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Analysis 10

1. Macbeths opening lines demand our attention and

have a profound ring. This is achieved by the
repetition of several words and phrases with a
different meaning each time.
a) What does Macbeth mean by it in the first line?
The murder of King Duncan
b) What are the two meanings of done in the first
The first meaning is the end of the overwhelming evil whilst
the second meaning of done refers to the assassination of
c) What are the two meanings of the phrase it were
The first utilisation of it were done refers to the end of
bloody business whilst the second use means the completion
of the assassination of Duncan.
2. If th assassination / Could trammel up the
consequence, and catch, / With his surcease,
success; [2-4]
Explain what Macbeth means in this metaphor.
Macbeths primary concern is getting caught. Theres no
cunning dilemma about the moral value of the means and
shortly Macbeth becomes level with the means but is worried
what the implications will be.
3. Macbeth refers to the be-all and the end-all
a) What does Macbeth want to be?
He wants to be king.
b) What does Macbeth want to end?
The bloody business.
c) Shakespeare has made be and end parallel terms
by adding all to each. Why?
This creates and equal weight on the two words because it is
parallel. It shows how to Macbeth it is just as important to
end the bloody affair as it is to be king. It also shows how
the assassination can act as a single solution to all.
a) What techniques are used to emphasize the word
Juxtaposition & Repetition

b) Macbeth does not mean here in a sense of a

location. What does he mean?
Macbeth is referring to time using the comparison
(metaphor) of a location such as a bank or a river to
illustration points in time.
c) Why is this word emphasized so much?
All is emphasized as in this time and place Macbeth is
confronted with a decision that will impact greatly on him,
good or bad.
5. Because the spelling and meaning of many words
were different in Shakespeares time, his plays
often contain words and phrases that could today
be given more than one possible interpretation. A
decision on the right interpretation can be made
by looking at many other references; sometimes it
can be made from the general context. Note the
two following interpretations of this bank and
shoal of time
I would select the second interpretation because it uses
words that mean similar things shoal and bank to show
how shallow the human river of time is. This is further
justified within the following context when Macbeth says
jump the life to come, which makes sense within the
metaphor of a river.
a) What does Macbeth mean when he says We still
have Judgment here?
He means that consequences and judgment exist in the
mind and even if we fantasize about acting without
consequence, we still know better.
b) How does Macbeth extend the idea of judgment?
He describes justice and judgment to be equal and fair, he
also uses the metaphor of plague and a poisoned
chalice to tell us how bad deeds return.
7. Macbeth is pondering over his coming betrayal of
Duncan, and he is doing this while Duncan, his king
and leader, is at supper.
When Macbeth introduces the word chalice, the
whole situation becomes an allusion to Judas
betrayal of Jesus, and to the last supper. What is
the effect of this allusion?
The allusion foreshadows future events enabling the
audience to predict certain outcomes. For example in the
story of the last supper Judas like Macbeth, betrays his
leader Jesus for (material reward) Judas then feels a deep

sense of guilt, which drives him to take his own life. The
audience may recount this biblical allusion and predict the
feelings of guilt and regret Macbeth will feel which will
lead to his downfall.
8. What is Macbeths tone in lines 16-20?
a) Give two examples of alliteration in lines 19-20
Trumpet tongued & deep damnation
b) What opposing concepts are referred to?
The triumphant rejoice of his success and the profound
regret and damnation of his death.

c) What is the effect of these examples of alliteration?

To create emphasis and equality between the two
opposing concepts and also to create a strong link
between the noun and the adjective hence creating a
strong connotation.
. The image of pity as a naked newborn babe
suggests a quality of defenselessness, such as
that of innocent Duncan; but pity is also powerful
because it can stride the blast. The blast
suggests the blast of trumpets, and also the storm
of indignation and horror aroused by the murder.
The sightless couriers of the air are the winds. All
these images and ideas build up a strong picture of
all nature turned into a raging storm, spreading the
news of the terrible deed of Duncans murder, and
suggests that nature and all mankind will weep and
a) What is emphasized by the Alliteration in naked
newborn babe?
That King Duncan is Naked meaning he is unarmed,
exposed and defenseless. King Duncan is newborn
symbolizing how he is innocent and trusts everyone like a
newborn baby. Finally, he is a baby because he is deep a
sleep like a baby.
b) Give at least two examples of hyperbole in this
The tears shall drown the wind shall blow the horrid
deed in every eye

c) Why is hyperbole used?

To emphasize the severe impact that the death of Duncan
will have.
d) The word horrid in the horrid deed has a very
strong meaning here quite close to the word
horror, the word from which it comes. Today the
meaning has softened a great deal. Comment on
Macbeths choice of his word.
Macbeth uses the word horrid in a literal sense, meaning
something that causes intense fear and disgust. He views
the deed of killing Duncan as something psychologically
traumatizing and scarring.

a) Explain the metaphor used in lines 25-28, from I
have no spur.
Macbeth is saying how he has no spur that motivates him
to do it, there are no negative consequences if he was not
to do it, it is not necessary but he is still driven towards
the goal because of his ambition.
b) Is there a prophetic note in this metaphor of
Yes. He is saying how ambition can make people rush
ahead of themselves and fall.
c) Several times throughout the play, Shakespeare
uses the idea of a rider out of control. Why is this
an important idea?
It shows how control is only temporary and how power
(symbolized by the horse) can easily be corrupted.