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Summary and Analysis of Act 2 Act 2, Scene 1

Banquo, who has come to Inverness with Duncan, wrestles with the witches' prophecy. He must restrain himself the cursed thoughts that tempt him in his dreams (II i 8). When Banquo raises the topic of the prophecy as Macbeth enters the scene, Macbeth pretends that he has given little thought to the witches' prophesy. After Banquo and his son Fleance leave the scene, Macbeth imagines that he sees a bloody dagger pointing toward Duncan's chamber. Frightened by the apparition of a "dagger of the mind," he prays that the earth will "hear not [his] steps" as he completes his bloody plan (38, 57). The bell ringsa signal from Lady Macbethand he sets off toward Duncan's room.

Act 2, Scene 2
Lady Macbeth waits fitfully for Macbeth to return from killing Duncan. Upon hearing a noise within, she worries that the bodyguards have awakened before Macbeth has had a chance to plant the evidence on them. Macbeth enters, still carrying the bloody daggers with which he killed Duncan. He is deeply shaken: as he entered Duncan's chamber, he heard the bodyguards praying and could not say "Amen" when they finished their prayers. Lady Macbeths counsels to think "after these ways as it will make [them] mad" (32). Nonetheless, Macbeth also tells her that he also thought he heard a voice saying, "sleep no more, / Macbeth does murder sleep. . . Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor / Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more" (33-41). Lady Macbeth again warns him not to think of such "brain-sickly of things" and tells him to wash the blood from his hands (44). Seeing the daggers he carries, she chastises him for bringing them in and tells him to plant them on the bodyguards according to the plan. When Macbeth, still horrified by the crime he has just committed, refuses to reenter Duncans chamber, Lady Macbeth herself brings the daggers back in. While she is gone, Macbeth hears a knocking and imagines that he sees hands plucking at his eyes. He is guilt-stricken and mourns: Will all great Neptunes ocean wash this blood / clean from my hand? (58-59)? When Lady Macbeth hears his words upon reentering, she states that her hands are of the same color but her heart remains shamelessly unstained. A little water, she continues, will clear [them] of th[e] deed (65). As the knocking persists, the two retire to put on their nightgowns so as not to arouse suspicion when others arrive.

Act 2, Scene 3
In a scene of comic relief, the Porter hears knocking at the gate and imagines that he is the porter at the door to Hell. He imagines admitting a farmer who has committed suicide after a bad harvest, an "equivocator" who has committed a sin by swearing to half-truths, and an English tailor who stole cloth to make fashionable clothes and visited brothels. Since it is "too cold for hell" at the gate, he opens the door instead of continuing with a longer catalogue of sinners (16). Outside stand Macduff and Lennox, who scold him for taking so long to respond to their knowcking.

The Porter claims that he was tired after drinking until late and delivers a short sermon on the ills of drink. Macbeth enters and Macduff asks him whether the king is awake yet. On hearing that the king is still asleep, Macduff leaves to wake him. While he is gone, Lennox tells Macbeth that the weather by night was full of strange events: chimneys were blown down, birds screeched all night, the earth shook, and ghostly voices were heard prophesying ominously. A stunned Macduff returns with the news that the king is dead. He tells them to go see for themselves and calls to the servants to ring the alarm bell. Lady Macbeth and Banquo enter and Macduff informs them of the king's death. Macbeth and Lennox return and Macbeth laments the king's death, proclaiming that he wishes he were dead instead of the king. When Malcolm and Donalbain arrive, Lennox blames the regicide on the guards by pointing to the incriminating bloody evidence. Macbeth states that he has already killed the bodyguards in a griefstricken rage. At this point, Lady Macbeth feigns shock and faints. Aside, Malcolm and Donalbain confer and decide that their lives may be at risk and that they should flee Scotland. As Lady Macbeth is being helped off-stage, Banquo counsels the others to convene and discuss the murder at hand. Left behind on stage, Malcolm decides that he will flee to England while Donalbain will go to Ireland.

