Act V Favourite

17Mar10

Act V, Scene viii 

“I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, and to be baited with the rabble’s curse. Through Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, and thou oppos’d, being of no woman born, yet i will try the last. Before my body I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff; and damn’d be him that first cries ‘Hold, enough!'”

This quote is the last few words being spoken by Macbeth right before his death and it shows the downfall of his Kingship. Many of Macbeth’s own men have betrayed him and joined the other side to go against him, yet he still will not surrender nor commit suicide like a ‘Roman fool’ (coward). Unlike before, he has self-dignity  now and believes in what he is doing is for his own good. He would not allow himself to kneel and bow down in front of Malcom nor allow the common people to torment him. He claims he will fight until the end and die like a man, even if the Witches’ prophecies were right about the Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane and attack him. Nonetheless, Macbeth’s last speech does not only show his determination and pride he has for himself, it foreshadows his own tragic death and the rebirth of a great nation; where Malcolm will become the King of Scotland and everything will be back in order.

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Act IV, Scene iii

Alas, poor country, almost afraid to know itself! It cannot be call’d our mother, but your grave: where nothing, but who knows nothing, is once seen to smile; where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air, are made not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems a modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell is there scarce ask’d for who’ and good men’s lvies expire before the flowers in their caps, dying or ere they sicken.

This quote is said by Ross, when he has met up with Malcolm and Macduff in England and tells them about the situation in Scotland. Ross views that Scotland has no hope. Ever since Macbeth has ruled the country, he has ruined it more than benefiting it. The country has became a grave, where everyone is starving and suffering. When the funeral bell rings, no one questions who has passed away since death is a common thing. 

This passage does not only show how much Scotland has suffered due to the leadership of Macbeth, but the change of character in him. In the beginning of the play, he is frequently indecisive with the situations he faces. His wife, Lady Macbeth needs to persuade and push him in order for him to conquer his fears. Now, few years after he has gained his Kingship, he decides everything by himself , without any support from Lady Macbeth what so ever – from the killing of Banquo to numerous death of other people. He is no longer the serpent underneath the flower, the greediness of being the King of Scotland has changed him completely.


Explain in your view, what is the most striking image or line from Act III of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?
Please copy this post into your own blog and respond there.

In scene iii of this Act, I find it to be the most striking part of the entire Act III of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this scene, the three murders Macbeth has hired have met up in a park leading to Banquo’s castle. They are going in for the kill and they eventually succeeded as the scene goes on. Even though Banquo is dead, his son Fleance escapes. This is a flaw that I believe is a foreshadow of the problems that Macbeth would have to face later on as the play progresses. 

Macbeth does not take part in this scene, however his unhesitant decision of having the murderers kill Banquo already shows the change of character in him. Ever since the witches have told Macbeth that he is eventually going to be King, he has not stop thinking of ways to achieve his goal. With the help from Lady Macbeth’s dark and determined mind, she changes her husband from a person who was scared when she told him to murder Duncan to a person that does all the planning himself for Banquo’s death.


Are a citizen’s first responsibilities to family, political leader, or country?  Explain.
Would assassination or civil war ever be a justifiable response to tyranny?  What would you do if the leader of your country became a vicious tyrant?

A citizen’s first responsibilities should be their family. Family is the one who brought them into the society and made them to be who they have became. In comparison with the political leader and the country, they do not understand the individual’s need and do not care about their personal feelings. Unlike family members, they care for you and understand you. They are there when you need them.

I believe assassination or civil war will be a justifiable response to tyranny. The reason is because, many citizens do not like to be oppressed and forced to do things they do not agree to doing. It will be all about time until they start to rebel and go against the government, which might eventually lead to assassination or a civil war. 

If the leader of my country is a vicious tyrant, I would probably leave the country and move to a place with freedom and rights. I would not want to face the consequences with the government if I do get caught. Remaining quiet and not speaking out loud, I could also avoid any unnecessary conflicts for me and my family.


Explain in your view, what is the most striking image or line from Act II of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

“The night has been unruly: where we lay, our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say, lamentings heard i’ the air, strange screams of death, and prophesying with accents terrible of dire combustion and confused events new hatch’d to the woeful time; the obscure bird clamour’d the live-long night: some say the earth was feverous and did shake.” (II, iii, 58 – 65)

In this scene, Lennox is describing the night of the King’s sudden murder, where many unusual things have happened. He heard weird moaning and noises, “lamentings heard i’ the air, strange screams of death…”. “The obscure bird clamour’d the live-long night…” The owl, which is also known as a bird of night resembles death and bad omen, is making loud and annoying sounds all night long. I find the description of the night that Lennox describes to Macbeth to be very dark and mysterious, which really suits the mood of the play. In addition to my point, as a reader myself, I find the dark images portrayed through Lennox’s choice of words really spices up the whole scene and intrigues me to read further. One final reason why I find this to be the most striking quote is because it also shows the strong beliefs of the Elizabethans’  people back in the time, where they believed that an unnatural event, such as the murder of an anointed king, would be reflected in the nature.


Explain in your view, what is the most striking image or line from Act I of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

“The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements. Come, you spirits that tend of mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood…that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark.” (I, v, 41 – 56)

From Act I of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the passage above is the most striking image out of the entire act. This passage foreshadows Duncan’s death, as can be seen in the line “…the fatal entrance of Duncan”. However the main purpose of this extract is to show the determination in Lady Macbeth for killing Duncan, so that her husband Macbeth will become King and she then will become Queen. Not only the determination of Lady Macbeth can be seen here, but her strong characteristics of a designing woman making her one of the toughest female characters in all Shakespearean’s plays.

Even though it is Macbeth’s idea at first to kill Duncan, he starts to have second thoughts about it and Lady Macbeth is now the one who really wants to pursue it, “Come, you spirits that tend of mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty…come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall”. Her determination for her evil desire is so high that she even beckons the evil spirits to take away her feminist side, to thicken her blood and replace the womanly features with the bitter bile of the gall in order to assist her to endure the evil conspiracy and carry out the unnatural act of murder.


Macbeth for the win!!