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William Shakespeare
1 . What reason does Antonio give for being sad in the opening scene of the play?

(A) He stands to lose a fortune in his present business ventures. (B) He owes a fantastic sum of money to Shylock. (C) He gives no reason. (D) The woman he loves does not return his feelings.
2 . From what character flaw does Bassanio believe Gratiano suffers?

(A) Mean-spiritedness (B) A lack of depth (C) Stinginess (D) Vanity

3 . The caskets that Portias suitors must pick from are made of what materials?

(A) Gold, silver, lead (B) Teak, mahogany, pine (C) Bone, porcelain, clay (D) Marble, stone, brick
4 . Which of the following is not a reason Shylock gives for hating Antonio?

(A) Antonio is in love with Shylocks daughter, Jessica. (B) Antonio has insulted Shylock in the past. (C) Antonio lends money without interest, which damages Shylocks business. (D) Antonio hates Jews.
5 . How does Shylock initially describe his demand for a pound of flesh to Bassanio and Antonio?

(A) As an opportunity for revenge (B) As his way of being charitable (C) As a harmless prank (D) As a way of procuring food
6 . Why does the prince of Morocco fear that Portia will dislike him?

(A) He is a braggart. (B) He has a dark complexion. (C) He recently proved a coward in battle. (D) His clothes are flamboyant.

7 . Whom does Bassanio agree to bring with him to Belmont?

(A) Old Gobbo (B) Gratiano (C) Antonio (D) Jessica

8 . What act does Jessica believe will solve the misery of life with Shylock?

(A) Becoming a more devout Jew (B) Ensuring that Shylock loses his bond to Antonio (C) Locking herself in her room (D) Marrying Lorenzo
9 . According to Lorenzos plan, how will Jessica escape from her fathers house?

(A) She will disguise herself as Lorenzos torchbearer and slip out undetected. (B) She will leave during the night, while Shylock is asleep. (C) She will take her father to a large public auction and get lost in the crowd. (D) She will fake her own death.
1 0 . How does Shylock react to losing Launcelot as a servant?

(A) He weeps in private (B) He tells Launcelot that Bassanio will be a harder master (C) He beats Launcelot with a stick (D) He refuses to pay Launcelot the wages he owes him
1 1 . How does Portia react to the prince of Moroccos failure as a suitor?

(A) She prays that no one with such dark skin ever wins her hand. (B) She is relieved because the quick-tempered prince would not have made a stable husband. (C) She is sad to lose such a wealthy suitor. (D) She laughs at his foolishness and sends him away.
1 2 . Who loses the opportunity to marry Portia by choosing the silver casket?

(A) The Jew of Malta (B) The prince of Arragon (C) The duke of Earl (D) The viscount of Normandy
1 3 . According to Tubals report, for what did Jessica trade Shylocks most precious ring?

(A) A gondola

(B) A horse for Bassanio (C) A christening gown for her first child (D) A monkey
1 4 . What course of action does Portia suggest when she learns that Shylock wishes to collect his pound of flesh?

(A) That Bassanio and his men disguise themselves and usher Antonio a safe distance away from Venice (B) That the matter be dealt with in a court of law (C) That Jessica plead with her father for mercy (D) That the bond be paid many times over
1 5 . Where does Portia instruct her servant Balthasar to hurry?

(A) To an apothecary (B) To Padua to visit Doctor Bellario (C) To Morocco (D) To Shylocks house
1 6 . What complaint does Launcelot make regarding the conversion of the Jews?

(A) He says there would be no one left to loan money. (B) He says the garment industry would suffer. (C) He says that the price of bacon would soar. (D) He says the Catholic Church would be unable to handle so many conversions.
1 7 . In court, how does Antonio react to Shylocks insistence on collecting his pound of flesh?

(A) He weeps openly. (B) He vows that he will meet Shylocks hatred with patience. (C) He curses Shylocks vengefulness. (D) He makes an impassioned plea to the court to intervene on his behalf.
1 8 . Who enters the court disguised as a young doctor of Law named Balthasar?

(A) Portia (B) Nerissa (C) Jessica (D) Lorenzo

1 9 . What loophole in Shylocks bond allows Portia to stop him from taking a pound of Antonios flesh?

(A) Jewish law prohibits Shylock from practicing his trade on the Sabbath. (B) Shylock is entitled only to flesh, but not blood. (C) Shylock forgot to sign the bond.

(D) There is no hard evidence that Antonios ships have sunk, and that he cannot pay the bond.
2 0 . How is Shylock punished for seeking to take Antonios life?

(A) He is banished. (B) He is ordered to surrender all his property to the Church of Rome. (C) He must convert to Christianity and will his possessions to Jessica and Lorenzo upon his death. (D) He must work as Antonios servant for the remainder of his life.
2 1 . What words does Shylock utter after accepting the courts sentence?

(A) A pox upon Venice (B) These are most unlawful laws (C) Forgive me my sins (D) I am not well
2 2 . What does Bassanio offer the young law clerk who saves Antonio?

(A) His gloves (B) His wife (C) The ring that Portia gave him (D) The three thousand ducats originally due to Shylock
2 3 . What does Lorenzo order when he learns that Portia is on her way to Belmont?

(A) A banquet to welcome the lady of the house (B) Music (C) A ring to match the one she once gave to Bassanio (D) Flowers
2 4 . What does Portia vow to do when she learns that Bassanio no longer has the ring she gave him?

(A) Never again speak to her husband (B) Deny her husband children (C) Leave her husband (D) Make her husband a cuckold
2 5 . What news does Antonio receive at the plays end?

(A) Shylock has killed himself. (B) Some of the ships he supposed were lost have arrived in port. (C) The duke of Venice has changed his mind and finds Antonio guilty of forfeiture of Shylocks bond. (D) His long lost brother has been found.

