Macbeth Act 4 Essay Questions

Macbeth: Essay Topics

1) The supernatural plays an important role in Macbeth. To what extent does it motivate Macbeth's actions?

2) Discuss King Duncan and examine what contribution he makes to the play.

3) In constructing Macbeth, Shakespeare dramatically altered historical characters to enhance certain themes. Examine Shakespeare's sources and discuss why he made these radical changes.

4) Is Lady Macbeth more responsible than Macbeth for the murder of King Duncan? Is Lady Macbeth a more evil character than her husband and, if so, why?

5) The sleepwalking scene in Act V is one of the most memorable in all of drama. Relate this scene to the overall play and examine what makes Lady Macbeth's revelation so provoking.

6) Choose two of the minor characters in Macbeth and examine how they contribute to the play's action.

7) The witches tell Banquo that he will be the father of future kings. How does Banquo's reaction reveal his true character?

8) Examine Macbeth's mental deterioration throughout the play.

9) Discuss the speech Macbeth gives upon hearing that his wife is dead in Act V, Scene V. How do his words capture one of the major themes in the drama?


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More Resources

 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

Research Your Topic

 Macbeth: The Complete Play with Annotations and Commentary
 The Metre of Macbeth: Blank Verse and Rhymed Lines
 Macbeth Character Introduction
 Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)

 Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
 Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
 Soliloquy Analysis: She should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)

 Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
 The Psychoanalysis of Lady Macbeth (Sleepwalking Scene)
 Lady Macbeth's Suicide
 Is Lady Macbeth's Swoon Real?

 Explanatory Notes for the Witches' Chants (4.1)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)

 A Comparison of Macbeth and Hamlet
 The Effect of Lady Macbeth's Death on Macbeth
 The Curse of Macbeth

 James I and Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Macbeth Q & A
 Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
 What is Tragic Irony?

 Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
 Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
 Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Shakespeare's Workmanship: Crafting a Sympathetic Macbeth
 Temptation, Sin, Retribution: Lecture Notes on Macbeth
 Untie the winds: Exploring the Witches' Control Over Nature in Macbeth

 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama



Macbeth Essay

In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth's corrupt ways and mind causes him to do evil doings and actions. In Act four, he shows many visions of malevolent doings. First, he visits the witches. Then, he plans the murders of Lady Macduff and her son. Next, Macbeth makes Macduff and Malcolm question their thoughts about him. Also, Macbeth vows that he will not be hasty in his moves any longer. Finally, he acts as a foil toward Malcolm.

In this tragic, mysterious play, the main character, Macbeth, being his insane, corrupt, self, prefers to be in the presence of evil—the three witches. He visits the mystical sisters wanting their advice, help, and guidance, and he is saying it by, "I conjure you by that which you profess—Howe'er you come to know it---answer me…" 4.1.50-51. The witches respond to his demand by saying that they will listen when he speaks. When the first apparition appears, Macbeth is questioned by the desolate power in which he sees. "Tell me, thou unknown power---" 4.1.71 Afterward, the first witch replied by saying that he can read Macbeth's thoughts, so there is no reason to speak, and advised Macbeth to listen to him. Banquo, being frightened of these "hags", stayed away, no matter what they said, while Macbeth did not, and any sane person would not visit such treacherous witches or do anything that Macbeth has done.

In Act 4, Macbeth's corrupt ways and mind causes evil doings and actions. In this act, Macbeth learns that the one who will defeat him wasn't born the right way from a woman. "Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn. The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth" 4.1.81-83 The apparitions and the witches warned him to beware of Macduff, the Thane of Fife. So, he is led to believe that Macduff will be the one to defeat him. "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough." 4.1.73-74 In this case, he hired murders to go and raid Macduff castle and kill his children and wife and anyone that stand in his way of power. So, Macbeth killed Lady Macduff and her children indirectly.

In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, many evil and corrupt doings occur in the play. An example of this would be that Macbeth's corrupt ways cause evil doings and actions in Act IV. Also, Macbeth's actions make Macduff and Malcolm question the ways in which he does things. I believe this is true, that Macbeth is overly corrupt, and nothing will get in his way to get what he wants. It is very human-like to question why Macbeth would murder Lady Macduff and his son, because it is not expected, and very inhumane. Macduff: But Macbeth is (treacherous). A good and virtuous nature may recoil In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon. That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose. Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell. Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, Yet grace must still look so.(4.3.19-25). This quote is basically saying that Macbeth is fueled with evil and corruption from lust for power, and Macduff has no idea why Macbeth murdered his son and Lady Macbeth. Macduff is eventually torn over from grief, and cries out about how Macbeth is a villain. Macduff: Bleed, bleed, poor country! Great tyranny, lay thou basis sure, For goodness dare not check thee. Wear thou thy wrongs; The title is afeered.-Fare thee well, lord. I would not be the villain that thou think'st For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp, And the rich East to boot.(4.3.33-38). In this quote, Macduff is going on about how he is glad Macbeth will get to build himself up, and keep his title safe for the price of going to hell, and that he himself is at least innocent. I don't blame Macduff for being angry at Macduff, and questioning how he could be so barbaric as to murder his own son and his wife, Lady Macduff, while they were unguarded. I believe Macduff is still strong though, because instead of going into a dark corner and crying his heart out, he wants to stand tall and defend his homeland.

In the fourth act of the tragedy of Macbeth by Shakespeare Macbeth's corrupt ways and mind causes evil doings and actions. Macbeth's corrupted ways act as a foil toward Malcolm's character. Malcolm is a very honest and trust worthy man, and most importantly he can acknowledge the problems that he may have. Malcolm says to Macduff "My first false speaking was this upon myself. What I am truly, is thine and my poor country's to command: Wither indeed, before thy here-approach, Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men, already at a point, was setting forth." 4.3.132-136 In a long argument about whether Malcolm was fit to be king over Macbeth or not Malcolm was fooling Macduff and telling him he was not fit to be king because he had so many bad attributes. Macbeth says to Lennox "To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought amd done: the castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line." 4.1.155-159 Macbeth had originally told his wife he would kill Macduff, but then he goes back on his word and says he is not going to. This made Lady Macbeth very angry and then Macbeth is persuaded to go through with his plan, because he feels like he should live up to what he says he is going to do.

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