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MACBETH William Shakespeare

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1 MACBETH William Shakespeare
Alex Pavlakis, Caryl Brunner, Joan Burger, Jaimee Crossan, Ariana Incao, Emily Lemen

2 Setting ‘Macbeth’ is set mainly around Scotland. The story starts off with the fighting near Duncan’s castle, and then shifts to Macbeth’s castle on Dunsinane Hill. Fife is where Macduff lives and where his family is killed. Macbeth meets the witches in a desert place. There is one scene in England as well when Macduff meets Malcolm. The time period is in the 11th century.

3 Macbeth Plot Summary Play opens with the three witches scrounging the battlefield Kind Duncan receives news of the victories of Macbeth and Banquo against the armies of Ireland and Norway Macbeth and Banquo encounter the witches, who prophesize Macbeth will be made Thane of Cawdor and eventually King of Scotland The Witches also prophesize that Banquo’s sons will be kings, however he will never receive the title Macbeth and Banquo are skeptical but soon after Ross arrives bringing Macbeth news of the traitor thane of Cawdor, Macbeth’s new title At this point, Macbeth begins to wonder if he could ever become King and he writes to his wife Lady Macbeth wants her husband to obtain the throne and convinces him to commit regicide or the murder of a King Macbeth and Lady Macbeth devise a plan to kill King Duncan in his sleep which includes; Lady Macbeth drugging the guards (they will think they’re responsible for the murder) Macbeth must stab Kind Duncan (also must overcome fear of regicide, guilt, and hallucinations) Lady Macbeth plants the bloody daggers with the unconscious guards Macbeth kills the guards the following morning out of “an act of rage” Finally, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth must convincingly pretend to be shocked and grieving Malcolm flees to England and Donalbain to Ireland, fearing they would be killed next

4 Plot Summary Continued…
As King, Macbeth is not content for he is constantly fearful his power will come to an end Macbeth organizes the murder of his friend Banquo, and Banquo’s son Fleance Banquo is killed however Fleance escapes further preventing Macbeth from resting At the banquet, Macbeth envisions the blood bolstered ghost of Banquo, causing a dramatic scene and essentially making everyone question Macbeth’s sanity as King Macbeth visits the witches who show him four apparitions; First, an armed head- warns Macbeth of Macduff (this Macbeth already knew) Second, a bloody child- No mortal will ever harm Macbeth Third, a child with a crown and tree- Macbeth will never be defeated until Birnam wood walk to Dunsinane Hill Fourth, 8 Kings all resembling Banquo and his bloody ghost (Macbeth becomes outraged at this sight) Macbeth is slightly relieved but he learns that Macduff has fled to England to join Malcolm Macbeth orders Macduff’s castle seized and his family murdered Lady Macbeth grows sick with guilt and eventually commits suicide At this news Macbeth becomes very pessimistic yet continues to fight Eventually, the English forces arrive, disguised in the branches of Birnam wood, and Macduff, who was not born of woman, beheads Macbeth Malcolm becomes the new, and rightful, King of Scotland

5 Main Character Descriptions
Macbeth- Thane of Cawdor and Glamis, eventually King, easily tempted into murder to fulfill his vaulting ambition, violent, ambitious, lacks ruling skills. Lady Macbeth- strong and ruthless, ambitious, has a lust for power, conscious to the point she commits suicide, manipulative. Banquo- brave, noble, his children will inherit the throne (according to witch’s prophecies), murdered by Macbeth Three Witches- prophecies prompt Macbeth to murder Duncan, comical, supernatural, could be independent agents toying with human lives or agents of fate King Duncan- King of Scotland, murdered by Macbeth

6 Major Conflict Protagonist: Macbeth Antagonist: Macbeth
The internal conflict with Macbeth was his vaulting ambition to become and remain king, which was his tragic flaw. His internal conflicts led to the external conflicts, which was war. Macduff and the witches were outside conflicting forces, resulting in the decisions that Macbeth had made. Lady Macbeth helped her husband realize his goal by pushing him into committing the murder of King Duncan.

7 Conflict Resolution After Macbeth gains power, he becomes paranoid with the thought that somebody will attempt to conquer the throne. In order to protect his Kingship, Macbeth organizes the murders of numerous people he views as threats. In doing so, Macbeth wades further and further into a murderous despotism that he cannot escape. In the end, Macbeth is killed in battle by his enemy, Macduff. Macbeth is beheaded, thus ending his reign of tyranny. As a result, Malcolm is crowned King and Scotland returns to normal.

