Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5: ISC Class 12 workbook answers

Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5....
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Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 5) by William Shakespeare, which is part of ISC Class 12 English. However, the notes should only be treated as references, and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.

If you notice any errors in the notes, please mention them in the comments

Summary

This scene depicts the crumbling of Macbeth’s world as he faces the consequences of his actions. Confined within Dunsinane castle, he believes he can outlast his enemies through a siege, hoping they will succumb to starvation and disease. Despite his outward defiance, Macbeth reveals his inner turmoil and loneliness, lamenting the desertion of his troops and the betrayal of his thanes.

Suddenly, the cries of women within the castle disrupt the tense atmosphere. Seyton, upon investigating, returns with the news of Lady Macbeth’s death. Macbeth reacts with surprising apathy, suggesting that her death was inevitable and should have happened later, highlighting his emotional detachment and growing despair.

He then delves into a philosophical contemplation of life’s meaninglessness, comparing life to a “brief candle” that eventually extinguishes. His words reveal a sense of disillusionment and resignation, acknowledging the futility of his ambition and the fleeting nature of existence.

Just as Macbeth contemplates mortality, a messenger arrives with alarming news: Birnam Wood appears to be moving towards Dunsinane. This revelation shatters Macbeth’s remaining hope and exposes the witches’ deceptive prophecy. Filled with rage and despair, he curses the witches for their manipulation and resolves to face his enemies head-on, even if it means death.

Macbeth’s journey reaches a critical point in this scene. He transitions from defiance to desperation as his world collapses around him.

Workbook answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Macbeth orders his soldiers to

a. run away as defeat is imminent b. hang out the banners on the outward walls of the castle c. remove their armours d. not to challenge the enemies

Answer: b. hang out the banners on the outward walls of the castle

2. Macbeth wants his enemies to

a. die of disease and starvation b. to be killed at once c. be chased and killed d. to be poisoned

Answer: a. die of disease and starvation

3. The news of the death of the queen is given to Macbeth by

a. his servant b. Seyton c. a messenger d. one of the lords

Answer: b. Seyton

4. Macbeth is given the news that it seems

a. Birnam Wood is moving towards Dunsinane b. Birnam Wood is moving towards Fife c. Birnam Wood is moving towards England d. Birnam Wood has been completely hacked down by the English army

Answer: a. Birnam Wood is moving towards Dunsinane

5. Macbeth decides to die

a. with harness on his back b. by taking poison c. by hanging himself d. by cutting off his head with his sword

Answer: a. with harness on his back

Context questions

1. Macbeth: I have almost forgot the taste of fears The time has been, my senses would have cool’d To hear a night shriek, and my fell of hair Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir As life were in’t. I have supp’d full with horrors Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts Cannot once start me.

a. What has just been heard and told to Macbeth? How does Macbeth react to defeat differently now?

Answer: The news just heard and told to Macbeth is of the Queen’s death. Macbeth reacts to defeat differently now by showing indifference to life and a sense of insensibility towards horrors that once would have frightened him. He expresses that he has grown accustomed to horrors and dire events, so much so that even his “slaughterous thoughts” no longer startle him.

b. What change do we find in Macbeth now? Account for the reason for this change.

Answer: A significant change in Macbeth is his indifference and emotional detachment from life, including the news of the Queen’s death. The reason for this change is his prolonged exposure to horrors and dire events, which have rendered him insensible to fears and emotions that would have previously affected him deeply.

c. What does Macbeth’s philosophy about life? What three things does he compare life to?

Answer: Macbeth’s philosophy about life is that it is meaningless and transient. He compares life to a “walking shadow,” a “poor player” who frets his hour upon the stage, and a “tale told by an idiot,” full of noise and emotional disturbance but ultimately signifying nothing.

d. What are your feelings about Macbeth at this juncture of the play? Are they feelings of remorse or anger? Justify your answer.

Answer: At this juncture of the play, feelings towards Macbeth may lean towards pity rather than remorse or anger. Despite his wrongdoings, Macbeth’s profound despair and philosophical reflection on the futility of life evoke a sense of tragic downfall. His awareness of life’s meaningless cycle and his inability to feel fear or sorrow even at his wife’s death suggest a man lost to despair, which may elicit pity.