Act 2, Scene 4

Ross and an old man discuss the unnatural events that have taken place recently: days are as dark as nights, owls hunt falcons, and Duncan's horses have gone mad and eaten each other. When Macduff enters, Ross asks whether the culprit has been discovered. Macduff tells him that the bodyguards killed the king. The hasty flight on the part of Malcolm and Donalbain, however, has also cast suspicion on the two sons as well. Ross comments that Macbeth will surely be named the next king, to which Macduff responds that he has already been named and has gone to Scone to be crowned. Ross leaves for Scone to see the coronation while Macduff heads home to Fife. DEVICES 1. Character foil A foil is a character who provides a contrast to another character, thus intensifying the impact of that other character. In "Macbeth" Banquo and Macduff are foils for the ambitious and tyrannical Macbeth. In Act 2 Mcduff is a character foil to Macbeth. Macduff expresses suspicion of Macbeth's ascension to the throne. In Act II, scene iv, he tells Ross that he will not attend the coronation:
No, cousin, I'll to Fife [his castle]...may you see things well done there./Adieu, Lest our old robes sit easier than our new! (ll.36-39)

And, unlike the murderous Macbeth, who has killed Macduff's family, Macduff seeks vengeance only if he can "feel it like a man"; he refuses to strike down Macbeth's forces, only slaying Macbeth himself that Malcolm's heir may become king:
O, I could play the woman with mine eyes [like Macbeth]And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,/Cut short all intermission; front to front/Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;/Within my sword's length set him. If he 'scape,/Heaven forgive him too! (ll.230-236)

2. Asides An aside is a dramatic device in which a character speaks to the audience. By convention the audience is to realize that the character's speech is unheard by the other characters on stage. It may be addressed to the audience expressly (in character or out) or represent an unspoken thought. An aside is usually a brief comment, rather than a speech, such as a monologue or soliloquy. Unlike a public announcement, it occurs within the context of the play.
MALCOLM - [Aside to DONALBAIN] Why do we hold our tongues, That most may claim this argument for ours? DONALBAIN - [Aside to MALCOLM] What should be spoken here, where our fate, Hid in an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us? Let 's away; Our tears are not yet brew'd. MALCOLM - [Aside to DONALBAIN] Nor our strong sorrow Upon the foot of motion.

3. Soliloquies A soliloquy is a literary device often used in drama whereby a character relates his or her thoughts without addressing any of the other characters.[1] Soliloquy is distinct from monologue and aside.To "soliloquize" can mean to recite a soliloquy or to talk to oneself.Soliloquys are similar to a monologue; where and when an actor is talking about something to no-one in particular.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going; And such an instrument I was to use. Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still, And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,

Which was not so before. There's no such thing: It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace. With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth, Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives: Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

4. Dialogue Blank Verse unrhymed iambic pentameter invented during English Renaissance to reflect natural speech. Iambic pentameter is a term describing a line of verse with five units (or feet) of iambic meter. This kind of meter contains one unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable as in the word "award," where the accent is on the second syllable. Shakespeare's plays are written in unrhymed iambic pentameter, which is called blank verse. In Act 2, here's an example: Lady Macbeth says to Macbeth after Duncan's murder: "And wash this filthy witness from your hand." When we divide the verse into iambic feet, the line looks like this: And wash | this fil|thy wit|ness from |your hand You can see five feet of iambic meter; each foot has one unaccented syllable followed by an accented one. For interest Shakespeare varies his meter, using trochaic foot which accents the first syllable of the word as in Amen and anapestic foot which has the first 2 syllables unaccented and the last with the emphasis. Shakespeare also uses Prose which is when it is not divided into lines and it doesnt have a definite rhythm. This is often done as comic relief for the lower ranking characters as is seen with the porters speech at the beginning of scene 3.

5. Scene designs

Act 2 - Scene 1 Inverness Court of Macbeths Castle Outside dark after the moon is down at 12
BANQUO - How goes the night, boy? FLEANCE - The moon is down; I have not heard the clock. BANQUO - And she goes down at twelve.

Scene 2 Macbeths castle Inside nighttime Dark - talking of what they heard as the murder took place
MACBETH - I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? LADY MACBETH - I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak? MACBETH - When? LADY MACBETH - Now. MACBETH - As I descended? LADY MACBETH - Ay. MACBETH - Hark! Who lies i' the second chamber? LADY MACBETH - Donalbain. MACBETH - This is a sorry sight. (Looking on his hands) LADY MACBETH - A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. MACBETH - There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried 'Murder!' That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them: But they did say their prayers, and address'd them Again to sleep. LADY MACBETH - There are two lodged together.

Scene 3 Macbeths Castle Early morning Macduffs knocking wakes the porter
MACDUFF - Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed, That you do lie so late? PORTER - 'Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock: and drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

Scene 4 Outside Macbeths castle Day time but its dark

ROSS - Ah, good father, Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act, Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, 'tis 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? Old Man - 'Tis unnatural, Even like the deed that's done.