Complete the following questions after reading Act I. Always answer in complete sentences. Some questions have more than one part; be sure to answer the question completely.
Act I, Scene 1
1- What atmosphere is created by the witches? Why do you suppose Shakespeare chose to start the play with them and not with Macbeth?
2- When are the three Witches to meet again and for what purpose?
3- What do you suppose is suggested by the line, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”
Act I, Scene 2
4- What is the nature of the war in which Scotland is involved? From the reports of the Sergeant and Ross, what are the reader’s first impressions of Macbeth? What reward is Macbeth to be given for his role in the battle?
5- Why is it so important that Macbeth is first presented to the audience as a brave and honored soldier?
Act I, Scene 3
6- As the scene begins, how does the conversation of the Witches strike you?
7- When Macbeth says, “So foul and fair a day I have not seen,” to what is he referring? What could be the dramatic irony in this line?
8- What prophecies do the Witches make regarding Macbeth? What do the Witches see in the future for Banquo?
9- The Elizabethan audience actually believed in witches; a modern audience does not. What difference could this make in the reactions of the audiences to the prophecies of the witches?
10- As the others talk, what does Macbeth’s aside reveal about his thinking?
11- How does Banquo’s comment support the “Fair is foul, foul is fair” theme?
12- What does Macbeth mean in his aside about two truths being prologue to the imperial theme?
Act I, Scene 4
13- Why was the old Thane of Cawdor executed?
14- What news does the King impart to Macbeth and what is Macbeth’s reaction to the news?
15- In his last speech in this scene, what does Macbeth reveal?
16- In literature a foil is a character whose personality serves to contrast with and highlight aspects of the main character’s personality. In what way does Banquo begin to serve as a foil for Macbeth?
Act I, Scene 5
17- After Lady Macbeth finishes reading the letter, what fear about her husband does she express?
18- When she says, “Hie thee hither,” what is it that she plans to do?
19- In what way does Lady Macbeth’s advice to Macbeth relate to the “fair is foul” theme?
20 -In scenes 5-7, how much evidence can you find that Macbeth is more frightened by the plan to kill Duncan than Lady Macbeth is? Is there evidence that there has been previous discussion of the plan? If so, refer to the line or lines
Act 1 Scene 7
21- After saying that if the deed is to be done it must be done quickly, what arguments does Macbeth raise for not doing it?
22- How does Lady Macbeth manage to stiffen Macbeth’s courage and determination? What arguments does she use to force Macbeth to kill Duncan?