Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Act 4 questions

Post your questions that you are asking over our reading of Act 4. Make sure to answer other's questions and clarify or use examples to support what you are saying.


Blogger saram said...

I am a little bit confused over Scene 1. The witches seemed to be casting spells. What were they doing? I understand that they were giving Macbeth confidence and not to worry about someone trying to kill him, but is that all they said or was there more to what they said? Can someone please help me understand this more? Thanks!

Wed Sep 27, 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Lane C. said...

I actually don't really know what they were doing besides giving him confidence. I think they were trying to get him to do things they want him to do. They want to confuse him. What I want to know is what the tree in the third apparitions hand could be a symbol for?

Wed Sep 27, 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

Ok. My first question. At the beginning of scene 2 when it sets up the scene and gives a brief overview of the scene, it says that both Macduff's wife and son were killed in the scene. But when we got to the end, only the son was killed right? Where was Macduff when all this happened or does it not matter? He was killed though, right? Or was that just a lie told? Why exactly did Macbeth want Macduff's family to be killed?

Wed Sep 27, 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...


I was very confused about that too. I think that if you read scene three your question as to whether or not Macbeth is alive is answered. (I can't answer this one in case someone didn't read it yet.)

I think that the presence of Macduff does matter as refrenced in scene three. Going off of what we know in just scene two, I believe that the lack of Macduff goes back to gender roles. I think that Macduff is the protector of Lady Macduff and her son. Without him she seems more vunerable.

As for whether LAdy Macduff is alive that agin is refrenced in scene three. Going off just scene two, notice that she was followed out by murders.

I was reading additional commentary on Macbeth, and it said that Macbteh really doesn't have motive for killing the son of Macduff and possibly Lady Macduff. My interpretation of this it that in a sense Macbteh is addicted to murder. Once he murders one person he has to murder another and another and another, and he can't seem to get out it.
I hope this helps.

Wed Sep 27, 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

Questins: Why are the witches chanting at the beinging of the Act and why are they putting all these different ingredients into a cauldren?
I am really confused from when Macduff and Malcolm are talkig? What is Malcolm trying to get at?
I like this quote "The night is long that never finds the day"
What do you think that it means. I have my own ideas but I was wondering what you think.

Wed Sep 27, 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger shaunam said...

I am a little bit confused,does Lady Macbeth have a son? If that is not her son then who is it?

erinl- For your first question, I think that the witches are chanting because maybe that is what makes the potion work or let them connect to other spirits. But, I am not sure why they are putting certain things into the potion... good question!

Wed Sep 27, 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wed Sep 27, 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

Shauna M. remember there is a Ldy Macduff is that what you're talking about?

Erin L. I agree with Shauna M. that it has to do with bringing out the spirits, but also that I think that it also is to maybe bring out a stronger feeling maybe of more confusion or maybe just to make you think I'm not sure.

Wed Sep 27, 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger tanal said...

Kjerstin well i think only Lady Macduff was killed in that scene and Macduff fled to england.

also to add onto shelby's answer, i think the witches were making the potion to bring out the spirits, but also to help them convince Macbeth that evrything he is doing is perfect and trying to make him feel really confident so that they can help him take a great fall.

I was a little confused when about the apparitonists. Were they just like ghosts that macbeth was seeing or what??

Wed Sep 27, 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger AleeA said...

Okay, for everyone who asked about the witches in scene one, I think that they are chanting and putting things into a cauldron to make the apparitions possible. The chants describe the apparitions and what they are to show Macbeth, at least that is how I understood it. I'm confused over practically all of scene 3. Could someone who understands it some it up for me so that I can at least have a big picture understanding of what happened? I was also confused because I thought that McDuff knew that his family was murdered at the beginning of the scene, but he seemed totally shocked when Ross told him about it. Also, Ross made it sound like he didn't know of any harm coming to McDuff's family at first, but then told him everything. Did I miss something? Also, who is Siward and why is he mentioned so much in scene 3? These questions are really nagging me, so I hope someone might be able to answer them. Thanks!

Wed Sep 27, 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Zachf said...

What are the wounds being added to their country? (Malcolm spoke of this) Do Malcolm and Macduff have an avarice of there own or is it more of a comparison to Macbeth?

Wed Sep 27, 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger karib said...

Aleea, Ross lied to Macduff earlier in the scene because he couldn't stand to share the grief of the murders, but told him about them later. I think Siward is the English general who would lead the attack against Scotland in order to liberate it from Macbeth's rule.

Now I have a question: Why is Macduff testing Malcolm? Is it to determine whether he can trust him or to make him angry enough to want to go overthrow Macbeth? I also don't understand why Malcolm was doubting himself so much. He kept talking about how he was unfit to rule because of his evilness. It would be great if someone would explain this part to me.

