Act 2 Scene 1

Characters: Banquo, Fleance (Banquo’s son), Macbeth, Servant.

Location: The court of Macbeth’s castle.

Time: After midnight, the moon has gone down.

Events: Fleance and Banquo stand in the court of Macbeth’s castle when Macbeth enters. Banquo tells Macbeth that King Duncan is very satisfied with his visit and plans to give Lady Macbeth a diamond. He also states that he had a dream about the “three weird sisters” (three witches) and how he understands that their predictions have been accurate for Macbeth, so far. Macbeth acts as if he hasn’t thought about the witches that much (a lie obvious for the audience) but he says he wants to discuss the witches prophecies with Banquo. When Fleance and Banquo head to rest Macbeth sits alone in his thoughts. He claims he can see a dagger in the air in front of him, but it seems to just be an illusion in his mind. He wonders why he can’t feel it and why he can only see it; is it a “dagger of the mind, a false creation?” Deep in thoughts, Macbeth hears a bell; Lady Macbeth’s indication that the servants and the guests are asleep and the coast is clear. With confidence, he heads to Duncan’s bedroom to go through with the murder.

Quote: “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” (Macbeth, to himself.)


Act 2, Scene 2 

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth.

Location: The court of Macbeth’s castle.

Time: Shortly after Duncan’s murder, still night time.

Events: Lady Macbeth has got the servants drunk and asleep whilst Macbeth has gone through with the murder of king Duncan. He meets Lady Macbeth in the court, his hands covered in blood, holding the daggers he used to kill the king. Whilst Lady Macbeth feels relieved and pleased that the procedure has so far gone to plan and arranges to frame the servants by covering them in Duncan’s blood, Macbeth is devastated; filled with remorse, as he suffers from the loss of his humanity and virtue. Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth’s sense of regret for the murder is foolish, she brushes it aside and focuses on not getting caught.

Quote: “My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white.”  Lady Macbeth to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth means that she is equally as guilty as Macbeth (her hands are also red from blood) but she would be ashamed to have a weak heart like Macbeth’s.


Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

Characters: Porter, Macduff, Lennox, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, Malcolm, Donalbain.

Location: The court of Macbeth’s castle.

Time: Morning of Duncan’s murder.

Events: A drunk porter opens the door to Lennox and Macduff who have arrived at the castle to collect Duncan. As Macduff goes to find the king, Lennox describes his horrible experiences from the night to Macbeth: he claims that “the night has been unruly” and that he heard “strange screams of death.” Macbeth subtly agrees, acting like he also  wondering why the night had been so rough; however it is obvious to the audience that he is very aware why. Macduff enters with the news of Duncan’s death and the account gathers the entire castle. Lennox soon discovers that the guards are responsible for the crime as bloody daggers lay on their pillows. Macbeth then confesses that he killed the guards. He states it was out of pure anger, but in reality, the true reason was to ensure that the guards had no way to defend themselves. Donalbain and Malcolm make the decision to leave Scotland as they believe that it is to danger awaits them, they go separate ways, Malcolm to England and Donalbain to Ireland. As Malcolm leaves Scotland, Macbeth will be led straight to the throne.

Quote: “O gentle lady, ‘tis not for you to hear what I can speak: the reputation, in a woman’s ear, would murder as is fell.” This quote is significant as Macduff believes that the news of Duncan’s murder is too harsh for a female ear. The quote represents irony as Lady Macbeth, a woman, is the mastermind behind Duncan’s murder.


Act 2, Scene 4 Summary

Characters: Rosse, Old Man, Macduff.

Location: Outside Macbeth’s castle.

Time: The morning of Duncan’s murder.

Events: An old man tells Rosse how in all his years, he has never witnessed a night so horrific like the last, and since the murder of the king, matters have been anything but the way the should. Macduff enters, joining the conversation: he believes that Malcolm and Donalbain are prime suspects as they left Scotland in such a rush.

Quote: “That darkness does the face of the Earth entomb when living light should kiss it?” Rosse. This quote highlights pathetic fallacy and the belief in a connection between nature and human events.




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