8 The Corrupting Power and Vaulting Ambition
The main theme of Macbeth is the destruction that results when ambition goes unrestrained by moral restrictions. This is most evident in the play’s two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills King Duncan against his better judgment and afterward is beside himself with guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, arrogant madness. Lady Macbeth pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of enduring the repercussions of her immoral acts. She convinces her husband to kill King Duncan and urges him to be strong in the events following the regicide, but she is eventually driven to suicide by the effect of Macbeth’s repeated bloodshed on her conscience. In each case, ambition is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities. The problem that the play suggests is that once one decides to use violence to further one’s quest for power, it is difficult to stop. There are always potential threats to the throne, Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.

9 The Absurdity & Irony The witches’ chorus: Act I, Scene I, line 10: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." This is a paradox. It is also a prophecy, where one thing seems like another, or about how things will change through the story like the characters. It is easier to grasp the meaning of this line as you progress through this book. This theme is a subtle theme, but with significant meaning. This theme is referenced many times throughout the play. The first thing that Macbeth says when he enters scene three (line 38) is, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” When the witches said "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," during scene one, they were referring to the condition of the day when they meet Macbeth, though

10 Characterization One of Shakespeare's greatest skills as a dramatic playwright was his ability to create a strong interest in major characters very quickly and to set those major characters in relation to the play's minor characters, events, and themes. Shakespeare's skill in characterization is distinctly shown through his presentation of both, the minor and major characters. Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and frightening female characters. When she is first introduced in the play she is already plotting the regicide of King Duncan. Lady Macbeth is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband. She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to convince Macbeth into committing regicide. At one point, she wishes that she were “unsexed of all her womanly qualities” (Act I, scene v, lines 36–52), and that she were not a woman so that she could commit the murder herself. Shakespeare, however, seems to use her, and the witches, to emasculate Macbeth’s idea that “undaunted mettle should compose / Nothing but males” (Act 1. vii.73–74). These women use female methods of achieving power, which is, manipulation to further their supposedly “male ambitions.” Women in the play can be as ambitious and cruel as men, yet social constrictions deny them the means to pursue these ambitions by themselves.

11 Quotation 1 “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time. And all of our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” ~Act V, Scene V In this quote, Macbeth has just found out about the death of his wife and the attackers approaching his house. This quote really shows the growth of Macbeth as a character and demonstrates how his life was ruined by his vaulting ambition. This quote can be summed up to meaning that life has no meaning at all and that everyone is insignificant in the big picture. This statement by Macbeth can be seen as a way to justify his horrible actions because since life itself is truly meaningless, he can not feel guilty about the awful things he has done.

12 Quotation 2 “Out, damned spot; out, I say. One, two— why, then ‘tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” ~Act V, Scene I In this quote, Lady Macbeth is sleep walking and is trying to rub off the imaginary blood that has stained her from the murdering of the King. This quote shows Lady Macbeth’s conscience about the murders even though she had called her husband a coward earlier in the work because of these same thoughts. For the first time in the play we see remorse from Lady Macbeth. This quote is significant because we see that Lady Macbeth has gone crazy just as Macbeth has because of the paranoia of being convicted. The reader learns a lot about Lady Macbeth through this scene and specifically the quote mentioned.

13 DRAMATIC IRONY William Shakespeare uses irony in Macbeth to add to the ambiguous nature of the play, to keep the audience interested and to add to suspense and anticipation. Right before he enters Macbeth’s castle, where he is brutally murdered, King Duncan remarks on the good natured, welcoming feeling he gets as he approaches the castle. “This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto out gentle senses.” Near the end of the play, as tensions rise, Macbeth bases all of his decisions on the apparitions of the witches, and clings to them as his only source of reason; this is ironic as his trust in them is based only on faith – the polar opposite of reason. At the very end of the play, the apparitions end up hurting him rather than helping him. Ironically, what he relied on to save him ended up contributing to his collapse.

14 The presence of supernatural forces
Macbeth provides for much of the play’s dramatic tension and suspense. Several supernatural apparitions throughout the play profoundly affect Macbeth and the evil forces eventually claim Macbeth and destroy his morals. Macbeth’s ambition was driven by the prophecies of the three witches and he was willing to do anything to assure that they actually transpire. Macbeth is horrified at the notion of committing regicide, but he eventually succumbs to the evil forces and this leads to his downfall. Macbeth further compromises his honor by arranging the murder of his best friend, Banquo. Banquo places Macbeth in a precarious situation; he is deeply entrenched in suspicion and there is no way out. Macbeth’s vision of Banquo’s ghost at a royal banquet only drives him closer to insanity.

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