Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 6) by William Shakespeare which is part of ISC Class 11 English. However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
Act 1, Scene 6 of Macbeth begins with King Duncan and his entourage arriving at Macbeth’s castle. Duncan comments on the pleasant atmosphere of the castle, and Banquo notes the presence of martlets, birds that are considered good omens.
Lady Macbeth enters and Duncan greets her warmly, thanking her for her hospitality and apologizing for the trouble his visit may cause. Lady Macbeth responds with flattery, saying that any service they provide is small compared to the honour Duncan has bestowed upon them.
Duncan then asks about Macbeth, who has arrived at the castle before them. Lady Macbeth assures Duncan that everything in their home is at his disposal. The scene ends with Duncan expressing his love for Macbeth and his desire to see him, setting the stage for the tragic events to follow.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Select the correct option for each of the following questions:
1. Duncan finds the Castle at Inverness to be situated in a
Answer: a. pleasant place
2. Lady Macbeth tells Duncan that His Majesty has loaded their house with
Answer: b. dignities
3. Duncan addresses Macbeth as
Answer: b. The Thane of Cawdor
4. Duncan asks Lady Macbeth to
Answer: a. show him the way to his bed chamber
5. Lady Macbeth tells Duncan that they are his
Answer: b. servants
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. Duncan: This castle has a pleasant seat; the air
Nimbly and sweet recommends itself unto our gentle senses.
Banquo: This guest of summer, The temple haunting martlet, does approve
By his lov’ d mansionry, that the heavens breath smells wooingly here.
a. Where is Duncan? Why is he there and who are the others present?
Answer: Duncan is at the castle of Macbeth in Inverness. He is there as a guest of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The others present are Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and their attendants.
b. Duncan and Banquo find the castle pleasant. State the irony involved.
Answer: The irony involved when Duncan and Banquo find the castle pleasant is that they are unaware of the murderous plans that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have for Duncan. The castle, which seems pleasant and inviting, is actually the place where Duncan will be killed. This is a dramatic irony as the audience is aware of the impending danger that Duncan is oblivious to.
c. What is a martlet? How does Banquo echo Duncan’s speech in this extract?
Answer: A martlet is a type of bird, specifically a house martin, known for building its nests on human structures. Banquo echoes Duncan’s speech by also commenting on the pleasantness of the castle. He notes that the martlet builds its nests here, which he takes as a sign of the inviting nature of the place. He observes that these birds always like to settle and mate where the air is the nicest, further emphasizing the pleasantness of the castle’s location.
d. What does Banquo go on to say about the castle? Write four examples of the particular places in the castle mentioned by Banquo.
Answer: Banquo goes on to say that the castle is inviting and pleasant, as evidenced by the martlets (house martins) that have built their nests all over it. He specifically mentions the following parts of the castle where the birds have built their nests:
- Jutty: A projecting part of a building.
- Frieze: A broad horizontal band of sculpted or painted decoration.
- Buttress: A projecting support of stone or brick built against a wall.
- Coign of vantage: An advantageous position or corner for observation.
e. Later in the scene, Duncan refers to Lady Macbeth as “honoured hostess”. Explain how far is Lady Macbeth, Duncan’s “honoured hostess”.
Answer: Duncan refers to Lady Macbeth as his “honoured hostess” because she is the lady of the castle where he is a guest. However, the irony is that while Lady Macbeth plays the role of a gracious hostess, she is actually plotting Duncan’s murder. She is far from being an “honoured hostess” in the true sense of the term, as she is not looking out for the well-being of her guest, but rather planning his demise.
f. Give the meanings of the following words and expressions from the extract.
Answer: “Nimbly” means quickly and lightly. It is used to describe something that is done with speed, efficiency, and careful movements. In the context of the extract, it is used to describe how the air at the castle is pleasant and appealing to the senses.
ii. temple haunting
Answer: The expression “temple haunting” refers to the habit of certain birds, in this case, the martlet (a type of house martin), to build their nests on human structures, such as churches or temples. It is used to describe the bird’s preference for such locations, which are often peaceful and serene.
iii heaven’s breath
Answer: The expression “heaven’s breath” is a poetic way of referring to the air or the breeze. In the context of the extract, it is used to describe the pleasant and inviting atmosphere of the castle, as if the air itself is a welcoming breath from heaven.
2. Duncan: The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
How you shall bid God’ild us for your pains,
And thank us for your trouble.
a. To whom is Duncan speaking?
Answer: Duncan is speaking to Lady Macbeth.
b. Why has Duncan come to the castle?
Answer: Duncan has come to the castle to be a guest of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He also expresses his intention to meet Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor, whom he holds in high regard.
c. In what way is Duncan a ‘wanted’ as well as an ‘unwanted’ guest?
Answer: Duncan is a ‘wanted’ guest in the sense that he is a respected king and his presence is an honour to the hosts, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth expresses this when she says, “Everything we’re doing for you, even if it were doubled and then doubled again, is nothing compared to the honours you have brought to our family.”
However, Duncan is also an ‘unwanted’ guest because Macbeth, driven by his ambition and spurred on by Lady Macbeth, plans to murder him to seize the throne. This is evident in Macbeth’s soliloquy where he contemplates the assassination of Duncan and the consequences of such an act.
d. Whom does Duncan wish to meet? What does Duncan say about that person?
Answer: Duncan wishes to meet Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor. He expresses his affection for Macbeth when he says, “Give me your hand. Bring me to my host, Macbeth. I love him dearly, and I shall continue to favour him.”
e. What is the simile used in the extract? Explain it.
Answer: The simile used in the extract is “Pity, like an innocent newborn baby, will ride the wind with winged angels on invisible horses through the air to spread news of the horrible deed to everyone everywhere.”
This simile is used by Macbeth to express his fear that the murder of Duncan will not go unnoticed. He imagines that pity, personified as a newborn baby, will spread the news of the crime far and wide, causing people to react with sorrow and condemnation. The use of the newborn baby in the simile emphasizes the innocence and purity of Duncan, thereby heightening the heinousness of Macbeth’s planned crime.
Essay type questions
Q. How does Lady Macbeth portray herself as the perfect hostess?
Answer: Lady Macbeth warmly welcomes King Duncan when he visits her and Macbeth’s castle in Inverness. Duncan is very happy to be at Macbeth’s castle and apologizes to Lady Macbeth for the sudden visit and any inconvenience it might cause. Lady Macbeth responds with flattery, telling Duncan that no matter how much she serves him, it will never be enough compared to the honour he has given her and her husband.
She tells Duncan that even if she had to go through the same troubles many times over, they would still seem small compared to the honours Duncan has given them. She mentions both past favours and new honours, like giving her husband the title of Thane of Cawdor. She promises to pray for Duncan’s long life in return for these honours.
Despite her warm welcome and promises, Lady Macbeth is secretly planning to murder Duncan. Her behaviour is a perfect example of hypocrisy. She acts like a loyal subject and a gracious hostess, but she has deadly intentions.
In simple terms, Lady Macbeth, a high-ranking woman, behaves exactly as expected. She welcomes King Duncan to her home in a royal manner, even as she plans his downfall.
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