Read this extract from Macbeth Act I, Scene 2. The Captain has come home from a fierce battle between Macdonald and Macbeth, to tell King Duncan what has happened.
Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied,
And fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak,
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
And fixed his head upon our battlements.
The following questions will ask you about what effect Shakespeare intends to have on the audience through his choice of language. If you need to read the extract again as you work through the questions, you can click on the Help button above the questions.