The most influential writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare was born in 1564 to a successful middleclass glover in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Shakespeare attended grammar school, but his formal education proceeded no further. In 1582 he married an older woman, Anne Hathaway, and had three children with her. Around 1590 he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright. Public and critical acclaim quickly followed, and Shakespeare eventually became the most popular playwright in England and part-owner of the Globe Theater. His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled 1558 1603) and James I (ruled 16031625), and he was a favorite of both monarchs. Indeed, James granted Shakespeares company the gr eatest possible compliment by bestowing upon its members the title of Kings Men. Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two. At the time of Shakespeares death, literary luminaries such as Ben Jonson hailed his works as timeless. Shakespeares works were collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death, and by the early eighteenth century, his reputation as the greatest poet ever to write in English was well established. The unprecedented admiration garnered by his works led to a fierce curiosity about Shakespeares life, but the dearth of biographical information has left many details of Shakespeares personal history shrouded in mystery. Some people have concluded from this fact and from Shakespeares modest education that Shakespeares plays were actually written by someone elseFrancis Bacon and the Earl of Oxford are the two most popular candidates but the support for this claim is overwhelmingly circumstantial, and the theory is not taken seriously by many scholars. In the absence of credible evidence to the contrary, Shakespeare must be viewed as the author of the thirty-seven plays and 154 sonnets that bear his name. The legacy of this body of work is immense. A number of Shakespeares plays seem to have transcended even the category of brilliance, becoming so influential as to affect profoundly the course of Western literature and culture ever after. The Merchant of Venice was probably written in either 1596 or 1597, after Shakespeare had written such plays as Romeo and Juliet and Richard III, but before he penned the great tragedies of his later years. Its basic plot outline, with the characters of the merchant, the poor suitor, the fair lady, and the villainous Jew, is found in a number of contemporary Italian story collections, and Shakespeare borrowed several details, such the choice of caskets that Portia inflicts on all her suitors, from preexisting sources. The Merchant of Venices Italian setting and marriage plot are typical of Shakespeares earlier comedies, but the characters of Portia, Shakespeares first great heroine, and the unforgettable villain Shylock elevate this play to a new level. Shylocks cries for a pound of flesh have made him one of literatures most memorable villains, but many readers and playgoers have found him a compelling and sympathetic figure. The question of whether or not Shakespeare endorses the anti-Semitism of the Christian characters in the play has been much debated. Jews in Shake speares England were a marginalized group, and Shakespeares contemporaries would have been very familiar with portrayals of Jews as villains and objects of mockery. For example, Christopher Marlowes The Jew of Malta, a bloody farce about a murderous Jewish villain, was a great popular success and would have been fresh in Shakespeares mind as he set about creating his own Jewish character. Shakespeare certainly draws on this anti Semitic tradition in portraying Shylock, exploiting Jewish stereotypes for comic effect. But Shylock is a more complex character than the Jew in Marlowes play, and Shakespeare makes him seem more human by showing that his hatred is born of the mistreatment he has suffered in a Christian society. Shakespeares character includes an element of pathos as well as comedy, meaning that he elicits from readers and audiences pity and compassion, rather than simply scorn and derision.

Plot OverviewAntonio, a Venetian merchant, complains to his friends of a melancholy that he cannot explain.
His friend Bassanio is desperately in need of money to court Portia, a wealthy heiress who lives in the city of Belmont. Bassanio asks Antonio for a loan in order to travel in style to Portias estate. Antonio agrees, but is unable to make the loan himself because his own money is all invested in a number of trade ships that are still at sea. Antonio suggests that Bassanio secure the loan from one of the citys moneylenders and name Antonio as the loans guarantor. In Belmont, Portia expresses sadness over the terms of her fathers will, which stipulates that she must marry the man who correctly chooses one of three caskets. None of Portias current suitors are to her liking, and she and her lady-in-waiting, Nerissa, fondly remember a visit paid some time before by Bassanio. In Venice, Antonio and Bassanio approach Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, for a loan. Shylock nurses a longstanding grudge against Antonio, who has made a habit of berating Shylock and other Jews for their usury, the practice of loaning money at exorbitant rates of interest, and who undermines their business by offering interest-free loans. Although Antonio refuses to apologize for his behavior, Shylock acts agreeably and offers to lend Bassanio

three thousand ducats with no interest. Shylock adds, however, that should the loan go unpaid, Shylock will be entitled to a pound of Antonios own flesh. Despite Bassanios warnings, Antonio agrees. In Shylocks own household, his servant Launcelot decides to leave Shylocks service to work for Bassanio, and Shylocks daughter Jessica schemes to elope with Antonios friend Lorenzo. That night, the streets of Venice fill up with revelers, and Jessica escapes with Lorenzo by dressing as his page. After a night of celebration, Bassanio and his friend Gratiano leave for Belmont, where Bassanio intends to win Portias hand. In Belmont, Portia welcomes the prince of Morocco, who has come in an attempt to choose the right casket to marry her. The prince studies the inscriptions on the three caskets and chooses the gold one, which proves to be an incorrect choice. In Venice, Shylock is furious to find that his daughter has run away, but rejoices in the fact that Antonios ships are rumored to have been wrecked and that he will soon be able to claim his debt . In Belmont, the prince of Arragon also visits Portia. He, too, studies the caskets carefully, but he picks the silver one, which is also incorrect. Bassanio arrives at Portias estate, and they declare their love for one another. Despite Portias request that he wait before choosing, Bassanio immediately picks the correct casket, which is made of lead. He and Portia rejoice, and Gratiano confesses that he has fallen in love with Nerissa. The couples decide on a double wedding. Portia gives Bassanio a ring as a token of love, and makes him swear that under no circumstances will he part with it. They are joined, unexpectedly, by Lorenzo and Jessica. The celebration, however, is cut short by the news that Antonio has indeed lost his ships, and that he has forfeited his bond to Shylock. Bassanio and Gratiano immediately travel to Venice to try and save Antonios life. After they leave, Portia tells Nerissa that they will go to Venice disguised as men. Shylock ignores the many pleas to spare Antonios life, and a trial is called to decide the matter. The duke of Venice, who presides over the trial, announces that he has sent for a legal expert, who turns out to be Portia disguised as a young man of law. Portia asks Shylock to show mercy, but he remains inflexible and insists the pound of flesh is rightfully his. Bassanio offers Shylock twice the money due him, but Shylock insists on collecting the bond as it is written. Portia examines the contract and, finding it legally binding, declares that Shylock is entitled to the merchants flesh. Shylock ecstatically praises her wisdom, but as he is on the verge of collecting his due, Portia reminds him that he must do so without causing Antonio to bleed, as the contract does not entitle him to any blood. Trapped by this logic, Shylock hastily agrees to take Bassanios money instead, but Portia insists that Shylock take his bond as written, or nothing at all. Portia informs Shylock that he is guilty of conspiring against the life of a Venetian citizen, which means he must turn over half of his property to the state and the other half to Antonio. The duke spares Shylocks life and takes a fine instead of Shylocks property. Antonio also forgoes his half of Shylocks wealth on two conditions: first, Shylock must convert to Christianity, and second, he must will the entirety of his estate to Lorenzo and Jessica upon his death. Shylock agrees and takes his leave. Bassanio, who does not see through Portias disguise, showers the young law clerk with thanks, and is eventually pressured into giving Portia the ring with which he promised never to part. Gratiano gives Nerissa, who is disguised as Portias clerk, his ring. The two women return to Belmont, where they find Lorenzo and Jessica declaring their love to each other under the moonlight. When Bassanio and Gratiano arrive the next day, their wives accuse them of faithlessly giving their rings to other women. Before the deception goes too far, however, Portia reveals that she was, in fact, the law clerk, and both she and Nerissa reconcile with their husbands. Lorenzo and Jessica are pleased to learn of their inheritance from Shylock, and the joyful news arrives that Antonios ships have in fact made it back safely. The group celebrates its good fortune.

