1. The fantastical and grotesque witches are among the most memorable figures in the play. How does Shakespeare characterize the witches? What is their thematic significance?
2. Compare and contrast Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo. How are they alike? How are they different? Is it possible to argue that Macbeth is the play’s villain and Macduff or Banquo its hero, or is the matter more complicated than that?
3. Discuss the role that blood plays in Macbeth, particularly immediately following Duncan’s murder and late in the play. What does it symbolize for Macbeth and his wife?
4. Discuss Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations. What role do they play in the development of his character?
5. Is Macbeth a moral play? Is justice served at the end of the play? Defend your answer.
6. Discuss Shakespeare’s use of the technique of elision, in which certain key events take place offstage. Why do you think he uses this technique?
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Macbeth (No Fear Shakespeare)
Macbeth (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)
Essay Role of Visions and Hallucinations in Macbeth
1239 Words5 Pages
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations play a significant role and contribute to the development of his character. In the play Macbeth, a man is driven to murder his king and his companions after receiving a fairly ambiguous prophecy told by three witches. Although the witches triggered the series of events that later aid Macbeth’s descent into complete insanity, Macbeth is portrayed from the very beginning as a fierce and violent soldier. As the play goes on, several internal conflicts inside of Macbeth become clear. After he performs several bloody tasks, the madness inside of Macbeth is unmistakably visible to everyone around him. As a result of this insanity, he sees visions and hallucinations. Each time Macbeth…show more content…
From this decision arises obvious internal conflict- he has love for his king and has proved this in battle. However, his ambition is decidedly the prevailing emotion and he decides he must kill his king. The scene before the murder takes place Macbeth imagines a dagger before him. He says,
“I have thee not and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?”
Macbeth recognizes that the dagger is not real and accepts this. This is his first step into insanity. As he admits, his mind is feverish with excitement and perhaps dread, and he understands that this vision is ominous. His internal conflict has now begun to develop; his ambition is driving him to do something and subconsciously he knows it is not right. The second hallucination that Macbeth has is of the ghost of Banquo. The witches prophesized to Banquo, “Thou shall get kings, though thou be none.” (1.3.70.) Macbeth knows that Banquo’s sons will be kings, and in his conflicted state suspects that the murder of Duncan was done in vain, for he believes he has done all of the work for Banquo’s sons. Macbeth puts into place the scheme for both Banquo and his son Fleance’s