27th March 2018

Act 2 Summary

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 1 Summary

Characters: Banquo, Fleance, Macbeth

Location: Macbeth’s castle

Time: Moonless, starless night after midnight.

Events: Banquo and Fleance meet Macbeth late at night, they wish each other a good night since neither can sleep and Macbeth talks about his intents. (Floating dagger – real or in his head)

Quotes: “There’s husbandry in heaven; their candles are all out” (Heaven is busy, there are no stars) – Banquo

Before in the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth talk about the stars ‘hiding their fires’ and the darkness covering their evil intents and hiding them from heaven.

Quote: “A dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?” (Is it a figment of my mind, an image of something that is not there coming from a feverish brain?) – Macbeth

Macbeth is then alone, he talks about seeing a dagger he cannot hold. It could be a vision telling him to carry on with his plan to kill Duncan. He does not know if it is real or not. Throughout the play, there have a few times that Macbeth’s imagination or mental state has affected what he sees and believed. One contradiction to this is that Banquo also saw the witches. 

Quote:”I go, and it is done: the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell.” (The bell is encouraging me on, do not hear it, Duncan, for it is a funeral bell that will summon you to heaven or to hell) – Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 2 Summary

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth

Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle.

Time: After Duncan has been killed.

Events: Lady Macbeth is afraid that the servants woke and that their plans are ruined. Then Macbeth comes and says that he did the deed and talks about how the servants woke up and said a few things then went back to sleep. Macbeth says how he can’t believe what he has just done and Lady Macbeth tells him that he shouldn’t be scared of what he had seen and done.

Quote: “It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it.” (That was the owl that shrieked like a bell before an execution a scary good-night. Macbeth must be doing the deed now.) – Lady Macbeth

Throughout the play, there have been many sounds that are then talked about in the characters speech. These include the sounds of birds (owl – night), (raven – messenger of death) and bells (both execution and funeral).

Quote: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red.” (I have so much blood on my hands that not even the sea can clean it, if I were, I would turn the sea red) – Macbeth

Quote: “My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white.” (I have blood on my hands too, but my heart is not white, the colour of cowardice as yours is). -Lady Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Porter, Macduff, Lenox, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Malcolm, Donalbain.

Location: A courtyard in Macbeth’s castle.

Time: Morning after Duncan has been killed.

Events: Macduff enters the castle, needing to speak with the king. He finds him dead and everyone in the castle is shocked (most anyway). Lady Macbeth and Macbeth pretend to not know anything. The guards are found covered in blood and with the murder weapon. Macbeth goes to kill them before they wake up. Malcolm and Donalbain are suspicious and plan to leave knowing whoever did it was probably not finished with his job just yet.

Quotes: “The night has been unruly: where we lay, our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say, lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death, and prophesying with accents terrible of dire combustion, and confused events, new hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird clamoured the livelong night: some say the earth was feverous and did shake.” (The night was stormy, and the wind blew down our chimneys. Some say they heard cries of misery and strange screams of death and voices prophesying bad events that will start a woeful age. The owl  hooted all night and some say the earth shook as if it had a fever.) – Lenox

Lenox talks about what happened during the night that Duncan was killed. He mentioned the call of a bird yet again, the owl (bird of darkness). He also talked about strange screams and predictions that could be lead back to the witches, who started prophesying about bad things. He also talks about how the earth shook, and before Banquo and Macbeth talked about the witches disappearing into the earth and could link to what Lenox is talking about. 

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 4 Summary

Characters: Old man, Rosse, Macduff

Location: Outside the castle.

Time: Not sure.

Events: Rosse and Old Man talk about the evil deed and what other strange things happened around that time. Macduff comes and says that it was the servants that killed the king and were paid to do it. He says that the kings two sons Malcolm and Donalbain have fled and are under suspicion. They say that Macbeth is now going to be crowned king and is on his way to it now.

Quotes: “Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, threatens his bloody stage: by the clock ‘t is day, and yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp. Is ‘t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame, that darkness does the face of earth entomb, when living light should kiss it?” (The heavens are disturbed by men’s deeds and are now threatening the earth with storms. The clock says its daytime but the dark night is strangling the sun. Is it the superior power of the night or the day hiding its face in shame, that darkness covers the earth when it is supposed to be light?) – Rosse

Rosse and the old man are talking about unnatural things that have been happening. This links with what Lenox said in the scene before.  He talks about how the darkness has overtaken the day/light and they do not know why. 

Quote: “Lest our old robes sit easier than our new.”(Old clothes are more comfortable than new ones) – Macduff

Macduff is saying that Duncan’s rule might have been easier to live under than Macbeth’s new one.



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