2Scene One1. What suspicion about Macbeth does Banquo reveal in his soliloquy?Finally, we see that Banquo suspects Macbeth of murdering Duncan.
32. What is Banquo hoping for? He hopes that his prophecies will come true as well.
43. What does Macbeth say the “bloody cousins” (Malcolm and Donalbain) are up to? That they are in England and Ireland, not confessing, but telling everyone lies of some kind.
54. For what reasons does Macbeth want Banquo murdered? He wants Banquo murdered because he sees him as a threat. He doesn‘t want him to get in his way during his rule as king, but also, he doesn‘t want Banquo‘s prophecy coming true as Banquo‘s children are predicted to take the throne.
65. What reason does Macbeth give for not killing Banquo himself? He is afraid it would look bad to their common friends.
76. When does Macbeth want Banquo and Fleance killed? That night, while they are out for a ride, before the banquet.
87. How are Macbeth‘s fears justified in this scene? He should be afraid of Banquo—Banquo is suspicious of him, and although right now he is loyal, he may turn on him, and he has the power to turn others against Macbeth too.
9Scene Two1. What lines reveal how Lady Macbeth is feeling about being queen?She says “Naught‘s had, all‘s spent, Where our desire is got without content.” She is not content with where she is. She thought she would be happier, and wonders if it is how she got to the throne (by killing Duncan to get there) is what is ruining it for her.
102. What is Lady Macbeth‘s problem with Macbeth? She thinks he is too caught up in his thoughts and troubles.
113. What does Macbeth mean by “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck / Till thou applaud the deed”?Macbeth basically says ― Don‘t worry your pretty little head about these little things, until you find out what I‘ve done, and can applaud me for it.
12Scene Three1. What does the second murderer mean when he says “We have lost / Best half of our affair”?Fleance escaped.
13Some scholars believe that the third murderer might be Macbeth himself Some scholars believe that the third murderer might be Macbeth himself. Draw an argument as to whether Macbeth would participate in the murder or not. Give reasons for your position.
14Scene Four 1. How does Macbeth react to the news that Fleance escaped? He says basically that he is more afraid than ever.
152. Macbeth‘s sightings have gotten worse, as he insists he sees Banquo‘s ghost. How might this progression be a reflection of Macbeth‘s mental state?Because he is seeing Banquo‘s ghost could be an indication that Macbeth is beginning to really slip from reality. He could be becoming insane.
163. What explanation does Lady Macbeth give for Macbeth‘s behavior? That he has a medical problem (seizures) from childhood.
174. How does Lady Macbeth try to calm Macbeth down? She tells him it is not real, but his imagination. She also tries to tell him that ghosts are an old wives‘ tale.
18What is your explanation for the appearance of Banquo‘s ghost at the table? Why do you think Macbeth is the only one who can see him?This is Macbeth slipping into insanity. He is seeing the ghost of Banquo because his conscience is getting to him. He is the only one who can see him because it is a problem in Macbeth‘s head and not a reality.
196. Besides Banquo, who was conspicuously absent from the banquet? Macduff
20Many scholars consider scene four to be the climax of the play Many scholars consider scene four to be the climax of the play. Find one or two lines from this scene that could be the indicator that the climax of the play has been reached, and explain your reason for this choice.
21Scene Five1. Scholars believe that scene five was not written by Shakespeare, but was added later. Why do you think this scene was added at this point? (Consider what has just happened in the play.)It may have been added as a break to the audience, since they have just witnessed Macbeth possibly slipping into insanity. It could also have been a scene so that the stagehands could disassemble any fancy staging or lighting that made Banquo‘s ghost appear.
222. Why is Hecate angry?She wanted to “play” by showing off what she could do to Macbeth.
233. What does Hecate say will soon be coming? Macbeth is coming.
244. What do you think Hecate means when she says “And you all know security / Is mortals‘ chiefest enemy”? Do you agree? Why or why not?Hecate is saying that one should be on guard if one becomes too comfortable. (Reminds the audience of Duncan and his fate.)
255. Some producers/directors often omit this scene from their productions. Do you think removing this scene would change the play? Why or why not?
26Scene Six 1. What things does Lennox say have been “strangely borne”? that Duncan was pitied of Macbeth, then he was dead; that Banquo wound up dead; Fleance might as well have been killed, as he has fled; and Malcolm and Donalbain killed their father
272. What have Malcolm and Macduff been up to? They have been rallying the troops of England with Siward to overthrow Macbeth.
28IRONY1. The Thane of Cawdor was just executed and the King feels foolish for having trusted him: “He was a gentleman on whom I built / An absolute trust.” Later, Macbeth is named the new Thane of Cawdor.He shouldn‘t have trusted Macbeth because he was planning to murder him
29IRONY2. After the murder of Duncan, the porter of the castle wakes up and responds to the knocking at the door. He complains about the cold, saying that “this place is too cold for Hell.”With all the evil going on (Duncan‘s murder) it is like hell, also Lady Macbeth and Macbeth will probably go to hell because of their deeds.
30IRONY3. In his monologue in Act Three, Scene I, Macbeth says it was because of the weird sisters‘ predictions that he murdered Banquo.The weird sisters never said anything about Banquo being a problem for Macbeth—it was just his pure greed to be king forever.
31IRONY4. Lennox says, “It was for Malcolm and Donalbain / To kill their gracious father? Damned fact! / How it did grieve Macbeth!”Lennox is being sarcastic. He knows Macbeth is to blame and that it didn‘t grieve him because he did it.
32IRONY5. Macbeth is the only character to see Banquo‘s ghost. He is stricken with fear and collapses.He is able to see the ghost because he killed him and he is being haunted because of it. It could also be his guilty conscience causing visions.
33IRONY6. In Act Three, Lady Macbeth complains that she is not feeling very comfortable in her new role as Queen. “Naught‘s had, all‘s spent, / Where our desire is got without content. / ‗Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”She may be starting to feel a little guilty about how she became queen, as she should.
34IRONY7. At the beginning of Act Three, Macbeth asks Banquo whether he is going for a ride in the afternoon, and whether Fleance will be joining him.Macbeth plans to murder Banquo and Fleance that day. He is very pleasant with him, but is really plotting to murder him.
35IRONY8. At the banquet in Act Three, Macbeth proclaims “I drink to th‘ general joy o‘ th‘ whole table, / And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss. / Would he were here!”Macbeth knows why Banquo isn‘t there—because he had him murdered that afternoon
36IRONY9. Why do you think authors like Shakespeare employ the use of irony in their work? How does the use of irony contribute to the enjoyment of the text?It develops a special enjoyment and interest for the reader/audience as he/she feels like they are a part of the action of the play, and that they are ―in‖ on the secrets going on. We are able to see potential problems before the characters do, and so we are able to enjoy or fear their process of discovery.