2. Messenger: Gracious my Lord, I should report that which I say I saw, But know not how to do’t. Macbeth: Well, say, sir.

a. What news does the messenger give to Macbeth? What does Macbeth call him instantly on hearing the news?

Answer: The messenger gives Macbeth the news that Birnam Wood seems to be moving towards Dunsinane. Instantly upon hearing the news, Macbeth calls the messenger a “liar and slave.”

b. What does the messenger repeat in order to confirm what he has just told Macbeth?

Answer: To confirm what he has just told Macbeth, the messenger repeats that he saw Birnam Wood moving towards Dunsinane, describing it as a “moving grove” within a distance of three miles.

c. What does Macbeth threaten to do if the messenger has given a wrong report?

Answer: If the messenger has given a wrong report, Macbeth threatens to hang him alive on the next tree until famine clings to him, indicating a slow and torturous death by starvation.

d. What does Macbeth recount of the words of the witches told to him? What term does he now use for the witches?

Answer: Macbeth recounts the words of the witches that told him not to fear until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. He now uses the term “fiend” for the witches, indicating his realization of their deceitful nature.

e. What does Macbeth decide to do at the end of the scene? What does this tell us about him?

Answer: At the end of the scene, Macbeth decides to arm himself and go out to meet the foes, signaling his readiness to face death with “harness on his back.” This tells us about his desperate courage and resolve to fight till the end, despite the ominous signs of his impending doom.

Essay question

Question. Explore the significance of Macbeth’s soliloquy that begins with “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” What insights does it offer into his character and state of mind?

Answer: This soliloquy, delivered upon hearing of Lady Macbeth’s death, provides a window into Macbeth’s profound despair and disillusionment. He likens life to a monotonous progression of meaningless days, each one leading us closer to the ultimate end: death. He uses powerful metaphors, comparing life to a “brief candle,” a “walking shadow,” and a “poor player” who briefly struts upon the stage before disappearing. Ultimately, he concludes that life is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Through this soliloquy, we gain several key insights into Macbeth’s character:

  • Overwhelmed by Despair: The weight of his actions and the loss of his wife have driven him to a state of utter hopelessness. He sees no purpose or meaning in life, only the inevitability of death.
  • Imagination Faded: His once powerful imagination, which fueled his ambition and downfall, is now extinguished. He is left facing the harsh reality of his situation with no room for self-deception or fantastical notions.
  • Embracing Pessimism: Macbeth adopts a bleak outlook on life, viewing it as ultimately futile and meaningless. He believes humanity to be insignificant and our existence transient and without consequence.

Extra/additional MCQs

1. What does Macbeth order to be done to show defiance against the approaching enemies?

A. Prepare for battle immediately B. Send a peace envoy C. Hang out the banners on the outward walls D. Surrender the castle

Answer: C. Hang out the banners on the outward walls

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15. What does Macbeth express about life’s significance in his soliloquy?

A. It is full of honor and glory B. It is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing C. It is a journey towards greatness D. It is a series of victorious battles

Answer: B. It is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing

Extra/additional questions and answers

1. What does Macbeth order his soldiers to do?

Answer: Macbeth orders his soldiers to hang out the banners on the outward walls of the castle.

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10. Discuss how Macbeth’s reaction to the news of the queen’s death and his subsequent soliloquy on the nature of life reflect his deeper psychological and emotional state.

Answer: Macbeth’s reaction to the news of the queen’s death and his subsequent soliloquy on the nature of life provide a profound insight into his deeper psychological and emotional state. The cold, detached manner in which he responds to the loss of his wife, the person who was once so intimately connected to his ambitions and actions, suggests a deep-seated emotional withdrawal and desensitization. His comparison of life to a “brief candle,” a “walking shadow,” and a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” reflects a profound existential crisis, a loss of faith in the meaning and purpose of human existence. This shift in perspective, from the ambitious, ruthless Macbeth to a man consumed by a sense of futility and despair, underscores the immense psychological toll his actions have taken on him. The scene thus serves as a powerful exploration of the human psyche, revealing the corrosive effects of unchecked ambition and the ultimately tragic consequences of defying the natural order.

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