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Macbeth Act II Notes
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Macbeth Act II Notes


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  • 1. Macbeth Act IIObjective:• To examine Macbeth’s state of mind immediately before and after murdering Duncan.• To recognize new complexities in the characterization of lady Macbeth.
  • 2.  Do you think Macbeth did the right thing, or did he act too quickly? In your response, factor in such consequences as we have seen already (voices, hallucinations, guilt). You must provide support from the text for your opinions.Do Now
  • 3.  Banquo and Fleance aretalking just before they goto bed. Banquois uneasy andcannot sleep.
  • 4.  Macbeth enters and Banquo tells them that Duncan is happy being at Macbeth’s castle. Macbeth responds that if he had more notice of the King’s stay, the preparations would have been larger.
  • 5.  Banquosays he dreamt theprevious night of the threeWeird sisters. Macbeth and Banquo agreeto discuss the propheciesat a later date.
  • 6.  Macbeth’s Soliloquy When he is left alone, Macbeth imagines a dagger which is leading him towards Duncan“Is this a dagger I see beforeme / The handle floatingtowards my hand” (Macbeth).
  • 7.  Suddenly a bell rings which is a prearranged signal from Lady Macbeth that Duncan’s servants are asleep and Macbeth can carry out the murder.
  • 8.  Lady Macbeth is waiting for Macbeth to murder Duncan and return to her. She is very tense. She admits that she was unable to kill Duncan because he looked too much like her father.Scene ii
  • 9.  Forthe first time, Lady Macbeth is showing a little weakness.
  • 10.  Macbeth returns and describes the sounds he heard. He imagined he heard people praying and warning that “Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
  • 11.  Macbethhas brought the daggers back with him. LadyMacbeth has to take them back to the sleeping guards.
  • 12.  She returns and tells Macbeth a little water will clear them of the deed. What does Macbeth say about the possibility of water washing away the blood?
  • 13.  Shakespeare does not stage the murder itself. What are some possible reasons for making it an un-played scene?
  • 14.  Closing Activity: Examine scene 2 for ways dialogue, silence, and sound effects make the murder seem very immediate.
  • 15.  Objective: To recognize the macabre humor in the porter scene. To examine public events immediately after the murder of Duncan.
  • 16.  Macbeth – p. 71 (lines 26-43) / p.73 (lines 57-63) Porter Speech – p. 75 (lines 1-18) Lennox – p. 79 (lines 53-60) / Ross - p. 89 (lines 4-20) Macbeth – p.83 (lines 98-103) / p.85 (lines 119-129)Key Passages – Choose 2 for close analysis
  • 17.  Thecastle is awakened from drunken sleep by the knocking at the castle gates.Scene iii
  • 18.  Whilethe porter moves to the gate, he pretends to be the porter of the gates of hell. The analogy of hell and Inverness becomes even stronger throughout the play. Guests are warned they are putting themselves in the hands of the devil.
  • 19.  Eventually he opens the gate to Macduff and Lennox, who have been asked by Duncan to awaken him early. Macbeth enters coming to investigate who has been knocking.Macbeth becomes the center ofthe play as Lady Macbeth retreats.
  • 20.  Macduffgoes to Duncan’s chamber while Lennox describes the unnatural disturbances of the night. “The night has been unruly … the earth was feverous and did shake” (Lennox, scene iii, lines 46-53)
  • 21.  Macduff returns announcing that Duncan has been murdered. “Had I but died an hour before this chance … All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead” (Macbeth, lines 83 – 86)“Innocent Flower”
  • 22.  Macbethand Lennox go to view the murder. When they return Macbeth reveals he has killed the guards. On hearing this Lady Macbeth faints.
  • 23.  Malcolmand Donalbain leave the country for fear they will be murdered next. Malcolm goes to England Donalbain to IrelandDuncan’s sons flee
  • 24.  DivineRight of Kings(refer to handout)THEMES
  • 25.  Identify the dramatic irony of MacDuff’s statement to Lady MacBeth in lines 78-80. Explain the verbal irony of Lady MacBeth in line 82.Do Now – p.80
  • 26.  Beezlebub = Devil Obscure bird = Owl Gorgons – The three Gorgons of Greek mythology were hideous sisters with hair of snakes. Anyone who looked at them turned to stone.DEFINITIONS
  • 27.  Macduff – Notice his loyalty and his belief in the divine right of kings LadyMacbeth – Maintains her composure and faints, to take the heat off of MacbethCHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS
  • 28.  Ross,a thane, walks outside the castle with an old man. Theydiscuss the strange and ominous happenings of the past few days It is daytime, but dark outsideScene 4
  • 29.  LastTuesday, an owl killed a falcon And Duncan’s beautiful, well- trained horses, behaved wildly and ate one anotherImagery of Animals
  • 30.  Thestorms that accompany the witches’ appearances, the death of Duncan, and Macbeth’s coronation are more than mere atmospheric disturbances.
  • 31.  Terrible supernatural occurrences often betoken wicked behavior on the part of the characters“Thou seest the heavens, as troubledwith man’s act, / Threatens his bloodystage” (Ross, line 5)
  • 32.  Interestingly, Shakespeare does not show us the scene in which Macbeth is made king. Thenews is conveyed secondhand through the characters of Ross, Macduff, and the old man.
  • 33.  When Malcolm asks about his father’s killer, Lennox replies, “Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done’t.” Suspicion is raised
  • 34.  Macduff asks Macbeth why he killed the chamberlains, and later expresses his suspicion to Ross and the old man.
  • 35.  Macduff’sdecision to return back home to Fife rather than travel to Scone to see Macbeth’s coronation is an open display of opposition.
  • 36.  The play establishes Macduff as Macbeth’s eventual nemesis