Wed Sep 27, 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger saram said...

Macduff was already in England with Malcolm. Macbeth suddenly decided that Macduff has betrayed him and he's not going to be able to reverse that, so he became angery and said, 'fine, then I'm going to kill your family!' I believe that only Macduff's son died and that Lady Macduff fled, but I'm not entirely sure. Hope that helped.

And thanks for answering my question guys. I understand better now!

Wed Sep 27, 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger kimmy c said...

I hope I can help clear up a lot of these questions.
In scene one the witches are conjuring up the apparations, and adding ingredients into a cauldren to help make the apparations appear. The three apparations are ghosts that I believe are really there. They don't really boost Macbeth's confidience, but instead they tell him how he is to die. Also the third apparation clears up that Banquo's kin will indeed be kings for at least 8 generations. As for scene two I believe that since Macbeth knew that Macbeth had fled to England, he ordered the murderers to kill of those who might become heirs to the throne if Macduff were to take over, also this would deeply hurt Macduff since he really loved his family. All of the children as well as Lady Macduff died. This news was brought to Macduff by Ross.

karib: I really don't understand what you mean by Macduff testing Malcolm. I didn't see that in the script can you tell me where you found this?

The questions that I have are: when ross says " make our women fight,To doff their dire distresses" what does he mean by this? Does he really want to send women into battle to fight alongside the men?

Wed Sep 27, 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

For anyone who is confused about the witches, I think that they are just doing stuff that witches do. Their leader comes right before Macbeth and tells them what a great job they were doing. I think it is just meant to help add to the fact the witches really are witches.

Lane c. I think the third apparition’s tree just symbolizes either what his warning was, are that he might have been some spirit who protected or spoke for nature.

Aleea, I think scene three is basically setting up the stage for the war between Scotland and England. It gives the reasons why these three men want to overthrow Macbeth.

Zach, I think the wounds that Malcolm refers to just mean the devastation that has overcome the country since Macbeth became king.

Wed Sep 27, 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

karib: About Malcolm testing Macduff, I was also wondering how he is doing that too. I think he is testing his resolve though, or at least that is the best guess I have. I think he wanted to see if Macduff was really commited to the downfall of Macbeth, and if he would try and seize power when Malcolm tried to vacate it. But I think Macduff passed the test. For example, when Malcolm talked about his vices, Macduff didn't say "Oh, then maybe I should be king!" He said "Oh, well it looks like Scotland is in for it." And also, Malcolm pretty much got Macduff to say multiple times how much he hated Macbeth and wanted to supplant him.

I want to know why Ross was so deceptive in the beggining. Why didn't he just come out and say Macduff's family had been slaughtered if he was going to?

I want to know about Macbeth's reasoning behind the killing of Macduff's family. Has he resorted to simply rage and revenge killing, or did he do it to make a point?

Wed Sep 27, 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...

Ben: I think that Ross doesn't want to tell Macduff what happened because he doesn't want to be the bearer of bad news. Haven't you ever had that problem where you have been nominated to tell someone something that they aren't going to want to hear?

I think Macbeth killed Macduff's family as a way to say, "Don't mess with me, or this is what will happen." But when you think about it, macbeth's reasoning is kind of backwards because if he kills the only thing Macduff cares about, then Macduff has nothing else to lose, and he's going to want revenge.

If that's the case, then hasn't Macbeth cemented the crossing of his path with Macduff? Hasn't he made certain it will happen?

I got a little confused about Malcolm's heritage. Is he Duncan's son by birth, or do they refer to him as Duncan's son because he is the rightful heir?

Wed Sep 27, 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah C said...

MY question is, in scene 3, when Macduff asks how his family is doing, Ross says that when he left they were fine. Yet, a few lines later, he tells Macduff they were murdered. I'm confused why he basically lied to Macduff about his family? Can someone clarify?

joanneh, Malcom is Duncan's son because he is the heir to the throne. The sons (daughters too?) of kings became the heirs to their thrones when the king died. Therefore, Malcom is the true son of Duncan.

Wed Sep 27, 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger briang said...

JoanneH, to answer your second question, yes Malcolm is Duncan's son by birth, as is Donalbain, which I have no idea what he is doing now in all of this, but the front of your book should explain that Malcolm is Duncan's son.

