Notes on Macbeth Themes

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Macbeth Topic Tracking: Betrayal

Act 1, Scene 2

Betrayal 1: Betrayal is an important part of the play because that is how the changes in power occur. Macbeth is rewarded for his loyalty to the king while the Thane of Cawdor is stripped of his title because of his betrayal.

Act 1, Scene 3

Betrayal 2: Both Banquo and Macbeth are slightly disturbed by the witches' predictions because they are afraid that it will trick them into betraying the king.

Act 1, Scene 4

Betrayal 3: Duncan is shocked by his misplaced trust in the Thane of Cawdor. He is hurt that someone close to him could turn on him like that, and this sets the stage for the disappointment and tragedy of Macbeth's betrayal.

Betrayal 4: Macbeth begins to plan his treachery against Duncan as soon as he sees that Malcolm stands in the way of Macbeth gaining the throne.

Act 1, Scene 5

Betrayal 5: Lady Macbeth happily jumps on the bandwagon to kill the king and take the throne. She has no qualms about the betrayal because it will lead to power.

Act 2, Scene 1

Betrayal 6: Banquo makes it clear that he has not interest in betraying Duncan, and it's almost as if he knows that Macbeth is plotting against the king.

Act 2, Scene 2

Betrayal 7: The betrayal against Duncan is complete when Macbeth murders him. Now Macbeth must frame the guards and try to cover up his crime, which can only lead to more murder.

Act 3, Scene 1

Betrayal 8: Macbeth begins to plan Banquo's death so that he can secure the throne for himself and his descendants.

Act 4, Scene 2

Betrayal 9: Macbeth has Lady Macduff and her children all killed because her husband went to England to find help against Macbeth. They were punished for Macduff's betrayal.

Act 5, Scene 8

Betrayal 10: Macbeth's betrayal is finally punished when Macduff cuts off his head and the throne is restored to Malcolm.

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