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MACBETH STUDY AID AND QUESTION BANK The following need to be studied intensively: I.

All the soliloquies their actual meaning, and their significance in the development of both plot and character, always keeping in mind their dramatic value. There are 7 soliloquies: Act I, scene iii (page 10) by Macbeth Act I, scene v (page 14) by Lady Macbeth Act I, scene v (page 15) by Lady Macbeth Act I, scene vii (page 18) by Macbeth Act II, scene i (page 22-3) by Macbeth Act III, scene i (page 34) by Banquo Act III, scene i (page 35-6) by Macbeth II. III. IV. (A) All allusions and metaphors RTCs always contain a reference to these. Be clear about the meaning of these terms. Important scenes: The witch scenes Act I, scenes i and iii; Act III, scene v; Act IV, scene i Duncans murder it takes place between scenes i and ii in Act II, so you should know both these scenes well Porter scene Act II, scene iii Banquos murder Act III, scene iii. Refer also to the previous scene where the murder is planned Banquet scene Act III, scene iv Murder of Lady Macduff Act IV, scene ii English court Act IV, scene iii Sleepwalking scene Act V, scene i Death of Lady Macbeth Act V, scene v Concluding scene Act V, scene viii (or scenes viii & ix) From these scenes and speeches, three different types of long-answer questions may be asked: Scene-based questions relating to (a) description (b) significance of particular scenes. The list of important scenes have been given above: In what ways are (a) the scene of Duncans entry into Macbeths castle; and (b) the porters scene important in the play? Refer closely to the text. [ISC 1995] Describe vividly the scene in which Duncans murder is discovered. What is the impression left on your mind by that scene? [The scene begins with the drunken porter and ends with the flight of Malcolm and Donalbain]. [ISC 1993] Choose one scene from the play which makes you hate Macbeth and one scene which makes you feel sorry for him. Describe them briefly but vividly bringing out clearly the reasons for your hatred and sympathy. [ISC 1990] Which scene in the play Macbeth has made the greatest impression on your mind? Describe it vividly, giving reasons for your choice. [ISC 1989] Choose either the scene in which Macbeth murders Duncan or the scene in which Macbeth learns of Lady Macbeths death. With as many detailed references as possible (a) Give a vivid account of the scene you have chosen and (b) Say what it reveals of the characters in it. [ISC 1988]


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Give a vivid account of one of the following scenes with as much detailed reference as possible, and say what it reveals of the characters in it: (i) The sleepwalking scene (ii) The banquet scene [ISC 1979] Write a note on the witch scenes in the play. How far are the witches responsible for bringing about the downfall of Macbeth? Shakespeares opening scenes often strike the key-note of the play. How does the opening scene of Macbeth help in creating a mysterious atmosphere and prepare the audience/reader for evil? Describe Hecates conversation with the witches. Comment on the appearance of the apparitions and their significance in the context of this conversation. Write a critical note on the porter scene in the play Macbeth. Assess the significance of the sleepwalking scene in the play Macbeth. (B) Character-based questions which need to be discussed systematically, showing a scene by scene development (quotes must be used). The important characters to be studied are: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Duncan, Macduff and Malcolm: Illustrate by quotations from the play, and explain, as far as possible, Macbeths deterioration in character. Discuss the influence of the witches prophecies on Macbeths decision to murder Duncan. Macbeth is a tragedy of character rather than of deeds. Discuss. Macbeth in meeting the witches has to struggle against no external power, but with his own nature; they bring to light the evil side of his character. Discuss this statement with reference to the role of the witches and Macbeths character in the crimes he commits. [ISC 1995] Why was it necessary for Macbeth to have Fleance murdered? How does the knowledge of his escape affect Macbeth and his subsequent actions in the play? Refer closely to the text in your answer. [ISC 1988] Is Macbeth loathsome or heroic or a mixture of the two in the final Act of the play? [ISC 1994] Compare the Macbeth of the early part of the play with the Macbeth of the latter part. Write a note on Macbeth as a tragic hero with special reference to the tragic flaw in his character. Write a note on the conflict within Macbeth. What was Lady Macbeths response to this conflict? Trace the course of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the play. [ISC 1994] Estimate the influence of Lady Macbeth on her husband and indicate the importance of her role in the play. How far does Lady Macbeth contribute to her husbands downfall? Discuss. Do you consider that Lady Macbeth is a fiend? Give reasons for your answer. Compare the Lady Macbeth of the early part of the play with the Lady Macbeth of the latter part. Lesser than Macbeth and greater, - Not so happy, yet much happier. By detailed consideration of what he says and what he does show whether you agree with what the withes say about Banquo? [ISC 1993] Sketch the character of Banquo, paying particular attention to his connection with the witches in Macbeth. Compare the character of Macbeth with that of Banquo. The Witches in Macbeth are the incarnate of wickedness and all temptation. With close reference to their influence, state how far you agree with this statement. [ISC 1989] Compare and contrast the characters of Macbeth and Macduff with particular reference to the final scene of the play.


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Describe, with illustrations from the play, the character and importance of (a) Macduff and (b) Malcolm. [ISC 1990] (C) Theme-based questions which require the scene by scene tracing of the development of particular themes. These are: the supernatural element, the influence/ role of the witches, dramatic irony and ambition (including guilty conscience, betrayal, revenge and poetic justice): Write a critical note on the supernatural elements in Macbeth and trace their influence on the course of the play. Give an account of the part played by the weird sisters in the action of the play Macbeth. Equivocation is indeed a principal mode of the operation of evil forces throughout the play. Discuss. The atmosphere in Macbeth is one of uniform gloom, horror and bloodshed. Discuss. What do you understand by dramatic irony? Illustrate with close reference to the play Macbeth. Critically examine Macbeth as a tragedy of inordinate ambition. What is meant by poetic justice? Comment on the element of poetic justice in Macbeth. Critically examine the manner in which Shakespeare delineates the decline of conscience in Macbeth. How does he relate it to the theme of evil in the play? What do you understand by a soliloquy? Analyse the soliloquies in Macbeth and comment on Shakespeares use of them in this play.


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