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Flashcards in Macbeth pt2 Deck (21)
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“O scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” 3.2

* exclamatory sentence
* metaphor
* dark and painful imagery
* poisonous thoughts
* sarcasm

• This exclamatory sentence heightens the anguish which Macbeth feels and gives a image of infectivity through the metaphor “scorpions is my mind” which deepens the extent of guilt he feels. This metaphor also evokes a dark and painful imagery as well as a vivid image of torment which causes the audience to feel sorry for him and also serves as a warning not to commit regicide . By using the animal “scorpions” this quote depicts how his mind is consumed with evil and poisonous thoughts which has been caused by the witches’ prophecies and implies how he can never be pure and holy ever again

• The use of the sarcastic “dear wife” illustrates the deterioration of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth relationship. A harsh tone is used here which contrasts sharply to the sweet and romantic tone of “my dearest partner of greatness” showing how embracing evil to gain power results in utter tragedy.


“Out, out brief candle”

• The extinguishing of the candle serves as a symbol of Lady Macbeth dying so you which is highlighted through the adjective “brief” which could demonstrate his bitterness at the Lady Macbeth’s death or could suggest his realization of how short and fleeting life is
• By metaphorically comparing life to a candle, Macbeth suggests that everything he has done is useless as life will end as quickly as the fire on a candle and how it has no purpose


She should have died hereafter 5.5

• Macbeth’s fatalistic view of his wife’s suicide reflects his state of mind : numbed, hardened and miserable due to everything he has wanted falling apart.
• His lack of care towards the situtation highlights the contrast between the love he had for LM at the beginning of the play (“dearest partner of greatness”) to now where he he is totally distant .
• This could also be seen as the cause of embracing evil and the supernatural causing him to lack basic human emotions


“How does your patient , doctor?” 5.3

• The use of the pronoun “your” implies that Macbeth has become personally detached from his wife which could mirror the distance in the relationship: they are not as close as they were before.
• This also demonstrates a lack of care and affection for his wife as a result of his power-driven ambition and his evil nature.
• This could also suggest that he is so evil that he has lost the ability to love and be affectionate which further emphasizes his tyrannical nature


Make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are. 3.2

• Macbeth’s statement demonstrates the reversal of roles as it was Lady Macbeth in Act 1 scene 5 who advised Macbeth to “look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it”. This imperative phrase also shows how Macbeth is starting to be more dominant in the relationship than before and taking ownership of his masculinity which is further emphasized through the fact that this scene throughout mainly focuses on him.


“I will be satisfied: deny me this, And an eternal curse fall on you!” 4.1

• The declarative “I will be satisfied” reflects his arrogant and demanding nature

• Macbeth’s offensive exclamation shows his true dissatisfaction with the knowledge the witches have imparted. The witches have inspired psychological turmoil within, Macbeth as he yearns to know more, despite his awareness of the witches' capabilities (for example “Though you untie the winds”).

• Irony is also used here as he says this with so much authority despite the fact that the witches are the ones which the power to “unite the winds and let them fight against the churches”.


“Till destruction sicken : answer me to what I ask you” 4.1

• Intertextual link to “for mine own good all causes shall give way” in 3.4.

• The use of hyperbole is used as a tool to characterize Macbeth and imply how his ambitions have grown and how far he has fallen from the noble character he was at the start of the play. He has become egocentric and reckless

• The imagery of chaos evoked through “destruction sicken” gives reference to how Macbeth as gone against natural order and therefore embodies unruliness and ungodliness displaying the Jacobean audience how ambition with wicked intent destroys people


“It will have blood they say: blood will have blood” 3.4

• This can be interpreted as an image of karma as since he has killed Duncan and Banquo their blood is returning to traumatize him which is predicated in 1.7 when he says “bloody instructions … return to plague the inventor”
• This can also be interpreted as how one murder leads to an endless killing spree


“ I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in saucy doubts and fears” 3.4

• Through the use of the semantic field of imprisonment, Shakespeare conveys how entrapped Macbeth has become which is further emphasised through the alliteration of the hard “c”, which also encapsulates the strong hold his fears have on him. This harsh alliteration coupled with the consonance of plosive sounds, complement the horrific state that Macbeth is in.


“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” 5.5

• The constant repetition of “tomorrow and” mirrors the idea the phrase expresses: the relentless and absurd passage of time . this compulsive repetition also expresses Macbeth’s growing madness and shows how time has become an intolerable burden for Macbeth

• The fact that the death of his wife causes him to reflect the futility of life could hint at the grief he has which he is unable to display properly


“The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand.” 4.1

• Metaphor symbolising the new reckless Macbeth who will not think before he acts.
• Noun ‘firstlings’ implies rash, rapid, first thoughts / actions
• Noun ‘hand’ suggests he wants to act not think
• He has become so immersed in evil that he is beyond caring - now a very dangerous and tyrannical ruler. NOTE: from Act 4 onwards he is increasingly referred to by others as ‘the tyrant’ and very rarely referred to as ‘Macbeth’ – symbolic of how the ‘old’ Macbeth, the hero, has gone.
• Parallelism conveys a strong link between emotion and action. The determination is evident.


