"Fair is foul, and foul is fair."


Chasseriau Banquo


Directions: After reading the lecture, answer one of the main questions, which will appear in bold. This question is due no later than Thursday, May 3. Following that will be other questions, in black, which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, May 6. In order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

This set of discussion questions is worth a possible 20 points. Remember: late answers receive 0 points, so post early :)

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Macbeth Link

Remember: You are required to answer only one of the "red" questions, although you are, of course, welcome to answer more than one if you wish.

There are numerous references to fate in Macbeth. Is Fate responsible for Macbeth's actions? Explain.

Does Macbeth seem to you to convey a more hopeless and pessimistic vision of the world than Hamlet?

The appearance of the Third Murderer has baffled scholars for years. He is not necessary to the plot, and seems to serve no thematic purpose. In addition, Shakespeare was a good businessman, and would not have hired an actor he didn't need. So why is the Third Murderer in the play? He is in disguise; do you have any theories about who he might really be?

  1. Whom does Banquo suspect of Duncan's murder? (III.1.)
  2. Macbeth acts as if he loves Banquo. How does he really feel? Why? (III.1.52ff.)
  3. How does Macbeth convince the Murderers to kill Banquo?(III.1.)
  4. Who are the Murderers ordered to kill along with Banquo? Why? (III.1.154ff.)
  5. Are Macbeth and Lady Macbeth satisfied and happy, now that Macbeth is King? (see Act III, Scenes 1 and 2)
  6. What is Macbeth's mood in III.2.? What is Lady Macbeth's response? How does it compare to her response to him in I.7.? How are the two of them different now?
  7. The Third Murderer joins the other two Murderers in III.3.; how do they know he's on their side?
  8. Why does Shakespeare choose to have Banquo's ghost appear to Macbeth at the banquet? (III.4.)
  9. How does Lady Macbeth try to get Macbeth to regain his composure at the banquet? Why does she fail? (III.4.)
  10. How do Lady Macbeth's lines to Macbeth, "You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting / With most admired disorder" (III.4.132ff.) address more than Macbeth's behavior at the banquet?
  11. Why have Macbeth and his wife grown a bit suspicious of Macduff?
  12. Why has Macduff gone to England?
  13. Why is Macbeth going to kill Macduff? (IV.1.80ff.)
  14. Why does Macbeth have Macduff's family killed?
  15. Why does Malcolm, in IV.3., say such awful things about himself to Macduff?
  16. How does Macduff prove his loyalty to Malcolm? (IV.3.)
  17. Why does Lady Macbeth always want a light near her at night, now? (V.1.24-5)
  18. What does Act V, Scene 1 reveal about Lady Macbeth's state of mind?
  19. Act V, Scene 1 does not need to be in the play to advance the plot. What is its purpose?
  20. According to Caithness (V.2.14ff.), what is Macbeth's state of mind as the opposing armies approach?
  21. According to Angus, are the people loyal to Macbeth? (V.2.22ff.)
  22. How does Macbeth feel now about being King? (V.3.23ff.)
  23. How are the prophecies of the witches fulfilled?
  24. What is the meaning of Macbeth's speech in V.5.20ff.?
  25. Does Macbeth hope to survive the battle?
  26. Is order restored at the end of the play?

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