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Flashcards in Act One Deck (20):

The witches speak in rhyming couplets-why?

Eg when the hurly burlys done/when the battles lost and won
It sets them apart from the other characters and makes their speech sound unnatural like casting an evil spell


What is a paradox?

A statement that contradicts itself


At the start of the play mcB is celebrated for his bloodthirsty nature-what does he do?

Cuts the traitor McDonald ‘from the nave to the chops’


The witches say ‘ fair is foul and foul is fair’ -what does this mean?

Audience is warned not to trust appearances


What is a motif?

A recurring symbol eg the weather/thunder


Example of a metaphor

the witches send out a storm out on the sailors ship so that he can’t sleep - sailor is McB who is made sleepless by guilt and the ship is a metaphor for Scotland which is almost destroyed durin Macbeth’s violent reign


The witches predict McB will becom Thane of Cawdor then king and Banquos descendants will also become kings-how do B and M react different to the news?

B is suspicious and questions his own sanity-‘ have we eaten on the insane root?’
He accepts the witches are telling the truth but also that they are manipulating him and M
B is less deceived than M - he calls the witches ‘instruments of darkness’ as he sees their evil where M less so
M is spellbound by the witches - he is scared by the powerful ambition that the witches have awakened in him


Give an example of how The witches use riddles and paradoxes to confuse McB and Banquo

They tell Banquo he will be ‘not so happy, yet much happier’ -hints that whilst McB will get what he wants ie be King he will not be happy


The witches tell Banquo he will be lesser than McBeth and greater’ - what does this mean?

Reference to Banquos dons being king but also that B is greater than McB because he is not driven by greed or ambition


What is the witches 1st prediction and what effect does it have on McB?

Thane of Cawdor and comes true. It shows McB that the prediction of him becoming king may also come true and strengthens his ambition.


When Duncan gives McB the title of Thande of Cawdor, he says ‘there’s no way to find the minds construction in the face’ - what does this mean?

He thinks people who may be good and loyal may not be and is ironic that he misjudges McB


Duncan uses extended metaphors of plants eg plant thee, make thee full of growing- what does this show?

He thinks it is his duty to nurture people who are loyal to him.
He thinks McB is a potential successor without him doing anything


Why is McB confused in this scene?

Outwardly he is brave but inwardly he is battling with his conscience
He is torn between his ambition and his loyalty.
He wants to keep his ‘black and deep desires’ hidden, not just from others but also himself.


Scene of Lady McB reading a letter from her husband -what does this show?

It shows the audience her inner thoughts and what she is really like.


When Lady McB describes McB as ‘ too full o’th’ milk of human kindness’ what does she mean?

She will have to force McB to kill Duncan as he is kind


In Lady McB ‘S soliloquy, how does she use evil imagery?

‘Smoke of Hell’, ‘direst cruelty’ which show the evil on her mind

‘ come, you spirits’ and ‘come, thick night’ which links her to evil, unnatural spirits


Why is her soliloquy important?

Shows she is the force behind Duncan’s murder and her language links her to the witches and shows she’s not to be trusted.


How does S use irony in the scene where D arrives at the castle?

D describes the castle as ‘pleasant’ and that is ‘sweetly reccommends itself’ - he’s happy and not aware of what’s in store
D describes McBs love for Lady M as ‘sharp as his dour’ - it wasn’t love that made McB rush home, it was his desire to kill D


McB soliloquy he tries to decide whether to kill D or not-what are the reasons not to?

He knows murder can ‘return/to plague th’inventor’ -if he kills D, he will be killed himself
M knows he has a duty to protect D
D is a good king ‘he is clear in his great office’ and killing I’m will lead to ‘deep damnation’
M knows his ambition will be his downfall


Lady M tells NcB he will be ‘so much more the man’ - what does this mean?

She persuaded M to kill D by questioning his masculinity- he will be mire if a man and king.