Macbeth Study Guide: Act IV

Describe Macbeth’s behavior upon meeting the witches in Scene I.
He becomes demanding towards the witches.

At the beginning of Act IV Macbeth meets the “weird sisters” while they are making a bizarre brew, he demands they show him his future. What is each apparition and the message which accompanies each (3)?
1. The floating head warns him to beware Macduff.
2. The bloody child- fear no man born of woman.
3. A crowned child holding a tree says he is safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill.

Macbeth demands to know of Banquo’s heirs: what appears? What does this mean?
Eight Kings march across the stage, followed by the ghost of Banquo.

What does Macbeth learn about the whereabouts of Macduff? How will Macbeth punish him for this action?
Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to England and this angers Macbeth greatly so he orders Macduff’s wife and children be killed.

At the beginning of Scene 2 why is Lady Macduff angry with her husband? How does Ross calm her?
Because he is defending her cowardly husband. Insists that Macduff is doing this for the good of his family and country.

How do the murders of Lady Macduff and her son emphasize Macbeth’s moral deterioration?
That he is willing to kill the most innocent people for his cause.

How does Macduff react to the news of his family’s murders?
He is upset, then slowly rages for revenge.

Why does Malcolm feel he must lie to Macduff and test his loyalty? Why is he weary of him? (3)
1. Macduff and Macbeth were close friends when Malcolm left Scotland.
2. Macduff could be spying on Malcolm.
3. Macbeth has not yet hurt/ killed Macduff which would mean he isn’t an enemy of Macbeth’s.

How does Macduff pass the test?
Rather than lashing out at Malcolm, Macduff cries for God to help his country.

What is the dramatic irony of the conversation between Ross and Macduff when Macduff asks about his family?
Ross lies to him but the audience knows that Macduff’s family is dead.

What is Macduff’s reaction to the murder of his family? What is Malcolm’s advice?
He is angry and sad. Malcolm suggests to channel that anger and sadness into revenge.

What does the audience learn at the end of Act IV?
That Macbeth is going to slaughter Macduff’s family.

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