"Macbeth" Vocabulary from Act III

The Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth is a play about the lengths one will go to satisfy his or her ambition and the consequences of one's desire (etext found here).

Learn these word lists for each act: Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, and Act V.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. verity
    conformity to reality or actuality
    Why, by the verities on thee made good,
    May they not be my oracles as well,
    And set me up in hope?
  2. unbecoming
    not in keeping with accepted standards of what is proper
    If he had been forgotten,
    It had been as a gap in our great feast,
    And all-thing unbecoming.
  3. grave
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    We should have else desired your good advice,
    Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
    In this day's council.
  4. swift
    moving very fast
    I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
  5. dauntless
    invulnerable to fear or intimidation
    To that dauntless temper of his mind,
    He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
    To act in safety.
  6. issue
    the immediate descendants of a person or animal
    Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
    And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
    Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
    No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
    For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind
  7. fate
    the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
    Rather than so, come fate into the list.
    And champion me to the utterance!
  8. fortune
    your overall circumstances or condition in life
    Know that it was he in the times past which held you
    So under fortune, which you thought had been
    Our innocent self.
  9. perfect
    being complete of its kind and without defect or blemish
    I will put that business in your bosoms,
    Whose execution takes your enemy off,
    Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
    Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
    Which in his death were perfect.
  10. barefaced
    with no effort to conceal
    Though I could
    With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
    And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
    For certain friends that are both his and mine,
    Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
    Who I myself struck down
  11. scotch
    make a small cut or score into
    We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it:
  12. malice
    the quality of threatening evil
    She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
    Remains in danger of her former tooth.
  13. jocund
    full of or showing high-spirited merriment
    There's comfort yet; they are assailable;
    Then be thou jocund.
  14. cloister
    seclude from the world
    Ere the bat hath flown
    His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons
    The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
  15. drowsy
    half asleep
    Ere the bat hath flown
    His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons
    The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
  16. timely
    done or happening at the appropriate moment
    Now spurs the lated traveller apace
    To gain the timely inn.
  17. mirth
    great merriment
    See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
    Both sides are even: here I'll sit i' the midst:
    Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure
    The table round.
  18. nonpareil
    eminent beyond or above comparison
    Thou art the best o' the cut-throats: yet he's good
    That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,
    Thou art the nonpareil.
  19. gash
    a wound made by cutting
    Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,
    With twenty trenched gashes on his head;
    The least a death to nature.
  20. health
    the general condition of body and mind
    Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
    And health on both!
  21. mischance
    an unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate
    Here had we now our country's honour roof'd,
    Were the graced person of our Banquo present;
    Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
    Than pity for mischance!
  22. gory
    covered with blood
    Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
    Thy gory locks at me.
  23. purge
    make pure or free from sin or guilt
    Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
    Ere human statute purged the gentle weal
  24. mockery
    a composition that imitates somebody's style
    Hence, horrible shadow!
    Unreal mockery, hence!
  25. augur
    a religious official who interpreted omens to guide policy
    Augurs and understood relations have
    By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood.
  26. riddle
    a difficult problem
    How did you dare
    To trade and traffic with Macbeth
    In riddles and affairs of death
  27. wayward
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    Which is worse, all you have done
    Hath been but for a wayward son,a
    Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
    Loves for his own ends, not for you.
  28. sleight
    adroitness in using the hands
    That distill'd by magic sleights
    Shall raise such artificial sprites
    As by the strength of their illusion
    Shall draw him on to his confusion
  29. tyrant
    a cruel and oppressive dictator
    But, peace! for from broad words and 'cause he fail'd
    His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear
    Macduff lives in disgrace:

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