Character List
Shylock - A Jewish moneylender in Venice. Angered by his mistreatment at the hands of Venices Christians, particularly Antonio, Shylock schemes to eke out his revenge by ruthlessly demanding as payment a pound of Antonios flesh. Although seen by the rest of the plays characters as an inhuman monster, Shylock at times diverges from stereotype and reveals himself to be quite human. These contradictions, and his eloquent expressions of hatred, have earned Shylock a place as one of Shakespeares most memorable characte rs. Read an in-depth analysis of Shylock. Portia - A wealthy heiress from Belmont. Portias beauty is matched only by her intelligence. Bound by a clause in her fathers will that forces her to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly among three caskets, Portia is nonetheless able to marry her true love, Bassanio. Far and away the most clever of the plays characters, it is Portia, in the disguise of a young law clerk, who saves Antonio from Shylocks knife. Read an in-depth analysis of Portia. Antonio - The merchant whose love for his friend Bassanio prompts him to sign Shylocks contract and almost lose his life. Antonio is something of a mercurial figure, often inexplicably melancholy and, as Shylock points out,

possessed of an incorrigible dislike of Jews. Nonetheless, Antonio is beloved of his friends and proves merciful to Shylock, albeit with conditions. Read an in-depth analysis of Antonio. Bassanio - A gentleman of Venice, and a kinsman and dear friend t o Antonio. Bassanios love for the wealthy Portia leads him to borrow money from Shylock with Antonio as his guarantor. An ineffectual businessman, Bassanio proves himself a worthy suitor, correctly identifying the casket that contains Portias portrait. Gratiano - A friend of Bassanios who accompanies him to Belmont. A coarse and garrulous young man, Gratiano is Shylocks most vocal and insulting critic during the trial. While Bassanio courts Portia, Gratiano falls in love with and eventually weds Portias lady-in-waiting, Nerissa. Jessica - Although she is Shylocks daughter, Jessica hates life in her fathers house, and elopes with the young Christian gentleman, Lorenzo. The fate of her soul is often in doubt: the plays characters wonder if her marria ge can overcome the fact that she was born a Jew, and we wonder if her sale of a ring given to her father by her mother is excessively callous. Lorenzo - A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, Lorenzo is in love with Shylocks daughter, Jessica. He schemes to help Jessica escape from her fathers house, and he eventually elopes with her to Belmont. Nerissa - Portias lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano and escorts Portia on Portias trip to Venice by disguising herself as her law clerk. Launcelot Gobbo - Bassanios servant. A comical, clownish figure who is especially adept at making puns, Launcelot leaves Shylocks service in order to work for Bassanio. The prince of Morocco - A Moorish prince who seeks Portias hand in marriage. The prince of Morocco asks Portia to ignore his dark countenance and seeks to win her by picking one of the three caskets. Certain that the caskets reflect Portias beauty and stature, the prince of Morocco picks the gold chest, which proves to be incorrect. The prince of Arragon - An arrogant Spanish nobleman who also attempts to win Portias hand by picking a casket. Like the prince of Morocco, however, the prince of Arragon chooses unwisely. He picks the silver casket, which gives him a message calling him an idiot instead of Portias hand. Salarino - A Venetian gentleman, and friend to Antonio, Bassanio, and Lorenzo. Salarino escorts the newlyweds Jessica and Lorenzo to Belmont, and returns with Bassanio and Gratiano for Antonios trial. He is often almost indistinguishable from his companion Solanio. Solanio - A Venetian gentleman, and frequent counterpart to Salarino. The duke of Venice - The ruler of Venice, who presides over Antonios trial. Although a powerful man, the dukes state is built on respect for the law, and he is unable to help Antonio. Old Gobbo - Launcelots father, also a servant in Venice. Tubal - A Jew in Venice, and one of Shylocks friends. Doctor Bellario - A wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portias cousin. Doctor Bellario never appears in the play, but he gives Portias servant the letters of introduction needed for her to make her appearance in court. Balthasar - Portias servant, whom she dispatches to get the appropriate materials from Doctor Bellario.

Key Facts
F U L L T I T L E The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of Venice A U T H O R William Shakespeare T Y P E O F W O R K Play G E N R E Comedy L A N G U A G E English T I M E A N D P L A C E W R I T T E N 1 5 9 8 ; London, England D A T E O F F I R S T P U B L I C A T I O N First published in the Quarto of 1 6 0 0 P U B L I S H E R I. R. for Thomas Heys

T O N E Comic, romantic, tragic S E T T I N G ( T I M E ) Sixteenth century S E T T I N G ( P L A C E ) Venice and Belmont, Italy P R O T A G O N I S T There is no clear protagonist. Antonio is the merchant of the plays title, but he plays a relatively

passive role. The major struggles of the play are Bassanios quest to marry Portia and his attempt to free Antonio from Shylock, so Bassanio is the likeliest candidate. M A J O R C O N F L I C T Antonio defaults on a loan he borrowed from Shylock, wherein he promises to sacrifice a pound of flesh. R I S I N G A C T I O N Antonios ships, the only means by which he can pay off his debt to Shylock, are reported lost at sea. C L I M A X Portia, disguised as a man of law, intervenes on Antonios behalf. F A L L I N G A C T I O N Shylock is ordered to convert to Christianity and bequeath his possessions to Lorenzo and Jessica; Portia and Nerissa persuade their husbands to give up their rings T H E M E S Self-interest versus love; the divine quality of mercy; hatred as a cyclical phenomenon M O T I F S The law; cross-dressing; filial piety S Y M B O L S The pound of flesh; Leahs ring; the three caskets F O R E S H A D O W I N G In the plays opening scene, Shakespeare foreshadows Antonios grim future by suggesting both his indebtedness to a creditor and the loss of his valuable ships.

Study Questions & Essay Topics

Study Questions

Discuss Shylocks dramatic function in The Merchant of Venice. What do critics mean when they suggest that Shylock is too large for the play? Does he fulfill or exceed his role? In order to ensure that we understand Shylock as a threat to the happiness of Venices citizens and lovers, Shakespeare uses a number of dramatic devices to amplify Shylocks villainy. In doing so, however, he creates a character so compelling that many feel Shylock comes to dominate the play, thereby making him too large. Certainly, Shylock is a masterful creation. At his cruelest, he is terrifying, even more so because all of his schemes exist within the framework of the law. Seen in this light, Shylock becomes a kind of bogeyman, turning Venetian societys own institutions on themselves. On the other hand, Shylock is also pitiable, even sympathetic, at times. He has been harshly handled by Venetian society and has seen his daughter elope with one of the same men who despise him. His passionate monologue in Act III, scene i reveals that he feels the same emotions as his opponents, and we cannot help but see him as a man. In fact, Shylocks character is so well-rounded and intricate that many see him as the only interesting figure in a play that is not, in theory, supposed to center about him. Shylocks scenes are gripping and fascinating, and many critics believe the play deflates every time he makes an exit.

