Read the following two extracts and deal with assignments below.
Act 1, scene 7, l. 28 to end of scene
[In this extract, Lady Macbeth tries to persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan.]
Enter LADY [MACBETH]
How now? What news?
He has almost supped. Why have you left the chamber?
Hath he asked for me?
Know you not he has?
We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, ”
Like the poor cat i' th' adage?
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
What beast was ’t, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
If we should fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—
Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
Soundly invite him—his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenchèd natures lie as in a death,
*What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?
[*Was können du und ich dann nicht vollbringen
Am unbewachten Duncan? Was nicht schieben
Auf die berauschten Diener, die die Schuld trifft
Des großen Mords? ]
Bring forth men-children only,
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have marked with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done ’t?
Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar
Upon his death?
I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
*Away, and mock the time with fairest show.
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
[*Komm, täuschen wir mit heiterm Blick die Stunde:
Birg, falscher Schein, des falschen Herzens Kunde! ]
Act 5 Scene 1, lines 16 to 58
[In this extract, Lady Macbeth is overheard talking to herself as she sleepwalks.]
Enter LADY [MACBETH], with a taper
Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise and, upon my
life, fast asleep. Observe her, stand close.
How came she by that light?
Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually,
’tis her command.
You see her eyes are open.
GENTLEWOMAN Ay, but their sense are shut.
What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.
Yet here’s a spot.
Hark! She speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
Do you mark that?
The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne'er be clean?—No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that. You mar all with this starting.
The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will my hands never be clean?—No more of that, my lord, no more of that. You’ll ruin everything by acting startled like this.
Go to, go to. You have known what you should not.
She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!
What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.
Well, well, well.
Pray God it be, sir.
This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.
Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. Look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.
To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!
Will she go now to bed?
Foul whisp'rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God forgive us all! Look after her,
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night.
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.
C. 1000 words (incl. all the names of players)
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1. What impressions might an audience get of Lady Macbeth from the different ways she speaks and
behaves in these extracts?
Support your ideas by referring to the extracts which are printed above.
2. Interpret what the Gentlewoman says:
'It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.'
The following assigments relate to rest of text:
3. How does Lady Macbeth manage to force her husband to commit the crime of killing Duncan?
4. How do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respectively cope with their guilty conscience?
5. Why do you think can Macbeth be called a 'tragic hero'?