Notes on Macbeth Act 1, Scenes i-vii Scene 1: A Desolate Place-The Witches. Spell-like speech. Form speech we realise Macbeth is a soldier victorious in battle, and that after the battle he will meet the witches-so we associate something sinister with him. Key Phrases: Fair is foul, and foul is fair- suggests that the play will be upside down.
Scene 2: King Duncans camp near Forres. War beaten captain returns to bare good tidings to the king, describes how Macbeth brutally kills Macdonald-doesnt say anything bad about him. Tells of the reinforcements for the enemy arriving and how this did not dismay Macbeth and Banquo. Then Ross tells that Macbeth has won the battle and captured the Thane of Cawdor, king orders death of Cawdor and gives Macbeth his former title.
Key Phrases: As two spent swimmers that do cling together / And choke their art. -describing the battling armies. For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name-as if Macbeths first name is Brave Brandished steel / Which smoked with bloody execution describing passage of Macbeths sword Like Valours minion-describing Macbeth-slave to valour-posses all Valours good qualities-but underneath this higher power That Bellona's bridegroom-again describing Macbeth-husband to the Goddess of War Surely not-more likely a slave to her. Scene 3: A heath-Macbeth and Banquo meet witches after returning from battle. They tell Macbeth he is T of G, that he will become T of C and also King-dramatic irony-we already know that the King has pronounced him T of C. They also tell Banquo that his sons will be kings. Then M finds out he is the T of C, he begins to think about how he will become King-will he have to kill the King Key Phrases: So foul and fair a day I have not seen-Macbeths first line in the play-immediate link to witches. Scene 4: Duncans Palace at Forres-Malcolm tells the King of T of Cs execution-noble repentant death.
M and B return to meet the King. M declares his loyalty to the King, right after the King saying that it is impossible to judge someone by their outward appearance- dramatic irony again. King declares that Malcolm (his son) shall become the Prince of Cumberland-heir to the throne. Key Phrases: Theres no art to find the minds construction in the face-King when he realises you cant judge someone by their outward appearance-after he has been betrayed by the T of C. A man on whom he built an absolute trust.
Scene 5: Macbeths Castle at Inverness-Lady M reads Ms letter about the witches and what they tell him. She fears his human nature believing that he is too full oth milk of human kindness to kill the King. Then an attendant tells her that the King is coming to stay and that M is returning. Big long soliloquy in which she asks to be rid of her femininity and compassion-to become a man-so that she can kill the King herself. Calls on evil spirits. Greets M with thoughts of future greatness and tells him to be nice on top but nasty underneath.
Lady Ms last speech is filled with double meanings-see book. Key phrases: Unsex me here -Lady M asking to be made a man. Come to my womans breasts and take my milk for gall-asking for her breast milk to be turned into poison-evil-twisted. Look like th innocent flower / But be the serpent under telling M to be nice on top by nasty underneath. Scene 6: King arrives at Ms castle.
Dramatic Irony-says its a nice castle-looks nice-his is going to be killed there. Banquo talks about the martlet-in The Merchant of Venice-martlet or martin was also used about a visitor who was deceived by appearances. Also martlet = fool / dope (slang term). Lady M welcome King being suitably like the innocent flower whilst being the serpent under it. Scene 7: Macbeths Castle ~ Near the Great Hall-Ms soliloquy, he struggles with his conscience-should he kill the king or not He is related to him and one of his subjects therefore he should not kill him. Also the King is his guest, if anything he should be protecting him from murderers, not doing the deed himself.
Only ambition spurs him on. M tells Lady M that he has decided not to kill the King, as the king hath honoured him of late. She says that he is not a man if he doesnt do it-he is a coward. She also says that if she had promised like he had, she would kill her own child rather than break such a promise.
Lady M tells M of her plan to drug the bodyguards of the King-says it will be easy to kill him if he has no guards. Macbeth praises her, she says that they will make it look like a convincing murder by being vs. surprised when they find out. M says he is ready to do the job, and that they should hide their true feelings-in their hearts- with false faces. Key Phrases: False face must hide what false heart doth know-like nice on top but nasty underneath.