In the end, how comic is The Merchant of Venice? Does the final act succeed in restoring comedy to the play? The Merchant of Venice contains all of the elements required of a Shakespearean comedy, but is often so overshadowed by the character of Shylock and his quest for a pound of flesh that it is hard not to find in the play a generous share of the tragic as well. Lovers pine and are reunited, a foolish servant makes endless series of puns, and genteel women masquerade as menall of which are defining marks of Shakespearean comedy. In sharp contrast to these elements, however, Shakespeare also presents Shylock, a degraded old man who has lost his daughter and is consumed with a bloody greed. The light language of the plays comedic moments disappears for whole scenes at a time, and Antonios fate is more suspenseful than funny. The final act redeems the plays claims to be a comedy, piling on the necessary humor and serendipity, but the rest of the play is overcast by the fact that Antonio may soon pay Bassanios debt with his life.

Discuss the relationship between Jessica and Shylock. Are we meant to sympathize with the moneylenders daughter? Does Shakespeare seem ambivalent in his portrayal of Jessica? In looking at the relationship between Jessica and Shylock, we are again forced to walk a fine line between sympathizing with and despising Shylock. For all intents and purposes, the play should label Shylocks mistreatment by his own daughter as richly deserved. After all, he is spiteful, petty, and mean, and in his more cartoonish or evil moments, it is hard to imagine why Jessica should stay. At other times, however, Jessicas esca pe seems like another cruel circumstance inflicted on Shylock, and her behavior offstage borders on heartless. Shylock is never more sympathetic than when he bemoans the fact that Jessica has taken a ring given to him in his bachelor days by his wife and has traded it for a monkey, the most banal of objects. Nor is Jessica ever able to produce satisfactory

evidence that life in her fathers house is miserable. Her seeming indifference to Antonios fateshe and Lorenzo are more interested in the price of baconmakes us wonder whether Jessica is actually more selfish and self-absorbed than the father she condemns. While Shylock is no saint, his resolve to collect his debt only seems to strengthen beyond reason after he discovers that Jessica has fled.

Suggested Essay Topics

1 . Discuss the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio. What does their friendship reveal about their characters? 2 . Examine Shylocks rhetoric. Pay special attention to the quality of his languagehis use of metaphor and

repetition, for instance. How do his speeches reflect his character as a whole? 3 . Compare and contrast Venice and Belmont. What is the significance of these distinct settings in the play? 4 . Analyze the way that time passes in The Merchant of Venice, paying special attention to conflicts between time in Venice and Belmont. Are there any inconsistencies, and if so, how does the play handle them? 5 . To what extent is Shylock defined by his Jewishness? To what extent is he defined by his profession? 6 . Discuss Portias character. How does she compare to the men around her? Is Bassanio a worthy husband for her? 7 . Discuss how the trial scene reveals a conflict between justice and mercy. Is the conflict resolved? If so, how?

The Merchant of Venice Plot Summary

Here is a brief plot summary of The Merchant of Venice: A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats so that he can woo Portia, a wealthy Venetian heiress. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant. Antonio is short of money because all his wealth is invested in his fleet, which is currently at sea. He goes to a Jewish money lender, Shylock, who hates Antonio because of Antonios anti-semitic behaviour towards him. Shylock nevertheless agrees to make the short-term loan, but, in a moment of dark humour, he makes a condition - the loan must be repaid in three months or Shylock will exact a pound of flesh from Antonio. Antonio agrees, confident that his ships will return in time. Because of the terms of Portias fathers will, all suitors must choose from among three caskets, one of which contains a portrait of her. If he chooses that he may marry Portia, but if doesnt he must vow never to marry or court another woman. The Princes of Morocco and Arragon fail the test and are rejected. As Bassanio prepares to travel to Belmont for the test, his friend Lorenzo elopes with Shylocks daughter, Jessica. Bassanio chooses the lead casket, which contains her picture, and Portia happily agrees to marry him immediately. Meanwhile, two of Antonios ships have been wrecked and Antonios creditors are pressurising him for repayment. Word comes to Bassanio about Antonios predicament, and he hurries back to Venice, leaving Portia behind. Portia follows him, accompanied by her maid, Nerissa. They are disguised as a male lawyer and his clerk. When Bassanio arrives the date for the repayment to Shylock has passed and Shylock is demanding his pound of flesh. Even when Bassanio offers much more than the

amount in repayment, Shylock, now infuriated by the loss of his daughter, is intent on seeking revenge on the Christians. The Duke refuses to intervene. Portia arrives in her disguise to defend Antonio. Given the authority of judgment by the Duke, Portia decides that Shylock can have the pound of flesh as long as he doesnt draw blood, as it is against the law to shed a Christians blood. Since it is obvious that to draw a pound of flesh would kill Antonio, Shylock is denied his suit. Moreover, for conspiring to murder a Venetian citizen, Portia orders that he should forfeit all his wealth. Half is to go to Venice, and half to Antonio. Antonio gives his half back to Shylock on the condition that Shylock bequeath it to his disinherited daughter, Jessica. Shylock must also convert to Christianity. A broken Shylock accepts. News arrives that Antonios remaining ships have returned safely. With the exception of Shylock, all celebrate a happy ending to the affair.

