Act 2- Scene Summaries


Scene 1:

Present: Banquo, Fleance, Macbeth

Banquo and Fleance are awake at night, as is Macbeth. Banquo cannot sleep because he dreams of the witches, but Macbeth is quick to tell him he hasn’t thought anything of them and they aren’t serious, they wish goodnight.

Macbeth is alone and he ‘sees’ an imaginary dagger, coming toward him.

Quote: “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 still see thee still….. A dagger of the mind”.   

Macbeth is seeing this dagger that represents killing Duncan,  but he cannot touch it, therefore it is in his mind. If this is true, Macbeth has let his mind convince him he must kill Duncan, but it is just him hallucinating. He could be hallucinating seeing the witches BUT Banquo also witnessed the witches so the witches must be real. Macbeth’s mental state is affecting what he sees or doesn’t see ( this will happen later on in the play too).

Scene 2:

Location: In a room in the castle

Characters: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth

What happened:

Macbeth comes back from murdering Duncan and is shaken because he heard a voice talking to him, and he brought the daggers back instead of leaving them at the scene. Lady Macbeth is angry he won’t take them back so she will do it herself. Macbeth is feeling regretful and disgusted with his actions ” He says “Wake Duncan with thy knocking; I would thou couldst!”. He wishes that the knocking would wake Duncan as if he is asleep, even though he just killed him.

Quote:   ‘Methought I heard a voice cry, “sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”, ……

 “Sleep no more!” to all the house: “Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor/ Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!”

This quote is adding to the development of Macbeth’s possible mental instability because it is a similar situation to when Macbeth “saw” a dagger reaching to him, but now he is “hearing” a voice saying he will not sleep due to his heinous actions.

Scene 3:

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

What happened:   The porter is drunk and hears knocking at the gates. He opens the gates for Macduff and Lenox and speaks of the effects of drunkenness. Macduff asks if the King has woken yet. Macbeth enters and acts the innocent part,  when Macduff goes to wake the King he sees him dead and the guards covered in blood with the daggers on their pillows. There is chaos and everyone is distraught. Macbeth acts like everyone else, except he kills the guards in his rage for ‘murdering’ the King. He also says life isn’t worth living if the King is dead, the wine of life poured out. Lady Macbeth faints, and they all go their separate ways, to then meet again in the corridor and decide what to do.

Malcolm and Donalbain make plans to leave early because they suspect that their closest relatives are the murderers, not the guards.


   Macbeth:  ‘Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had but lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, There’s nothing serious in mortality; All is but toys: renown, and grace, is dead; The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this  vault to brag of’.

Macbeth: ‘O! yet I do repent me of my fury, That I did kill them’

Donalbain and Malcolm:  ‘To Ireland, I: our separated fortune, Shall keep us both the safer; where we are, There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the near in blood, The nearer the bloody’ ‘This murderous shaft that’s shot hath not yet lighted’

Donalbain and Malcolm think that the people who appear friendly are dangerous and the murderous arrow has not hit its target ( more evil is yet to come, most likely to Malcolm and Donalbain, the sons of the now dead king.)

Scene 4:

Characters: Old man, Rosse, Macduff

Location: Outside the castle

What happened:  The old man and Rosse talk about the supernatural events that occurred following King Duncan’s murder. A falcon killed an owl, and Duncan’s horses turned crazy, and they ate each other. Macduff enters the scene and he says that Malcolm and Donalbain have fled, making them suspicious of the murder,  they think they bribed the guards to kill Duncan.  Macduff leaves for Fife and says that Macbeth has been chosen to be King and he travels to Scone, a sacred place where Kings are crowned, Duncan’s body was taken to Colme-kill.


Macduff: ‘They were suborned/ Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons, Are stol’n away and fled; which p[uts upon them /Suspicion of the deed.’ 

Rosse:  ‘Gainst nature still: Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up/ Thine own life’s means!-Then t’is most like /The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth’

The importance of Rosse’s quote is the line ‘thriftless ambition’.  It means that the deed is profitless of the Kings sons (who didn’t actually do it )because they have destroyed the system that could have crowned them.

Ambition is a recurring idea in the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition to gain the crown has made them commit treason.

Macbeth will now be King because no one suspects him asa murderer and the town songs are in hiding.  The only person that shoudle expect Macbeth is Banquo, because he knows of the witches prophecies for Macbeth.  I suspect Banquo will be murdered to keep quiet.







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