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The Tragedy of Macbeth

Plot Overview
Macbeth's History
Fun Facts
About Shakespeare
Act 1 Animation


Essays written for the story.


Act I

Write a 300 word essay comparing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Find at least two passages spoken by each character that supports the points in your paper.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are alike in many ways; however, the two are quite different in many ways.  Both are too ambitious for their own good.  The lust for power is the main force that drives them both.  Macbeth is essentially a good person.  He was brave and loyal.  This only changed after his beloved wife questions his manhood.  They both have to con or talk other people into doing things for them.  Lady Macbeth talks Macbeth into killing Duncan so that they can take over the throne. After this they both become ruthless murders.  They are unable to stop themselves from killing others.  They feel that they must do anything and everything, in order, to keep the crown.  However, at some point they both feel overwhelmed by the guilt.  Ironically, Lady Macbeth is so over come by guilt, that she ends up  taking her life.  Macbeth also dies in the end but it is my the hand of Macduff and not his own.

Act II

Write a character sketch of the castle porter.  Think about how the porter differs from the other characters in the play.  Is he a serious or comical character? Jot down all the traits that make the porter special.

The porter is very different from other characters.  He adds a comical twitch to the play.  He compares himself to a porter at the gates of hell.   He was up late from drinking alcohol, without any sleep.  Macduff and Lennox complain about the slowness of the porter.  He simply jokes about what effects alcohol has on a person.He adds jest to the play. He is a everyday person.He is the only comical character in the tragedy.The porter also differs from the other characters because he doesn't care what people think of him.


Shakespeare never reveals the identity of the 3rd murderer.  Who do you think he or she might be?  Write an essay supporting your theory.  Build a case using details from the play.  Use the process of elimination to exonerate some of the other characters.  Remember the 3rd murderer could have been sent by someone-even the witches-for a specific reason.  Make sure your theory has no gaps.

We believe the third murderer was Macbeth himself.  He was responsible for the deaths of many people through out the play.  Macbeth also tells Lady Macbeth that he is going out to see why Macduff didn't attend the banquet and hints that he may have to shed more blood. Macbeth is known to be a good actor.  We think that he was in disguise, that is why the other two murderers didn't know who he was.  He is also a very paranoid person who would not have intentionally let Fleance go. 

Act IV

Macbeth is a tragic hero, a person of high rank who is brought to an eventful ruin by a flaw in his character.  Macbeth's tragic flaw is his ambition, which leads him into a series of bloody and indefensible acts.  Write a composition in which you relate Macbeth's character to the plot develpment of the play.

We see the triumph of evil in a man with many good qualities. We are made aware that the potential for evil is frighteningly present in all of us and needs only the wrong circumstances and a relaxation of our desire for good. The good in Macbeth cries out poignantly through his feverish imagination, but his worldly ambition, the influence of Lady Macbeth, and the instigation of a supernatural power all combine to crush his better nature.By the end of the play Macbeth has collapsed beneath the weight of his evil, and the desperate tyrant has so isolated himself from society—and from his own moral sensibility—that for him life seems "a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing' . His once good nature is now bad.  This is the basic theme and plot of the play, " foul is fair, and fair is foul."

Act V

Macbeth's soliloquy after learning of Lady Macbeth's death is probably the most famous in the play.  Write an essay in which you explain the view of life that Macbeth presents and then explain whether that view is Shakespeare's or Macbeth's.  Be sure to include specific details from the play.  Write the soliloquy at the top of your page.

Macbeth:  She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word.  Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.  Tothe last syllable of recorded time: And all our yesterdays have lighted foos The way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!  Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by and idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing.
Macbeth's view of life after the death of Lady Macbeth:
Macbeth is presented as a brave and powerful general at the beginning of the play.  We believe this to be Macbeth's true biew of the life; however, as the play progresses, his wife seems to control him.  It is her ambition to murder Duncan and he follows her lead.  Sveral major conflicts that Macbeth struggles with prove he is fighting with himself.
1) The struggle withing Macbeth between his ambition adn his sense of right and wrong.
2) The struggle between the murderous evil represented by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 
Macbeth states, " Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. This quote makes us believe this character changes to Shakespeare's biew rather than his own view.  Duncan's murder represents the point of no return.  After this, Macbeth must continue butchering his subjects to avoid the consequences.
Macbeth has changed from the beginning. He learned of his wife's death and the message did not bother him.  At ont time during the play, this message would have chilled his heart, but now he excepted it as a fact of life.  Her death was merely a part of life.
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth was a brave, loyal, courageous general.  At the end, he seems not evil, but a tragedy.  He is humanly weak, causing tthe audience to have sympathy for him.