiting was popular in England until the nineteenth century. Arenas for this purpose were called bear-gardens, consisting of a circular high fenced area, the "pit", and raised seating for spectators. A post would be set in the ground towards the edge of the pit and the bear chained to it, either by the leg or neck. A number of well-trained hunting dogs would then be set on it, being replaced as they tired or were wounded or killed. Recurring Images in Macbeth Back Main Menu

27 Themes in Macbeth Appearance vs. Reality Fate vs. Free Will Guilt
Disruption in the Natural Order Time Main Menu

28 Appearance vs. Reality - 1
Fair is foul, and foul is fair. (I, 1) The witches end the first scene of the play by sounding one of the play's major themes – ambiguity (doubtfulness or uncertainty; having more than one meaning.) Macbeth’s first words in the play: So fair and foul a day I have not seen. (I, 3) This play takes place in an ambiguous world where things are not what they seem, where everything is doubtful, a world in which one might easily mistake foul (evil) for fair (good).   …nothing is but what is not. (III, 1) The witches themselves may be interpreted in two ways.  Are they evil, or do they represent Fate by predicting the future?  The inability to distinguish fair from foul, or good from evil, will affect all the major characters in the play. Themes in Macbeth Next Main Menu

29 Appearance vs. Reality - 2
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth cover their evil thoughts and deeds with a “fair” appearance: “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” (I, 5) “False face doth hide what false heart doth know.” (I, 7) When Duncan arrives at Macbeth’s castle, he remarks that it “hath a fair and pleasant seat.” Ironically, it will be the place of his death. In III, 4, Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty by pretending that he would be a worse king that Macbeth. Unlike Macbeth, he uses a false appearance for a good purpose. Themes in Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

30 Appearance vs. Reality - 3
Appearance vs. reality is used against Macbeth by the witches when they show him the apparitions in IV, 1: The bloody child tells him he can be harmed by “none of woman borne.” Since all men are born of women, Macbeth concludes that he is invincible, but there is a hidden meaning in the apparition’s words. The child crowned holding a tree branch tells Macbeth that he will not be defeated until “Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him.” Again Macbeth assumes his life is charmed, since he is sure this will never happen. Again, he is tricked by a hidden meaning. Both apparitions instill in Macbeth a false sense of security that is turned against him when the real meaning of their words became apparent. Themes in Macbeth Back Next Main Menu

31 Appearance vs. Reality - 4
The characters who represent the next generation all seem to see through the false appearances of Macbeth. Immediately after the murder, Malcolm and Donalbain flee because they see the “daggers in men’s smiles.” (II, 3) When a murderer calls Macduff a traitor in IV, 2, Macduff’s son says, “Thou liest…” “Young” Siward uses the same phrase to Macbeth in V, “Thou liest…” The generation that replaces Macbeth is better able to distinguish appearances from reality. Themes in Macbeth Back Main Menu

32 YouTube Videos - Macbeth
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34 The End Main Menu

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