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Macbeth Act II. Alexandra Gillespie, Kara McGee, Andrew Perricone, Victoria Price, and Kalev Rudolph. I. Scene I: Banquo and Fleance after midnight remark of bad dreams and "cursed thoughts" Macbeth enters, brief talk of weird sisters and Macbeth says he has not thought of them

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macbeth act ii

Macbeth Act II

Alexandra Gillespie, Kara McGee, Andrew Perricone,

Victoria Price, and Kalev Rudolph


Scene I:

Banquo and Fleance after midnight remark of bad dreams and "cursed thoughts"

Macbeth enters, brief talk of weird sisters and Macbeth says he has not thought of them

Banquo and Fleance exit, Macbeth hallucinates about a dagger, and decides it is just his mind playing tricks

He remarks about how dark the night is

Signal bell is rung and Macbeth goes to to do the deed


Foreshadowing - Banquo suspects something is wrong (2.1.7-11)

A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,

And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,

Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature

Gives way to in repose.


Banquo subtly expresses his suspicion by praising a clear conscience. (2.1.32-77)


If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,

It shall make honor for you.


So I lose none

In seeking to augment it, but still keep

My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,

I shall be counselled.

macbeth s dagger soliloquy
Macbeth's Dagger Soliloquy

Scene 2, Lines 42-73

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-oppressèdbrain?

I see thee yet, in form as palpable

As this which now I draw.

- Is this dagger real, or is it a figment of my imagination?

-Macbeth's uncertainty/anxiety begins to tamper with his sanity.

-this "fatal vision" taunts him of his duty.

fevered - His mind is weakening, yet the dagger seems as real as the one he is about to use.

macbeth s dagger soliloquy1
Macbeth's Dagger Soliloquy

-This dagger leads him to murder as his own sword does.

-Either my senses have distorted my eyesight, or it is the only sense I can trust.

-wooden handle

-blood motif

-The murder has brought this image to his imagination

-The dark of night will bring evil dreams that deceive Duncan's safe sleep.

- also a reference to Mac's "dreams" of taking the crown.

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' th' 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 half-world

Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse

The curtained sleep.

macbeth s dagger soliloquy2
Macbeth's Dagger Soliloquy

Witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate's offerings; and withered murder,

Alarumed 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.

-Allusion to a goddess of magic who performed human sacrifices.

-summoned to action

-Allusion to the Rape of Lucrece

-Let me proceed with stealth so I am not caught in the act

-even if I escape punishment now, I may be punished in the next life.

-The more I think of this, the more doubtful I become.

macbeth s dagger soliloquy3
Macbeth's Dagger Soliloquy

[A bell rings.]

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 brings him back from this trance and dispels his doubt.

-"Don't wake from the sound, Duncan, because it signals your death."

-ends with a couplet


Scene II:

Lady Macbeth imagines Duncan's murder

Macbeth enters covered in blood, remarking he heard the chamberlains praying before sleep and couldn't say "Amen"

Lady Macbeth notices the daggers, and plants them herself

Macbeth hears a strange knocking and begins to get highly upset

Lady Macbeth returns and says they must return to their chamber to wash themselves, and that all will be well


¨Scene begins with Lady Macbeth waiting for Macbeth

But it’s her plan

¨“Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done’t”(2.2.16-17)

Rehumanization of Lady Macbeth


¨Macbeth: “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?” (2.2.19-20)


¨Macbeth’s inability to pray

“One cried ‘God Bless Us!’ and ‘Amen’ the other, / As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands. / Listening their fear, I could not say ‘Amen,’ / When they did say ‘God bless us!’” (2.2.38-42)

“But wherefore could I not pronounce ‘Amen’? / I had most need of a blessing, and ‘Amen’ / Stuck in my throat” (2.2.44-46”)


¨Lady Macbeth: “These deeds must not be thought / After these ways; so, it will make us mad” (2.2.47-48).


¨The use of sleep

Macbeth: “Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! / Macbeth doth murder sleep’—the innocent sleep, / Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, / The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, / balm of hurt minds…” (2.2.49-53).


¨Macbeth still humanized, visibly upset over the murder

“I’ll go no more: / I am afraid to think what I have done; / Look on’t again I dare not” (2.2.66-68).

¨Lady M more attacks on manliness

“You do unbend your noble strength, to think / So brainsickly of things” (2.2.60-61).

“Infirm of purpose! / Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead / Are but as pictures: ‘tis the eye of childhood / That fears a painted devil” (2.2.69-72).

blood motif
Blood Motif

¨Lady Macbeth: “If [Duncan] do bleed, / I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, / For it must seem their guilt” (2.2.72-74).

¨Macbeth: “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” (2.2.78-81).

¨Lady Macbeth: “My hands are of your colour, but I shame / To wear a heart so white” (2.2.82-83).

Another manliness attack

¨Lady Macbeth: “A little water clears us of this deed” (2.2.85).


Contrasting mental states

Persistent knocking throughout the scene which we later learn is Macduff

Macbeth: “To know my deed, ‘twere best not know myself” (2.2.91)


Scene III:

The drunken porter enters to answer the knocking, serving as comic relief and juxtaposing the rising tension of the previous two scenes.

Macduff and Lennox are revealed as the source of the knocking and become increasingly frustrated with the porter as he rambles on about the effects of drinking

Macbeth enters and he and Macduff have a brief conversation about the King, Macbeth speaking in only short sentences, revealing his inner turmoil

Macduff asks to see the king and leaves Macbeth and Lennox alone, Lennox goes on about the horrible, almost unnatural, storm that accompanied them that night

Macduff returns after finding the body, and Lennox and Macbeth go to see

The entire court gathers, the daggers are found on the bodies of the chamberlains, Malcom and Donalbain flee and Lady Macbeth faints (seemingly to protect Macbeth from Macduff's prying)


Ross and an Old man talk of the strange supernatural occurrences that have begun happening since the death

The darkness during daytime

Owl kills a falcon

Cannibal Horses

Macduff joins the two men, musing that is seems the chamberlains are to blame for Duncan's death and they were most likely bribed into doing the job and that the most probable suspects are his two sons who have fled