Shakespeare's Macbeth - Short Sample Answers #1
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Table of Contents
One of the important themes in Macbeth is the idea of political legitimacy, of the moral authority that some kings possess and others lack. With particular attention to Malcolm’s questioning of Macduff in Act 4: Scene 3, try to define some of the characteristics that grant or invalidate the moral legitimacy of absolute power. What makes Duncan a good king? What makes Macbeth a tyrant? 5
An important theme in Macbeth is the relationship between gender and power, particularly Shakespeare’s exploration of the values that make up the idea of masculinity. What are these values, and how do various characters embody them? How does Shakespeare subvert his characters’ perception of gender roles? 6
Characterize the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. If the main theme of Macbeth is ambition, whose ambition is the driving force of the play—Macbeth’s, Lady Macbeth’s, or both?
The Macbeths’ marriage, like the couple themselves, is atypical, particularly by the standards of its time. Yet despite their odd power dynamic, the two of them seem surprisingly attached to one another, particularly compared to other married couples in Shakespeare’s plays, in which romantic felicity appears primarily du...