Hamlet Plot Summary

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Here is a short plot summary of Hamlet: Prince Hamlets student friend, Horatio, goes to the battlements of Denmarks Elsinore castle late at night to meet the guards. They tell him about a ghost they have seen that resembles the late king, Hamlet. It reappears and they decide to tell the prince. Hamlets uncle, Claudius, having become king, has now married Hamlets widowed mother, Gertrude. In the court, after envoys are sent to Norway, the prince is dissuaded from returning to university. Hamlet still mourns his fathers death and hearing of the ghost from Horatio he determines to see it for himself. Laertes, son of the courtier, Polonius, departs for France, warning his sister, Ophelia, against thinking too much of Hamlets attentions. The ghost appears to Hamlet and tells him that he was murdered by Claudius. The prince swears vengeance and his friends are sworn to secrecy as Hamlet decides to feign madness while he tests the truth of the ghosts allegations. He rejects Ophelia, as Claudius and Polonius spy on him seeking to find a reason for his sudden strange behaviour. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, former student friends of Hamlet, are summoned by Claudius and their arrival coincides with that of a group of travelling actors. The prince knows these players well and they rehearse together before arranging to present Hamlets choice of play before the king and queen, which will include scenes close to the circumstances of the old kings death. At the performance Hamlet watches closely as Claudius is provoked into interrupting the play and storming out, resolving to send the prince away to England. Hamlet is summoned by his distressed mother and, on the way he spares Claudius whom he sees kneeling, attempting to pray. To kill him while he is praying would send his soul to heaven rather than to the hell he deserves. Polonius hides in Gertrudes room to listen to the conversation, but Hamlet detects movement as he upbraids his mother. He stabs the concealing tapestry and so kills the old man. The ghost reappears, warning his son not to delay revenge, nor to upset his mother. As the army of Norways King Fortinbras crosses Denmark to attack Poland, Hamlet is sent to England, ostensibly as an ambassador, but he discovers Claudiuss plan to have him killed. Outwitting this plot Hamlet returns alone, sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths in his stead. During Hamlets absence Ophelia goes mad as a result of her fathers death and she is drowned. Hamlet returns and meets Horatio in the graveyard. With the arrival of Ophelias funeral Hamlet confronts Laertes who, after attempting a revolt against Claudius, has taken his fathers place at the court. A duel is arranged between Hamlet and Laertes at which Claudius has plotted for Hamlet to die either on a poisoned rapier, or from poisoned wine. The plans go wrong and both Laertes and Hamlet are wounded, while Gertrude unwittingly drinks from the poisoned cup. Hamlet, in his death throes, kills Claudius, and Horatio is left to explain the truth to the new king, Fortinbras, who returns, victorious, from the Polish wars. Shakespeare sets his Hamlet play in the cold, dark isolation of Elsinor a bleak, snow-covered region of Denmark. Its the royal court of the King of Denmark. The atmosphere is established on the cold, windy battlements of the castle. Most of the action takes place in theinterior rooms and corridors of the castle and one scene is set in a nearby cemetery. Date written: 1601

Genre classification: Hamlet is regarded as one of Shakespeares tragedies. Main characters in Hamlet: Hamlet, the son of the recently murdered King is the heir to the throne. Hehas had the crown stolen from him by his fathers villainous brother, Claudius whom thelate kings widow, Gertrude Hamlets mother has married. Hamlets fathers ghost tellshim on the battlements that Claudius murdered him. Hamlet is continuously spied on by Polonius, the garrulous LordChamberlain of Denmark. His eavesdropping results in his being accidentally killed by Hamlet. Ophelia is Polonius daughter. Led on to a possible relationship by Hamlet, then rejected, she commits suicide by drowning. Her brother, Laertesseeks revenge by plotting with Claudius to kill Hamlet. Other characters are Hamlets friend, Horatio, in whom he confides, Rosencranz and Guidenstern, Hamlets fellow university students, who spy on Hamlet for Claudius, a troupe of strolling actors and a pair of gravediggers. See a full list of characters in Hamlet. Hamlet Themes: The play falls into the genre of the Revenge Tragedy, which was very popular in the Jacobean era with its taste for violence and intrigue. Revenge is the most obvious, and one of the main, themes of the play. Although explorations of the idea of appearan ce and reality are present in all Shakespeares plays, its more fully developed in Hamlet, with all its plotting, intrigues, deceit and hypocrisy. Other themes are the question of what a human being is; death and mortality and suicide. In common with several other Shakespeare plays, there is a clear Christian parallel.

The Merchant of Venice: Brief Summary

Bassanio a gentleman of Venice requires 3000 ducats to pay for his travel expenses to Belmont. Bassanio wishes the money as he is seeking to wed the Heiress Portia. Bassanio turns to his good friend Antonio, who is a wealthy merchant. Unfortunately, Antonio's money is tied up on Ships doing business. He, however has offered to be Guarantor, they attempt to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Shylock reluctantly agrees, but on the condition that if he doesn't pay the 3000 Ducats by three months than, Antonio has to give up a pound of his flesh, closest to the heart. They agree to the Bond. Portia, in her home at Belmont has been visited by many suitors. From her dead fathers wishes her suitors were required to choose between a lead, silver, or a gold casket. The one who chooses the casket containing her portrait, would be her husband. No man has yet chosen the correct casket. Jessica, the daughter of Shylock wishes to change into Christianity, against her father's will and marry the Christian Lorenzo. She runs away with him, and takes some of her father's fortune. Shylock is furious and vows revenge. Bassanio with friend Gratiano travel to Belmont to, Portia is delighted to hear this, as he is the one she wants to marry. Before hand the prince of Morocco and the prince of Aragon had tried but failed to choose the correct casket. Bassanio takes his time in choosing the casket - he chooses the lead casket; the correct one. Gratiano, woes Nerissa, and the four prepare to be wed. Bassanio's friends arrive with a messenger, he receives a letter from Venice, it said that Antonio's ship had not yet arrived and Shylock was demanding his pound of flesh, as the money had not been paid. Bassanio is extremely upset about this news. Portia reassures him and offers to pay any amount possible or do anything she can. The men set off back to Venice. Portia along with Nerrissa conduct a plan to help Antonio, they tell Lorenzo and Jessica to mind the house while they wait for their husbands in a monastery. They plan to dress up as Lawyers in order to defend Antonio in court. The two women enter the courtroom with a message that the doctor Balthasar (Portia) has being sent to replace the original doctor, Bellario. Portia begins her case with a plea for mercy, she begs him to forfeit the bond and accept three times the amount. Shylock refuses, as he wants to take his revenge on the Christains who have criticized him because he is a Jew. Portia then reads the bond and discovers that Shylock is only allowed to take one pound of Antonio's flesh. She tells him that he can take his pound of flesh on the condition that he takes exactly one pound of

flesh and only flesh. No blood shall be shed. Shylock is forced to forfeit the bond, if he does go outside the conditions than he too will be punished. Since he forfeited the bond, but threatened the life on a Venetian, Shylock was forced to give up his money, half to Antonio the other half to the general state. Antonio takes pity on the Jew and declines his half of the money, he tells the court that Shylock can keep his money, but on the condition that he change into Christianity and leave his money to his daughter on his death. The Jew painfully agrees. The men gratefully thank doctor Balthasar and her clerk, they offer them anything they desire. Portia and Nerissa both ask for Bassanio's and gratiano's rings. Reluctantly they hand it to them, as it was a present from their wives who told them never to lose it. Portia and Nerissa return home, soon after Bassanio, Antonio, and Gratiano return with the good news. Portia and Nerrissa demand to know what happened to the rings, the men apologized and explained the situation. Portia and Nerissa show them the rings and explain that they were the two doctors.
The Merchant of Venice: Plot Summary
The Masterpiece Theatre production of The Merchant of Venice, adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn with Chris Hunt, was originally staged as an award-winning play for England's Royal National Theatre in 1999. The film was produced by Richard Price and Chris Hunt. Although retaining Shakespeare's language, the play has been moved to a setting that evokes pre-World War II Europe. You may want to download and distribute the plot summary of the play before students view the Masterpiece Theatre production.

