March 12, 2012
* Do you sympathize with Macbeth? Why or why not?
Considering whether or not to feel sympathy for Macbeth can be based upon whether or not you think Macbeth has any control of his own destiny. If you think of Macbeth as a pawn in his own game, then you can feel sympathy. He is controlled by the witches, who promise him the crown, at exactly the right time when he has just been "promoted" to Thane of Cawdor. The witches give him something else to strive for. Macbeth is also controlled by his aggressive and demanding wife. He has no choice but to follow her plans. In these instances, you can feel sorry for Macbeth because he is unable to make good decisions because of the pressure from the witches and his wife. However, if you think Macbeth is simply irrational and power hungry then he gets what he deserves in the end, no sympathy for the continuous bad choices he made. He was doing well by simply supporting and fighting for King Duncan and Scotland. It is difficult to feel sympathy for a character who continues to make bad choices.
* Who are the heroic characters in this play? Explain why. Macbeth is a true hero, distinguishing himself on the battlefield to protect King and country. He is truly courageous, brave and is rewarded by the king for his efforts. He does not sustain his hero status for very long, in fact, he becomes a villain, a murderer very shortly after this event. Murdering the king makes Macbeth a villain; he becomes truly evil, consumed with ambition and desire to protect his position once he is crowned king. As king, Macbeth is still a villain; a tyrant who threatens the survival of Scotland, even nature rejects Macbeth as king. Macduff emerges as a hero, a defender of Scotland, who is responsible for slaying the dragon, King Macbeth. Macduff makes a great sacrifice to save Scotland. He leaves his family unguarded as he journeys to England to meet with Malcolm and the King of England. While he is away his entire family, his household is murdered. Macduff rises above his grief, his pain, his deep sorrow at losing his entire family to Macbeth's killers. He is inspired to pursue the dreaded Macbeth for revenge and to restore order in Scotland. Banquo is not a villain, not really a hero either, more of a victim. He is murdered to soothe Macbeth's rising paranoia. He was Macbeth's friend, who shared his experience of the witches prophecy, but does not survive very long after his friend is crowned king. He is killed by Macbeth's thugs in order to prevent him from being father to kings as the prophecy stated. However, his son Fleance escapes, and survives. In this regard, saving Fleance, he is definitely a hero, but otherwise, Banquo distinguishes himself by displaying a sense of morality regarding the prophecies, never acting on them, something that Macbeth lacks. The three men are different in how they allow their ambition to lead them. Macduff is honest, noble and passionate about correcting what is wrong with Scotland. Banquo is also honest and moral; never acting on the prophecy he was given. Macbeth starts out as having similar qualities to both Banquo and Macduff, but turns away from good, inspired by evil and becomes a villain.
Obsequious- Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree (adj.) Sentence- He was so obsequious when the boss was present that his co-workers shunned him in disgrace. Soliloquy- Talking to oneself (noun) Sentence- The main character sang his soliloquy during the second act. Incarnate- Embodied in flesh; in human form (adj.) Sentence- He's the devil incarnate. Portent- A warning, usually of coming evil (noun) Sentence- He looked for a portent before going into battle. Repent- Feel sorry for having done something wrong and seeking forgiveness (verb) Sentence-We often repent of what we have said, but never of that which we have not. Chide- To scold, or blame...
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