Macbeth Acts 1 and 2 Study Guide



Lady Macbeth









Fill-ins/super short answers:

Know plot info from acts 1 and 2

Know info about Shakespeare and his life


Be able to discuss…

Gender issues in the text, particularly as related to Lady Macbeth and her chiding of Macbeth

Who you think is responsible for the idea to murder Duncan; this would include the ability to discuss issues of fate vs. free will

The presence of the supernatural in the play and its significance

The shift that we begin to see after Macbeth murders Duncan

The issue of violence in the play particularly in terms of why some violence is onstage and other instances of violence are off

The issue of appearances vs. reality

The significance of the disruptions of the natural order in the play


Be able to explain the significance of the following quotes:

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air” (1.1.11-12) especially when coupled with Macbeth’s “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (1.3.39)

“Why do you start and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?” (1.3.52-53)

“That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires” (1.4.51-53)

“Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood; stop up th’access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose…” (1.5.38-44)

“Come to my woman’s breasts and take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers…” (1.5.45-46)

“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting Ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’other” (1.7.25-28)

“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none” (1.7.46-47)

“When you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man” (1.7.49-51)

“I have given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me; I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this” (1.7.54-58)

“Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still! Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?” (2.1.33-39)

“Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t” (2.2.12-13)

“But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’? I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat” (2.2.34-36)

“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more! Macbeth shall sleep no more!” (2.2.45-46)

“My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white” (2.2.67-68)

“Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst!” (2.2.77)



Vocab 11

Wrought – adj. worked into shape by artistry or effort; processed for use
Augment – v. to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense; supplement
Repose – v. to lie at rest; to lie dead
Knell – n. a stroke or sound of a bell especially when rung slowly (as for a death, funeral, or disaster); an indication of the end or the failure of something
Surfeit – n. an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (as food or drink); excess; v. – to feed, supply, or give to surfeit
Gild – v. to make bloody; to overlay with or as if with a thin covering of gold
Appall – v. to overcome with consternation, shock, or dismay
Incarnadine – v. to make red
Carouse – v. to drink liquor freely or excessively
Consort – v. to keep company with; to associate with

32 Second Macbeth

© Folger Shakespeare Library 2007
The 32-second
Actors 1, 2, 3 – Fair is foul and foul is fair
Actor 4 – What bloody man is that?
Actor 2 – A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come
Macbeth – So foul and fair a day I have not seen
Actor 3 – All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!
Macbeth – If chance will have me king, then chance will crown me
Actor 5 – Unsex me here
Macbeth – If it were done when ‘tis done
Actor 5 – Screw your courage to the sticking place
Macbeth – Is this a dagger that I see before me? (Actor 4 dies)
Actor 5 – A little water clears us of this deed.
Actor 6 – Fly, good Fleance, fly! (dies)
Macbeth – Blood will have blood
Actors 1, 2, 3 – Double, double, toil and trouble
Actor 7 – He has kill’d me, mother! (dies)
Actor 8 – Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Actor 5 – Out damn’d spot! (dies)
Macbeth – Out, out, brief candle!
Actor 8 – Turn, hell-hound, turn!
Macbeth – Lay on Macduff! (dies)
Actor 8 – Hail, king of Scotland!
© Folger Shakespeare Library 2007