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Macbeth Act 2 Examination Of Lm

7675 words - 31 pages

English Examination Preparation for Summer 2013Macbeth Act 2 Summary and AnalysisSummariesAct 2, Scene 1Banquo, 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 rings-a signal from Lady Macbeth-and he sets off toward Duncan's room.Act 2, Scene 2Lady 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 Macbeth's 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 Duncan's 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 Neptune's 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 3In 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...

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