As the play opens, we meet Antonio, a Venetian merchant. Antonio agrees to give his best friend Bassanio the money he needs to travel to Belmont, where Bassanio hopes to woo and marry the clever and beautiful Portia. Antonio has no cash, so he goes to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. Antonio accepts a bargain from Shylock in exchange for the money: Shylock will charge no interest, but if he is not paid back on time, Antonio will forfeit, literally, "a pound of flesh." In Belmont, Portia meets a series of suitors. Her father's will stipulates that she must marry any man who chooses correctly from among three "caskets" (gold, silver, and lead cases), finding the one containing her portrait. The Prince of Morocco and the Prince of Aragon both fail. Bassanio wisely chooses the lead casket. But just as the couple are united, news arrives that Antonio's ships have been lost at sea; he will not be able to repay Shylock on time. Meanwhile, Shylock, devastated and angry that his daughter Jessica has run off to marry Lorenzo, a Christian friend of Antonio and Bassanio, demands his due: a pound of Antonio's flesh. Portia offers to repay the loan three times over but is refused. Portia and her maid Nerissa devise a plan to help save Antonio and travel to Venice disguised as men. Shylock's case against Antonio is brought to trial, presided over by the Duke of Venice. The Duke and Bassanio urge Shylock to accept repayment of the loan and release Antonio from the grim penalty. Shylock refuses, demanding "justice." A young legal expert, Balthazar (Portia in disguise), arrives with his "clerk" (Nerissa) to help settle the matter. She confirms that Shylock is entitled to "a pound of flesh," but pleads with Shylock to place "mercy" above "justice" and spare Antonio. When he still refuses, Portia reminds Shylock that, according to the law, if he sheds any of Antonio's blood while taking his flesh he will be arrested. Shylock relents and agrees to accept repayment of the loan, but Portia now argues that he should not only be denied his money but that he face a penalty of death for plotting to take the life of a Christian. Sparing Shylock's life, the court takes half his wealth and requires him to convert to Christianity. Portia, still disguised, demands that Bassanio thank her by giving her his ring, a gift from Portia that he had promised never to remove. Bassanio hands over the ring. His friend Gratiano gives up Nerissa's ring. Back in Belmont, Portia and Nerissa accuse their men of having given their rings to other women. Portia finally reveals the truth. She and Bassanio are reunited just as news arrives that Antonio's ships have been saved.

The Romeo & Juliet play is set in Renaissance Verona in Italy. In the Elizabethan imagination thatwould have presented a picture of heat, quick tempers and violence. Date written: 1597 Read the full Romeo & Juliet script Genre classification: Romeo & Juliet is regarded as one of Shakespeares tragedies. Romeo & Juliet Characters: Romeo is the son of Lady Montagueand Montague, the patriarch of a rich merchant family engaged in an ancient feud with another wealthy family, the Capulets. He gatecrashes a party at the Capulet mansion where he falls in love with Capulets daughter, Juliet. Juliets mother, Lady Capulet and her Nurse are other members of the Capulet household. Friar Lawrence is a monk, who helps Romeo and Juliet to marry. Mercutio is Romeos friend, accidentally killed by Juliets cousin, Tybalt, whom Romeo kills and is banished to Mantua for his crime. Paris is the young nobleman Juliet is to marry, and whom Romeo kills. Benvolio is Romeos cousin and friend. Balthazar, Samson, Gregory, Peter and Balthazar areservants of the two families. Friar John is the associate of Friar Lawrence who is unable todeliver a critical message which is the immediate cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Escalus is the Prince of Verona who threatens death for anyone who breaks the peace. Themes in Romeo & Juliet: Romeo and Juliet is the deepest, most penetrating, exploration of love that canbe found in Shakespeare or, indeed, in any other writers plays. The play also explores the consequences of futile quarr elling and social division.

Romeo & Juliet Characters List

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See below for a full list of all the characters in Romeo & Juliet: ESCALUS, Prince of Verona PARIS, a young Nobleman, Kinsman to the Prince MONTAGUE & CAPULET, Heads of two Houses at variance with each other LADY CAPULET, Wife to Capulet JULIET, Daughter to Capulet LADY MONTAGUE, Wife to Montague Uncle to Capulet ROMEO, son to Montague MERCUTIO, Kinsman to the Prince, & BENVOLIO, Nephew to Montague, Friends to Romeo TYBALT, Nephew to Lady Capulet Nurse to Juliet FRIAR LAURENCE, a Franciscan FRIAR JOHN, of the same Order BALTHASAR, Servant to Romeo SAMPSON, & GREGORY, Servants to Capulet PETER, Servant to Juliets Nurse ABRAHAM, Servant to Montague An Apothecary Three Musicians Page to Mercutio; Page to Paris; another Page; an Officer Citizens of Verona; male and female Kinsfolk to both Houses; Masquers, Guards, Watchmen and Attendants

Romeo & Juliet Plot Summary

Here is a brief plot summary of Romeo & Juliet: On a hot morning fighting by young servants of the Capulet and Montague families is stopped by the Prince who tells them that the next person who breaks the peace will be punished with death. Capulet plans a feast to introduce his daughter, Juliet, who is almost fourteen, to the Count Paris who would like to marry her. By a mistake of the illiterate servant Peter, Montagues son, Romeo, and his friends Benvolio and the Princes cousin Mercutio, hear of the party and decide to go in disguise. Romeo hopes he will see his adored Rosaline but instead he meets and falls in love with Juliet. Juliets cousin Tybalt recognises the Montagues and they are forced to leave the party just as Romeo and Juliet have each discovered the others identity. Romeo lingers near the Capulets house and talk s to Juliet when she appears on her balcony. With the help of Juliets Nurse the lovers arrange to meet next day at the cell of Friar Lawrence when Juliet goes for confession, and they are married by him. Tybalt picks a quarrel with Mercutio and his friends and Mercutio is accidentally killed as Romeo intervenes to try to break up the fight. Romeo pursues Tybalt in anger, kills him and is banished by the Prince for the deed. Juliet is anxious that Romeo is late meeting her and learns of the f ighting from her Nurse. With Friar Lawrences help it is arranged that Romeo will spend the night with Juliet before taking refuge at Mantua. To calm the familys sorrow at Tybalts death the day for the marriage of Juliet to Paris is brought forward. Capu let and his wife are angry that Juliet does not wish to marry Paris, not knowing of her secret contract with Romeo. Friar Lawrence helps Juliet by providing a sleeping potion that will make everyone think shes dead. Romeo will then come to her tomb and take her away. When the wedding party arrives to greet Juliet next day they think she is dead. The Friar sends a colleague to warn Romeo to come to the Capulets family monument to rescue his sleeping wife but the message doesnt get through and Romeo, heari ng instead that Juliet is dead, buys poison in Mantua. He returns to Verona and goes to the tomb where he surprises and kills the mourning Paris. Romeo takes the poison and dies just as Juliet awakes from her drugged sleep. She learns what has happened from Friar Lawrence but she refuses to leave the tomb and stabs herself as the Friar returns with the Prince, the Capulets and Romeos father. The deaths of their children lead the families to make peace, promising to erect a monument in their memory.

