Macbeth Study Guide

MACBETH Study Guide


1. What is the point of the first scene (literally) and in reference to the whole play?


2. What does Duncan call Macbeth when he hears Macbeth has defeated Macdonwald?


3. Who is sentenced to death?


4. What do the witches predict in Act I, Scene 3 for Macbeth?  For Banquo?




5. Who news does Ross bring Macbeth?


6. Banquo, like Macbeth, is surprised that the witches have predicted Macbeth’s new title.  He is, however, leery.  What does he say about the motives of the “instruments of darkness” ?


7. Malcolm describes Cawdor’s last moments before execution.  What is Duncan ’s reply?


8. Macbeth says, “Stars, hide your fires.  Let not light see my black and deep desires.”  What are Macbeth’s desires?


9. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter, what does she tell us is her opinion of Macbeth, and how does she plan to help him?


10. What is Lady Macbeth’s “prayer” to the spirits after she learns Duncan is missing?


11. What advice does Lady Macbeth give Macbeth when he arrives home?


12. What are Macbeth’s arguments to himself against killing Duncan ?


13. What arguments does Lady Macbeth use to convince Macbeth to commit the murder?


14. What is Lady Macbeth’s plan?



1. What is Macbeth’s life to Banquo about the witches’ predictions?


2. What is the signal Lady Macbeth is to give Macbeth to let him know that she has taken care of the guards (grooms)?


3. What excuse does Lady Macbeth give for not killing Duncan herself?


4. After Macbeth kills Duncan , he goes to Lady Macbeth and is concerned about not being able to say “Amen.”  What is her advice to him?


5. Then, Macbeth is worried about hearing a  voice  saying, “Macbeth does murder sleep.”    What does Lady Macbeth tell him to do?


6. Why won’t Macbeth take the daggers back to the scene of the crime?


7. Who was knocking?


8. What three things does drinking provoke?


9. How does Lennox describe the night, and what is Macbeth’s response?


10. What does Macduff discover?


11. Macduff says, “Oh, gentle lady, 'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.  The repetition in a woman’s ear, Would murder as it fell.”  What is ironic about this?


12. What excuse or explanation does Macbeth give for killing the guards (grooms)?  What is his real reason?


13. Why do Malcolm and Donalbain leave?


14. Why does Ross not believe Malcolm and Donalbain were responsible for Duncan ’s death?



1. Why does Macbeth want Banquo and Fleance dead?


2. What is Macbeth’s plan for killing Banquo and Feance?  Does it work?


3. Macbeth says, “The worm that’s fled Hath nature that in time will venom breed, No teeth for the present.”  What does that mean?


4. Who (what) did Macbeth see at the banquet table?


5. How does Lady Macbeth cover for Macbeth at the banquet?  What excuses does she give for Macbeth’s wild talk?


6. Who else is missing from the banquet table, besides Banquo?


7. Macbeth says, “I am in blood Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”  What does he mean?


8. What does Hecate want the witches to do?


9. What does Lennox think about Macbeth, Fleance, and Duncan ’s sons?


ACT 4 

1. Witch 2 says “By the pricking of my thumb, Something wicked this way comes.”  Who arrives?


2. What is Macbeth’s attitude towards the witches this time?


3. What 4 things do the witches show Macbeth?  What does each show/say?  What is Macbeth’s reaction?









4. Macbeth says (about the witches), “Infected be the air wheron they ride, And damned all those that trust them!”  What is Macbeth, in effect, saying about himself?


5. Where is Macduff?  Why isn’t he with his family?


6. What is Lady Macduff’s attitude at the moment about her husband Macduff?


7. Why does Macbeth have Macduff’s family and servants killed?


8. Why is Malcolm in England?


9. Why does Macduff travel to England?


10. Why does Malcolm test Macduff?


11. What news does Ross bring to Macduff?


12. What does Malcolm tell Macduff to do with his grief?


13. What does Malcolm resolve to do by the end of Act 4?



1. What do the doctor and the gentlewoman sees Lady Macbeth doing? What do they decide to do?


2. What does Macbeth want the doctor to do for his wife?


3. What trick does Malcolm use to hide the number of men in his army?


4. What does Malcolm explain about the state of Macbeth’s armies? 


5. What is Macbeth’s reaction to Lady Macbeth’s death?


6. What is Macbeth’s reaction to the news that Birnam Wood is moving?


7. Who first fights Macbeth?  What happens?


8. Why is it important that Young Siward died with wounds to the front chest?


9. What excuse does Macbeth give Macduff for not wanting to fight him?


10. When does Macbeth know he is in trouble?


11. How does Macbeth die?


12. Who will be the new king of Scotland?


Questions for Macbeth Study Guide

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