- How Act II Scene iv proves that Macbeth has upset the Great Chain of Being
- How Macbeth’s questions in the first half of Act III Scene I are far from innocent
- How Macbeth equivocates in the second half of the scene
The Great Chain of Being is a concept used to explain the structure of creation. In Shakespeare’s time, people believed that a hierarchy (or chain) connected all things: God, the creator, is at the top, followed by Angels, Saints, common humans, and animals. This structure was mirrored in human civilization: the King is “godlike”, and is followed by lords, knights, freemen, and commoners.
By killing Duncan and taking his throne, Macbeth has not only defied the Great Chain, but also inverted it. Using evidence from Act II scene iv, explain the impact Duncan’s murder is having on the world.
Next, I’d like you to consider Act III Scene I:
- first, read the graphic novel version (this is a complex scene…make sure you read this version first!)
- next, find a partner and read the original version of scene i together
- In your notes, explain the following:
- Why does Macbeth ask so many questions about Banquo’s plans?
- How does Macbeth equivocate (or lie) to motivate the murderers so that the will kill Banquo and Fleance?