“They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, but bear-like I must fight the course” 5.7

• Macbeth’s evil nature and association with the supernatural is conveyed through the words ‘stake’ and ‘fly’, commonly associated with the punishment and activity of witches. Shakespeare uses this as a metaphor for justice being enacted, as Macbeth feels he will be punished for the murderous and sly deeds he has committed.
• Macbeth recognises that he’s without options and the he will die, as displayed through “stake” which has connotations of death. His determination to still “fight the course” displays high levels of braverly linking back to how he was presented as a warrior in Act 1.


“I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more” 3.4

• This creates an imagery of Macbeth covered in blood insinuating not only the depth of his guilt but also highlights how sinful he has become. This is heightened by the verb “wade” which also creates an image of swimming; he is surrounded by a sea of despair and paranoia as a result of going against the natural order. The imagery of swimming also shows his comfortability with murder which is a stark contrast to before when he felt overwhelmed in act 2 scene 2 and asked “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand”. Here the audience can see how evil has fully taken control over him and foreshadows the future murders that he will plan.


Blow wind, come wrack, at least we’ll die with harness on our back 5.5

• The image of Macbeth wishing to die in armour symbolically shows the brave and warrior -like persona that is still within him
• By commanding “blow wind” Shakespeare draws parallels between Macbeth and the witches who were always accompanied by thunder and storm and therefore creates an ominous and eerie atmosphere similar to the witches.
• The demanding of the weather could also showcase Macbeth’s tryannical behaviour and his arrogance as he thinks that he can control the weather. His delusion could also allude to his chaotic mental state.


How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! 4.1

• A condescending tone is used through the abusive nature of the adjective “hags”, harshly contrasting with how “rapt withal” he was is Act 1 which displays his progression to evil and arrogance


“I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked” 5.3

• Through the verb “hacked” a grotesque and horrific image is formed in the audience mind which highlights how vigorous Macbeth’s ambition is – his power hunger is so strong that he is willing to go through intense agony which demonstrates to the audience how ambition with evil intensions distorts your mind so much that you self-inflict torment onto yourself
• This would deter the Jacobean audience from turning against the natural order.


Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck 3.2

• The shift from Lady Macbeth being Macbeth’s “dearest partner of greatness” to his “dearest chuck” show how the couple’s relationship has transformed into one typical of the patriarchal society in which the play was set. Though the superlative “dearest” is still used, the almost trivialising pet name “chuck” shows that Macbeth no longer views his wife as his equal, but as an inferior. Comparing Lady Macbeth to a chicken places her incredibly low down on the Great Chain of Being, illustrating how little she means to Macbeth now that he is king.

• Their relationship also conforms to this social structure when he says “Be innocent of the knowledge” which reflects the Jacobean ideology that women should be shielded from certain subjects which further belittles Lady Macbeth.


“We are yet but young in deed” 3.4

• Accentuates his bloodthirsty nature by being explicitly clear that he is prepared to kill in the future which diverges from his anxious and dubious persona when it came to murder in earlier on in the play. Due to being confined with suspicions, fears and insecurities, he is feels as though he must go about any methods in order to keep his power despite there being no threats which emphasizes his maniacal state


The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon! 5.3

• Irony is employed as Macbeth uses adjectives with satanic connotations, which have previously been used to describe him, to curse his servant. This, combined with the exclamatory nature of the sentence, further shows Macbeth as a tyrannical figure as he expresses his anger to an innocent servant.

• Also, the motif of milk is also employed through the adjective “cream-faced” which has connotations of purity and innocence, therefore he is accusing his servant of being too weak. This draws parallels to Lady Macbeth in Act 1 scene 5 when she claims that her husband is “too full of the milk of human kindness”. This again illustrated the switch in power between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth that has happened in the play

• The stark contrasts between the innocence and evil that Macbeth accuses his servant of demonstrates his mental conflict, paranoia and insanity


“the fiend that lies like truth”

• Macbeth finally realises that the witches have tricked him which shows that he was too trusting of the witches . this is ironic as Duncan was too trusting of Macbeth which led to his demise. This vicious cycle echos the idea of “what goes around comes around” which serves as a warning to the Jacobean audience not to commit regicide.


“Till Birnam Wood remove to Dusinane I cannot taint with fear.” 5.3

• His reliance on the supernatural has become such a problem that it is the cause of his hubris as well as confidence – he thinks he is invincible which enforces his fearless nature
• This could also show that he is so desperate that he uses the prophecies as his sole source of information and support
• The use of the word ‘taint’ here is ironic as taint suggests something has been corrupted. Macbeth at this point is perhaps as corrupted as one could be. This shows the audience that he is still in denial of his guilt or at least refuses to accept his wrongdoings as wrong.
• This is also repeated at the end of the scene : “I will not be afraid of death and bane till Birnam forest come to dunsinane”
• The repetition of the witches prophecy shows his certainty as well as emphasizing him absolute reliance on the supernatural. His connection to the witches his further shown through the rhyming couplets