Ben, I think the reasoning behind the killing of Macduff's family was that Macduff was one of Macbeth's favorite and most noble warriors. Malcolm tells Macduff that," You have loved him well". This is saying that Macduff was basically one of Macbeth's favorites. Macduff in a way has betrayed Macbeth by going to England. I also believe Macbeth had asked him to return several times and this made him furious. Then when he found out that he had fled to England with Malcolm that just put the icing on the cake, and because Macbeth has changed his entire view of killing from thinking it out to just taking action, he killed Macduff's family.

Also, for anyone confused about Malcolm testing Macduff, I think I have some information that might help. If you read carefully, you can see that Malcolm is telling Macduff that basically he is not worthy to be a king. If they overthrew Macbeth, Malcolm would be the next king. He explains that he would be even worse than Macbeth. He says that he has too many sexual desires and is greedy. Macduff responds by saying that he could look past those things and still be a great ruler. Malcolm sees this as Macduff swearing his allegiance to him and then trusts him. He concludes by saying that those things he said about himself are not true about him. Malcolm just lied to see how Macduff would respond to see if he could trust him or not.

Some things I am confused about are what side is Ross on? We find him both with Macduff and Macbeth, so who has he sided with or has he even done that? Why is he the bearer of bad news to Macduff?

Also, why would Macduff leave his wife and kids home and flee? His wife and his kids are obviously very important to him because when he finds out Macbeth has killed them, he flips and swears revenge on Macbeth. But why would he just leave them behind? Is he a coward or is he looking after them somehow?

Wed Sep 27, 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger ADRIANA G said...

Sarah c, I think that the Ross didn't want to be the one to tell Macduff that his family was brutally murdered, because it would be pretty hard to break to him. When Ross said they were okay, I think he was just trying to get out of bringing the news. He tried to avoid it, but knew that it was inevitable and eventually broke down. Malcolm was telling Ross that next time he should give news like that right away. That was when he was talking about, "the greif that does not speak." I think he was trying to say that procrastinating will only make matters the news harder for the reciever.

To add to joanneh's comment about Macbeth's reasoning behind the murders, I think it also had something to do with the charm by the witches. They made him over-confident. He probably didn't think there would be any consequences for asserting his power that way. Actually, he might not have thought much at all.

Karib,I don't think Malcolm was really doubting himself. He was making up all of the flaws as part of a his test. Then when he decided Macduff was loyal, he kind of said 'oh yeah, I was just kidding about beign unfit to rule and all."

erinl, I think that your quote was a par tof Malcolm's test. He was telling Macduff that he would be such a tyrant that his rule would be like and everlasting night or darkness. What were you thinking of?

Thu Sep 28, 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger BenH said...

Thanks briang. And I really agree about the testing. I thought that too.

briang: I think that ross is with Macduff and Malcolm. I don't think there is anyone that still likes Macbeth. He just brought the bad news because he was the first to find out, I think. And I don't think Macduff was a coward. I think he planned on returning as soon as possible to see his family again and overthrow Macbeth. He didn't flee, he left to join forces. I think by leaving he didn't really protect them, so he was taking a great risk. One that resulted in their death.

Thu Sep 28, 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger lauraf said...

Just a clarifying question--When Melcom and Macduff are talking at the very beginning of scene 3, Malcom says, "Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell." Is he talking about Duncan being killed or Banquo. Or have they not even heard news that Banquo has been killed yet?

Thu Sep 28, 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Lane C. said...

I noticed when i was taking my notes on scene two that before Macbeth enters the cave one of the witches says, "something wicked this way comes." Why does a witch who is the most wicked of all refer to a human as wicked? It seems like this is reference to Macbeth having gone so far in the whole business that he has turned evil. Is there any possibility of return to good for Macbeth? Becuase I love Star Wars I'll reference it. After being totally not a good dood at all for pretty much the entire trilogy Darth Vader has his heart changed by his son. Is there something that could change Macbeth like that?

Thu Sep 28, 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger chelseah said...

In Scene 1, I was also confused about the witches, like Sara. Why were they chanting all of those things? Were they spells? If so, to who were they directed, or why were they saying them?

Also, I have found that a main theme for this play could be death, along with appearance vs. reality. Macbeth said that blood leads to more blood. I understand this as that once the killing starts, no one can stop it, and it is uncontrollable. I think that you can control all of your own personal actions. This makes me wonder if there is so much murder and death because it makes the killer feel more superior towards everyone else. This relates back to the whole appearance vs. reality once again, saying one acts different then who they truly are. I just want to know… what is the bug need to be something that you are not?

Thu Sep 28, 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger endsleye said...

The only question I have for act 4 is when did Ross get to where Macduff and Malcolm are and how did he hear of the murder of Macduff's wife and son before Macduff did?

Thu Sep 28, 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger tomr said...

