Macbeth by William Shakespeare
6. Explore what the play has to say about masculinity and femininity as they relate to power and ambition. Consider when and how various characters (Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, for instance) are characterized as either masculine or feminine.
7. Was Macbeth’s downfall a result of fate or free will? Is there room for both? Analyze the function of the witches’ prophecy as it relates to self-fulfillment.
8. Consider the porter scene. Many believe its only purpose within the play was to give the actor playing Macbeth time to wash the blood off his hands. Does the scene serve another purpose?
9. Does Shakespeare’s considerable use of dramatic irony in the play exist only for the purposes of suspense? (Hint: remember Act I, Scene IV, where the witches hail Macbeth as the new Thane of Cawdor.)
10. Consider the role of violence in the play. Does the narrative suggest that violence is ever justified? Are there different kinds of violence? To what extent does the ending support the idea that violence is inevitable and cyclical?