(Macbeth - Act I, Scene V. Questions taken from the Indispensable Work-Book on Macbeth published by National Publishing House.Suitable for class XI of ISC schools)
Q1.Who is Lady Macbeth talking to and what are the circumstances?
Lady Macbeth is talking to herself in this extract. The circumstances are that lady Macbeth has just been informed by Macbeth, through a letter, that the witches have informed him that he would be the king of Scotland. In this extract she plan on how she will talk to Macbeth, once he reaches home, on her plan to kill Duncan and become the king of Scotland.
Q2.What is lady Macbeth referring to in the first line?
In the first line lady Macbeth says that Duncan would not do anything which is wrong.Lady Macbeth wishes that Macbeth would kill king Duncan to take over as the king of Scotland. However, she know that Macbeth is too kind to do such a dastardly act.She therefore plans to poison Macbeth's mind to make him strong-willed enough to carry out the plan to murder king Duncan.
Q3.In the line " Thus thou must do if thou have it". What do "thus" and "it" refer to.
Here Lady Macbeth wishes that Macbeth adopts the attitude of " I want to be the king of Scotland and therefore I will do whatever is required to achieve this goal" "Thus" refer to Macbeth getting convinced to kill king Duncan. "It" refers to the deed of killing king Duncan.
Q4.Explain the line "and that which..... undone"
This line is spoken by lady Macbeth when Macbeth is not present. Here Lady Macbeth tell herself that if Macbeth carry's out the act of killing king Duncan he would not regret the act.She goes on to think at once done, Macbeth would be so happy with the outcome that he would not want the act to be reversed even if that were possible.
Q5.Lady Macbeth calls Macbeth "hither".What does she propose to do?
Once Macbeth arrives she proposes to use the power of here speech to fill his mind with courage to take the decision to kill king Duncan. She want to motivate Macbeth to carry out the act of killing Duncan so that he could take over as the king of Scotland.
Q6.Earlier in the speech she says that " I fear thy nature" Why does she fear Macbeth's nature.
Lady Macbeth fear Macbeth's nature because Macbeth, by nature, is straightforward and would not do anything which is illegal or immoral. Macbeth does not believe in foul play.Macbeth was ambitious but would not adopt crooked ways to achieve his goals. Lady Macbeth fears this nature of Macbeth because she feels that because of his straightforward nature, Macbeth would not agree to her plan of killing king Duncan and becoming the ruler of Scotland.
Q7.What metaphysical "aid" is Lady Macbeth referring to? How has it helped Macbeth?
The metaphysical "aid" which Lady Macbeth is referring to is that meeting of Macbeth with the three witches where the witches had informed Macbeth that he would become the king of Scotland. By recalling the prophesy of the witches, Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to carry out the plan to kill king Duncan.
Q1.Who is Lady Macbeth talking to? What has she been told and by whom?
Lady Macbeth is talking to the spirits.She is asking them to make her cruel and without remorse and compassion. She is asking the spirits to make her unwomanlike in her attitude.She is saying this to get the courage to make Macbeth carry out the act of killing king Duncan. She has been told by the messenger that Macbeth and king Duncan are on the way to the castle.
Q2.Why does she wish to be "unsexed"?
She wishes to be unsexed becuase a woman is not normally capable of doing cruel deeds. She has to carry out the plan of killing king Duncan. She feels that her woman like qualities of compassion and kindness will come in the way of her executing the act of killing king Duncan. She therefore wishes her womanly qualities are take away to that she can carry out the killing of king Duncan without remorse.
Q3.What do you understand by "compunctious visitings of nature"?
This means that Lady Macbeth wants to steel herself so much that her womanly qualities do no women in the way of her plan to kill king Duncan.She does not want her feelings to come in the way of killing a person who was their guest.
Q4.What "fell purpose" is Lady Macbeth talking about?
The world "fell" means foul.This "fell" purpose refers to the Lady Macbeth's plan to kill king Duncan when he came to visit them at their castle in inverness.
Q5.Explain "nor keep... between the effect and it".
Lady Macbeth does not want anything to come between her desire to kill king Duncan and the execution of the deed.
Q1.How is Macbeth's face an "open book" and what "matter can people read?
Lady Macbeth tell Macbeth that his face is like an "open book". That is what goes on in Macbeth's mind is visible on this face. Lady Macbeth fears that Macbeth's the going ons in Macbeth's mind is so visible on his face that people will see on his face his plan to kill king Duncan.
Q2.Explain the line " to beguile the time/look like the time".
Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that since his face was like an open book, he should "beguile the time" that is, his face and look must deceive the world.No one should know from this face what was going on in his mind. "Look like the time" means that Macbeth must show that he is happy and must welcome everyone to his castle.
Q3.Pick out the simile in the passage and explain it.
The simile in the passage is "Your face, my thane, is as a book...". This is a simile because Lady Macbeth compares Macbeth's face to a book. She compares his face to a book becuase she feels that people could read his face for his thoughts as easily as someone reads a book.
Q4.Who is expected and with whom?
King Duncan is expected to visit the castle at inverness. He was expected to arrive along with Macbeth.
Q5.What does Lady Macbeth plan to do?
Lady Macbeth plans to arrange to kill king Duncan while he slept at the castle in Inverness.
Q1.Write a note on the soliloquy uttered by Lady Macbeth. Give a brief impression of her character as revealed by Shakespeare in the scene.
Lady Macbeth's soliloquy is inspired by her obsessive desire to convince Macbeth to execute her plan to kill king Duncan.This soliloquy reveal her murderous thoughts. In the soliloquy she requests the spirits to take away her womanly qualities so that they do not create any remorse in her mind in planning the murder of kind Duncan. She request the sprirts to fill her with cruelty to enable her to execute her task successfully. In her soliloquy she asks the night to become so dark that no one can see the gleam of the sharp knife that would be used to kill king Duncan. Her soliloquy also reveals her fears.She feels that Macbeth is too soft an too kind to commit the act of murdering king Duncan.She thinks of what she would tell Macbeth to ensure that he has enough resolve to kill king Duncan.
Lady Macbeth is a very determined and ambitious woman. She is ambitious not only for herself but also for her husband. Her soliloquy reveals her mind on how she would convince Macbeth to undertake the task of killing king Duncan.
Q2."Lady Macbeth is not as ruthless as she appears to be" Contrast her character as shown in Act I, Scene V to Act V, Scene I , later on in the play.
In act I, Scene V, the ruthless personality of Lady Macbeth comes to the fore. Here she plots to kill king Duncan. She is shown here to strengthen her husbands resolve to kill king Duncan. She is seen a a tough woman who even asks the spirits to take away her womanly quality so that it does not come in the way of her executing her plans. She is shown being critical of Macbeths honest and transparent personality.She feels that Macbeths non-conniving nature is an impediment in the way of executing her plan. She even tell Macbeth that the plan would be executed under her supervision. Macbeth would only the the executor of the plans.
However, this behaviour is a complete contrast to her behaviour in Act V Scene I where she is a completely broken woman.She sleeps walks. She has no control over what she says. This is a complete contrast to her personality in the earlier act where she was in complete control of what she said and even what Macbeth said. In the latter act she is a broken-down woman who is regretting her action to killing king Duncan. This act has adversly affected her mental health. In the latter act she tries to get rid of imaginary blood stains from her hand. It is clear that her mental state is unstable. She is no longer the woman she was.