I too want to ask about the witches. Really, they display absolutely no motivation outside of the want to create chaos, and that doesn't really suffice for me. Humans are much more complex than simply doing something for the sake of doing it. Perhaps Shakespeare was trying to say something about witches being sub-human?

Thu Sep 28, 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger christa s said...

lauraf: I think that when Malcolm says, "Angels are bright still, but the brightest fell" he is talking about Macbeth, saying that he was once a hero who was trusted by all and was a great fighter in battle. He was held in great respect, but then he betrayed the trust of Duncan, murdered his friends and allies, and became a dictator, pretty much. If you read in your book, it clarifies this statement. It says that Malcolm is comparing Macbeth's fall from greatness to Satan's fall from being an angel in heaven to being the leader of hell.
Hope that helps!

Thu Sep 28, 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

Ok. A lot of my questions have been answered here. But one thing I want to know if, what are the points of having scene two and scene three?

Thu Sep 28, 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger jess b said...

What I didn't understand was how they thought that they could over throw Macbeth, a king. I understand that Duncan was King and that he was easy to "take care of"; but Macbeth isn't as dumb as Duncan. He knows not to trust anyone and with the spirits he saw he knows who to look out for. So, what is Malcolm and Macduff plan exactly?

Also, if anyone has my vocabulary packet. please let me know. thank you. :]

Thu Sep 28, 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

What does it mean when the 3rd apparition says, "Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him," because that is just confusing. Does it mean an actual forest or is it a metaphor of some sort?

Thu Sep 28, 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

Also, when Lady Macduff tells her son that his father is dead, why does she tell him that? Did Ross tell her that or is she making this up?

Thu Sep 28, 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger jess b said...

Macbeth says this passage after the second apparition:

Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.

He says that he will not sleep if Macduff is killed. Why would Macbeth be able to sleep after Macduff's death and all the other murders kept Macbeth from sleep? Is this another portrayal of how strong trust actually is?

Thu Sep 28, 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Aylar said...

I don't know if anyone else had difficulty with this scene but I know I did. It took several readings and rereadings for me to understand it.
MY main question was
1. Why do the witches desire to destroy MAcbeth, I mean I understand that they want to create chaos. It just seems that they are focasing all their attention on MAcbeth, I mean they prophesized about Banquo too, so why all the hype on MAcbeth?

Thu Sep 28, 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

Why does Malcolm keep on thinking that he's a good ruler and then a bad one? Or is he just lying to make Macduff believe him? Is there a trend forming with Macbeth and Malcolm now?

Thu Sep 28, 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger chelseah said...

One more question: in Scene 1, Lines 93-97, why does Macbeth start out by saying that there is no reason for him to kill Macduff, Live on Macduff; and then ends the line by saying that he will kill him anyways, just to make sure. This relates back to my first blog response, that Macbeth cannot control his actions, and that he will just keep killing and killing.

Thu Sep 28, 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Madisonm said...

Personally, one thing that I was just wondering about with the whole play Macbeth is how the people in the audience would be able to tell when a character was being serious about what they were saying or doing, or when that character was been sarcastic or using symbollism. My guess would have to be that it would depend on how well the actors were playing their part and how well they could act---or that the confusion about not knowing exactly what the characters meant was part of the effect that Shakespeare wanted this play to have. I just thought that if I was one of the audience members at this play, I would definitely be confused about what the characters were saying compared to what they actually meant.

Fri Sep 29, 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger TyC said...

In response to alyar's question, I think that the witches are more focused on Macbeth because he is gaining more power. Also, Banquo is dead so the prophecy about his children won't come true until Macbeth is no longer King of Scotland.

Fri Sep 29, 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger AnnaD said...

In response to kjerstenl's question, I don't believe that Malcolm is confused on what kind of king he would be. In this section, in what is considered, as Mrs. Smith said, one of the most important sections in the book, Malcolm is "testing" Macduff in a way. He needs Macduff's help, but he needs to make sure that Macduff is trustworthy first. He decides that the best way to do so is to act as though he, as heir to the throne, is an evil person. If Macduff doesn't care whether or not he would be a good king, then he is not trustworthy. If Macduff responds thus, Malcolm would be able to conclude that Macduff's true intentions are not strictly for Scotland's good, but instead that there are alterior motives behind Macduff's warhawking. If Macduff doesn't believe that Malcolm would be a good king with all of his faults, and is dismayed because of it, Macduff is a trustworthy person. He is truly interested in Scotland's well being as opposed to his own. I hope this helped to answer your questions.

Sun Oct 01, 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

My main question is What do the withches mean by no man that is born from a woman? Aren't all men born from women?

Tue Oct 03, 05:26:00 PM  

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