Measure for Measure Play: Overview & Resources

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The Measure for Measure play is set in Vienna whose streets and taverns are teeming with criminals, prostitutes and pimps. Most of the action takes place in the Dukes palace. Some scenes are set in the city prison and others in the streets of Vienna. The final, large, scene resolves all the strands at the city gates. Date written: 1603 Genre classification: Measure for Measure has traditionally been classified as a Comedy but because of the difficulties of placing it into one of the more clear-cut categories its considered to be one of the Problem Plays.

Main characters in Measure for Measure: Duke Vincentiowishes to clean up the city, which has become infested with vice. He appoints Angelo to do that while he pretends to leave Vienna temporarily, but remains, walking about in disguise, observing the process. Isabella, the sister of the inoffensive young Claudio, is a virtuous young woman around whom the action revolves. She is about to dedicate her life to God, as a nun. Claudio has been imprisoned and sentenced to death under the new laws, for fornication, because he has made his beloved Juliet, a sweet young woman, pregnant. Lucio, a laddish friend of Isabella, persuades her to approach Angelo and plead for her brothers release. Angelo agrees to do so but only if Isabella will sleep with him. Escalus is the Dukes trusted advisor. Mariana, a sad young woman, was once engaged to Angelo but he abandoned her because her dowry had been lost in a shipwreck. The Provost is the officer in charge of the prison. He is a good, compassionate man, reluctant to carry out the death sentence on Claudio. Elbow is an honest but hopeless police constable. Barnadine is the drunken cellmate of Claudio.Abhorson is the official executioner. Mistress Overdone is the madame of a brothel and Pompey is her pimp. Francisca is a nun, and Thomas and Peter are friars. Ragozine is a pirate who is executed and his head substituted for Claudios. Frost is one of the city fools. See a full character list for Measure for Measure Measure for Measure themes: One of the main themes in this play is the position of women in society and their exploitation. This play is a favourite among feminist enthusiasts and provides an answer to the charge that Shakespeare is sexist. Another major theme is the corruptive nature of power. Another is hypocrisy. An important consideration in Measure for Measure is the nature of civil authority where strong leadership is required but should be tempered by compassion, mercy and common sense. As usual in Shakespeare the play is deeply concerned with the way things seem to be versus how they really are appearance and reality. People are not what they seem to be, from the disguised Duke to the hypocritical Angelo.

Measure for Measure Characters List

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See below for a full list of all the characters in Measure for Measure: VINCENTIO, the Duke ANGELO, Lord Deputy in the Dukes absence ESCALUS, an Ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation CLAUDIO, a young gentleman ISABELLA, sister to Claudio JULIET, beloved of Claudio LUCIO, a Fantastic MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo Two other like Gentlemen VARRIUS, a Gentleman attending on the Duke PROVOST THOMAS, PETER, two Friars

A Justice ELBOW, a simple Constable FROTH, a foolish Gentleman MISTRESS OVERDONE, a Bawd POMPEY, Tapster to Mistress Overdone ABHORSON, an Executioner BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner FRANCISCA, a Nun Lords, Officers, Citizens, Boy, and Attendants Here is a brief plot summary of Measure for Measure: Depravity and sexual licence have become an issue in Vienna andthe Duke Vincentio, who has decided to take a break from ruling, appoints Angelo to rule in his absence, assisted by a trusted councillor, Escalus. The first thing Angelo does is pronounce that he is going to enforce the immorality laws to try and stamp out the epidemic of loose living. A citizen, Claudio, has got his fiance, Juliet, pregnant. He is tried and sentenced to death. His sister, Isabella, who lives in a convent, about to take her vows as a nun, hears the news. She hurries to Angelo to beg for mercy on behalf of her brother. Angelo denies her request but as she persists he is overwhelmed by lust for her and tells her he will think about it, and that she should return the next day to hear his verdict. She goes back the next day and he tells her that he will pardon her brother if she will have sex with him. The Duke Vincentio, in the meantime, has not left Vienna but disguised himself as an itinerant friar and is moving about among the people to observe the effect of Angelos rule. He tells Juliet to prepare for Claudios death, assuring her that there is no way around it. Isabella is horrified by Angelos proposition and refuses. She visits Claudio in prison and tells him abou t it, making it clear that she will not subject herself to that, and that he will have to die. The Duke overhears their conversation and suggests a solution. He tells her that she should agree to it and he will arrange for Mariana, who has been jilted by Angelo because her dowry was lost at sea, to take Isabellas place and sleep with Angelo, who will not know it isnt Isabella in the dark. Angelo is preparing to double-cross Isabella, however, and gives instructions for Claudios execution. The Duke, still disguised, persuades the prison governor to execute a long-term prisoner, Barnadine, instead, and deliver his head to Angelo as demanded, claiming that it is Claudios head. Barnadine refuses to agree so they decide to use the head of a prisoner who has just died. Marianna fulfils her part of the bargain, sleeping with Angelo, who believes that she is Isabella. The next day the friar tells Isabella that Angelo has deceived her and had Claudio executed. He also announces his return, as the Duke, to Vienna. Isabella and Marianna decide to go together to greet him and complain about what has happened. The Duke arrives in Vienna with a big public display. Isabella begs for justice. The two women tell their story and Angelo is exposed in public. He is forced to marry Marianna. Claudio and Juliet are reunited. The play ends with the Duke proposing to Isabella.

Summary of Macbeth and Characters The list of Macbeth characters provide a convenient introduction to the William Shakespeare play summary of Macbeth. The male and female characters bring the plot of the play to life. Not only do we remember the stories but we remember the people - we all have our favourite characters. Characters in Macbeth Macduff Malcolm Macbeth Lady Macduff Menteith Earl Siward Young Siward Rosse Seyton Caithness Donalbain Angus Banquo King Duncan Lennox Lady Macbeth Fleance Hecate Summary of Macbeth The following short summary of Macbeth provides a brief description of this famous William Shakespeare play. The story of the plot with its famous characters via the summary of Macbeth. Interesting facts and information about the Globe Theatre of Elizabethan London with a William Shakespeare Play Summary of Macbeth with a list of Characters. The Summary of Macbeth This drama is one of the great tragedy themed plays by William Shakespeare. The themes illustrated in the play include ambition, fate, deception and treachery. Three witches decide to confront the great Scottish general Macbeth on his victorious return from a war between Scotland and Norway. The Scottish king, Duncan, decides that he will confer the title of the traitorous Cawdor on the heroic Macbeth. Macbeth, and another General called Banquo, happen upon the three witches. The witches predict that he will one day become king. He decides

that he will murder Duncan. Macbeth's wife agrees to his plan. He then murders Duncan assisted by his wife who smears the blood of Duncan on the daggers of the sleeping guards. A nobleman called Macduff discovers the body. Macbeth kills the guards insisting that their daggers smeared with Duncan's blood are proof that they committed the murder. The crown passes to Macbeth. More murders ensue and the bloodied ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's conscience now begins to torture her and she imagines that she can see her hands covered with blood. She commits suicide. Macduff kills Macbeth and becomes king.

