home contact

Examination Questions on Macbeth

Question: How do you explain the difference in Lady Macbeth's manner towards Macbeth after the Banquo ghost scene (III.iv), as compared with her bearing after the murder of Duncan (II.ii)?

Answer: An explanation of the difference of her manner on the two occasions may be found in the following considerations: Just after the murder of Duncan there was no time for the employment of gentler means; no time to seek the sleep which she entreats in the second instance. The nobles were even then at the gate; her husband must be recovered, and that both effectually and without delay, lest, in his frenzy, he divulge the whole terrible secret, and thus bring ruin upon them both (as was threatened again during the banquet scene which may account for the contrast between her manner during that scene and after the scene is over). Lady Macbeth realizes this, and has both the clear-sightedness to know what to do, and, in her excitement, the strength to do it. Let us note too that she is under the influence of artificial stimulants.

In the second case, the guests are gone, all the harm done that can be done, hence no such need for peremptory measures as on the previous occasion. It is permitted that her conduct be in accordance with her womanly feelings, and so we find it. Besides tenderest sympathy for him, there is a depth of pathos in her very words -- a weariness in her voice and manner, which point possibly to another explanation to be found in the sad change -- the gradually deepening melancholy fallen upon her own spirit since that former occasion.

Back to the Macbeth Examination Questions main page.

How to cite this article:
Bowman, N. B. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

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)

 Macbeth, Duncan and Shakespeare's Changes
 King James I and Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Contemporary References to King James I in Macbeth
 The Royal Patent that Changed Shakespeare's Life

 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)
 How to Stage a Production of Macbeth (Scene Suggestions)

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

 Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Macbeth Q & A
 Essay Topics on Macbeth
 Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
 What is Tragic Irony?

 Stages of Plot Development in Macbeth
 Time Analysis of the Action in Macbeth
 Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
 Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
 Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth

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

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers