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62 Cards in this Set

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Macbeth Plot

Act 1: Introduction/ Exposition

Act 2: Rising Action

Act 3: Climax

Act 4: Falling Action

Act 5: Catastrophe


~ An extended speech by one character speaking his/ her thoughts aloud for the benefit of the audience. The character is "unaware" of the audience.


A main subdivision of a drama. Shakespeare's plays consist of five acts with each act subdivided into scenes.


The repetition of the same initial sound into two or more consecutive or closely associated words.


A reference to a literary or historical person or event to explain a present situation. Shakespeare uses biblical, mythological, historical and social allusions.


A brief remark made by a character and intended to be heard by the audience, but not by the other characters onstage.

Blank Verse

Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter. Most of Shakespeare's characters speak in blank verse, with the exception of low-bred peasants.


The highest point of tension or excitement OR the turning point.


A play with a happy ending.

Comic Relief

A scene inserted into the middle of a play to break the dramatic tension or the previous scene. This allows for immediate creation of another tense scene.


Conversation between two or more characters in which the audience hears all.

Exciting Force (Initial Incident)

The cause of the dramatic conflict.


Explanation within dialogue or monologue of action that has happened offstage.

Falling Action

After the climax, the details are wrapped up and explained.


Hints about what will happen in the story.


An error of judgement or character flaw - a tragic flaw.


Plays based on actual events. Shakespeare's historical plays were usually about the kings of England. They were either propaganda or a fresh interpretation of a well known character.


Arrogant pride or over-confidence.


Words or phases appealing to the five senses.


Contrast between how things appear and how they actually are. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something the characters do not.


A contrast of two contradictory terms for the sake of emphasis. An example is "thundering silence".


A figure of speech in which human qualities are attributed to inanimate objects, animals, or ideas.

Poetic Justice

The morally reassuring allocation of happy and unhappy fates to virtuous and the vicious characters respectively.

Rhymed Couplet

Two lines in a row ending with a rhyme. Shakespeare uses them to signal the end ends of scenes and add momentum to the change of scene.

Rising Action

The series of conflicts and crises that lead to the climax.


A small unit of a play within each act in which there is no shift in time or location.


A type of drama of human conflict which ends in defeat and suffering.

Tragic Hero

A character of noble stature and greatness. This should be readily evident in the play. The character must occupy a 'high' status position and must also embody nobility and virtue as part of his/ her innate character.

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair." (1.1.10)

The Witches

"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter". (1.3.52-53)

The Witches

"Is this a dagger I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight, or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?" (2.1.44-51)


"Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?" (1.3.114-115)


"And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths." (1.3.135-136)


"There's no art, To find the mind's construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust." (1.4.13-16)


"The raven himself is hoarseThat croaks the fatal entrance of DuncanUnder my battlements. Come, you spiritsThat tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,And fill me from the crown to the toe topfulOf direst cruelty! (1.5.47-50)

Lady Macbeth

"Retire us to our chamber, A little water clears us of this deed." (2.2.85-86)

Lady Macbeth

"Lest our old robes sit easier than our new." (2.4.114-115)


...and I fear thou play'dst most folly for it.


To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep.


It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight.


Naught's had, all's spent, where our desire is got without content.

Lady Macbeth

Things without all remedy should be without regard; what's done is done.

Lady Macbeth

We've scorched the snake, not killed it.


Duncan is in his grave. After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.


Things bad begun make themselves strong by ill.


Oh treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly! Fly fly!


The worm that's fled hath nature that in time will venom breed, no teeth for the present.


Thou canst not say that I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me.


Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends, I have a strange infirmity which is nothing to those that know me.


I am in blood stepped so far that, should I wade no more, returning were so tedious as go o'er.


You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

Lady Macbeth

We are but young indeed.


Some holy angel fly to the court of England and unfold his message ere he come.


‘How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags”


“beware Macduff”

Apparition 1

"For none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"

Apparition 2

“Macbethshall never be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood….shall come against him"

Apparition 3

"The very firstlings of my heart shall be thefirstlings of my hand…to crown my thoughts with acts”


Macbeth: Major Conflicts

~ The struggle within Macbeth between his ambition and his sense of right and wrong

~ The struggle between the murderous evil represented by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the best interests of the nation, represented by Malcolm and Macduff

Macbeth: Rising Action

Macbeth and Banquo’s encounter with the witches initiates both conflicts; Lady Macbeth’s speeches goad Macbeth into murdering Duncan and seizing the crown.

Macbeth: Climax

Macbeth’s murder of Duncan in Act 2 represents the point of no return, after which Macbeth is forced to continue butchering his subjects to avoid the consequences of his crime.

Macbeth: Falling Action

Macbeth’s increasingly brutal murders (of Duncan’s servants, Banquo, Lady Macduff and her son); Macbeth’s second meeting with the witches; Macbeth’s final confrontation with Macduff and the opposing armies