Summarized Story
This play has about five acts and around seven scenes in each act. In the beginning Macbeth was a Thane of Glamis. He met three witches that told him "you will become king." He didn't believe this, but the witches also told him he would become the Thane of Cawdor, which did happen. Then Macbeth began to believe them (a little). Next he thought "Being King wouldn't be too bad," so he and his wife, Lady Macbeth, planned to kill King Duncan. They did and put the blame on the King's gaurds. That plan went successfully. The King had two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain. They fled after they heard of their father's death. Once Macbeth became King, he thought he had no worries. But Macbeth knows that Banquo knew of his plan to kill Duncan, so Macbeth hired three murders to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. They killed Banquo, but Fleance got away. After Macbeth heard of the success of the murder he became insane. Macbeth went to the witches to see what he had to fear. The witches showed him some apparitions, which told him what to fear. There were three of them. The first one said to look out for the Thane of Fife, which was Macduff. The second apparition said that none born of a woman would kill him. Last the thrid one said to not worry until Great Birnam (the forest) comes to your castle. Macbeth thought he had it made from what the apparitions said. Just to be safe, Macbeth tried to find ways to get Macduff to come back so he could kill him. Macbeth had Macduff's family murdered. Once Macduff heard of this, he wanted Macbeth's head. So Macduff went to his friend Malcolm, who was in England.

They talked and came up with a plan to get Macbeth. Macduff said "I want to kill Macbeth." Malcolm and Macduff got an army ready and left for Macbeth. Macbeth heard of the plan Malcolm and Macduff made and was planning to hold them out. Well once Malcolm's army got to the castle they planned to cut branches off trees from Birnam forest and use it as cover. Macbeth's army started leaving him and going to Malcolm's side. Macduff got inside and was on the look for Macbeth. Once he found him they began to fight. Macbeth said "You can't defeat me. None born of a woman can harm me." But Macduff wasn't born of a woman, he was cut out of her womb early. So Macbeth knew he was doomed. After the fight Macduff cut off his head, and the castle was back in the right hands. Malcolm became the new king.
Synopsis: S4K Macbeth
Synopsis of Shakespeare 4 Kidz MACBETH
Rumbling Thunder sets the mood for the opening of the show. Three figures emerge from the shadows. They are three Witches or Weird Sisters foretellers of the future (The Opening). They look forward to meeting Macbeth. At King Duncans camp near Forres, a wounded sergeant tells of Macbeths heroics in battles against Macdonald and the rebels, while Ross reports that King Sweno of Norway and the traitorous Thane of Cawdor have also been defeated by Macbeth. The witches wait on the Blasted Heath (Weird Sisters), and meet up with Macbeth and a fellow warrior, Banquo, as they return to Duncans camp. They hail Macbeth and Banquo with three prophecies, then disappear into the air. Macbeth is already Thane of Glamis (the first prophecy) and is astonished when he is suddenly made Thane of Cawdor (the second) and wonders whether he will soon be King (the third). At the Royal Palace at Forres, Macbeth hears the announcement that Prince Malcolm, Duncans eldest son, will be heir to the throne. If his ambition to become king is achieved, Macbeth realizes that at least two people must now die. He sends his wife the news in a letter. As she reads it she is told that the King is to visit Macbeths castle, and develops a plan to murder him(Better Leave It Up to Me). She summons up help from evil spirits to make her strong like a man. Macbeth returns and decides that he doesnt want to go through with his wifes plot to murder the King after all (How Do You Murder a King?)She changes his mind. As he prepares to commit the murder, he imagines he sees a dagger before his eyes. He kills the King but forgets to leave the guards daggers at the scene as planned. Lady Macbeth takes them herself, and smears blood on the guards faces to make it appear that they did the deed. The Porter somewhat hungover from the previous nights reveling talks about equivocators (Knock! Knock! Knock!), and eventually answers the knocking at the castle gate. Macduff discovers the murdered King, and immediately suspects Macbeth. Prince Malcolm and Prince Donalbain flee the country. Malcolm goes to England and Donalbain to Ireland. Macbeth is pronounced King, but still worries that Banquo (and his children) will be a threat to his throne, so arranges for them to be murdered (Banquo Must Go!). Assisted by a mysterious third murderer, two men kill Banquo however, Fleance escapes. At the Banquet to celebrate Macbeths coronation (Land of the Celts; Scotland Forever) Banquos Ghost returns to haunt Macbeth. Macbeth decides he must return to the witches for help. Hecate the Goddess of Witchcraft is angry that the Witches have interfered with Macbeths destiny without her permission. She promises to spend the night watching Macbeths death (Black Spirits). (The Hecate passages and the song Black Spirits were thought to be additions by Thomas Middleton, from his play The Witch written about five years after Shakespeare wrote Macbeth.) He hears three more prophesies, that are more like riddles. The witches warn him to beware of Macduff, that no man born of a woman can harm him, and that he will never be beaten until Birnam Wood itself rises up against him. Lady Macduff is angry that her husband has fled to England leaving his family unprotected (My Pretty One). Macbeth orders the capture of Macduffs castle and the murder of his wife and children. Macduff meets up with Malcolm who is staying with King Edward the Confessor in England. But Malcolm, suspecting Macduff to be one of Macbeths spies, tests his loyalty by pretending he would be a more evil King than Macbeth. (No one More Evil Than Me). Seeing Macduffs reaction, Malcolm realises he can trust him after all. Ross arrives and reports that Macduffs family have been slain by Macbeths men. Macduff vows to kill Macbeth, and the three men prepare to march on Scotland(From Today). Lady Macbeth is haunted by the wicked deeds. She sleepwalks and is overheard by her Gentlewoman and a Doctor talking about the evil she has committed with her husband. (Out Damned Spot!)

The Scottish rebels and the English army meet near Birnam Wood. They cut down branches to hide the size of their army. Macbeth hears that his wife has died, and realises that life is short, and theres nothing anyone can do to control it. He prepares for battle. Although two of the witches latest warnings appear to have come true, Macbeth still believes he is invincible as no man born of a woman can harm him. He is horrified to hear Macduff declare he wasnt born in the usual way but by a Caesarean birth. In the final duel to the death Macbeth is killed by Macduff (The Final Battle). Malcolm is declared King, as everyone looks forward to a brighter future for Scotland (From Today).