Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Act 2

Scene 1 Court of Macbeth’s castle.

Enter Banquo, and Fleance

Banquo asks how the night has gone, they discus how Banquo feels unrest this night.

Enter Macbeth and a servant

Banquo draws his sword and shouts who’s there? Macbeth answers, a friend. Banquo asks why Macbeth is not yet in bed since the king is. He tells of how the king is glad to be in Macbeth’s house.

They discuss Banquo’s dream the night before about the weird sisters. Macbeth lies that he has not thought of them since the night they appeared. They talk of having a conversation about it at some point.

Banquo and Fleance leave. Macbeth tells his servant to go tell his mistress that when his drink is ready she should ring the bell, and then to go to bed himself.

Macbeth begins hallucinating a dagger. Is this a dagger that I see with the handle toward me? Let me grab it, I don’t have you, but I still see you. Are you as real as I see you to be? Or are you a dagger of the mind, a false image coming from my wracked mind? I still see you looking as real as the one that I now draw (pulls dagger) you show me the way I am going and like you, I am a tool to use. My eyes are just fools of the other senses, or else keener than the rest. I still see you, on your blade is lots of blood where there was not any before. There is no such thing. It is the bloody business that I am involved in that makes it seem this way to my eyes. Now over the world all of nature seems dead and evil dreams won’t let me sleep. Witchcraft celebrates the wicked offerings and where there will be murder, the wolf, alarmed by his watcher, howls his watchthis way with a sneaky stride. You sure and firm earth, don’t hear my steps, which way I walk, because I am afraid your very stones will tell where I am. And take the horror away from me. While I talk, he still lives.

The bell rings and Macbeth says now I will go and it will be done, Don’t hear me Duncan because it will be like the bell that summons you, to heaven, or to hell.


Scene 2

Enter Lady Macbeth

She asks the powers that be to use the wine that made the men drunk to make her powerful, she startles at an owl, she likens him to a ‘fatal bellman’ the one who will take the souls of the slain away to their fates. She scoffs the watchmen who are asleep instead of watching their king as they should be.

Macbeth inside the room calls ‘who’s there?’

Lady Macbeth hears him and says that she is afraid that they are awake and the deed is not done. The attempt unfinished will be their undoing. She tells herself that she laid their daggers where he could not miss them. She says that if only Duncan had not resembled her father, she would have killed him herself.

Enter Macbeth

He relays to his wife what happened. That he had done it. he comments that the blood on his hands is a sad sight and Lady Macbeth tells him it is not only sad but stupid. Macbeth tells his wife that one of them spoke ‘murder!’ in his sleep, and woke the other up, but they said their prayers and fell back asleep. He said that one of them had called ‘God bless us’ and the other said ‘Amen’ but he himself could not say Amen, the words just stuck in his throat. His wife tells him not to think about it. But he cannot help it, Why couldn’t he say amen? When he needed the blessing the most the words would not come out of his mouth.

Lady Macbeth tells her husband not to think about it that way, because that is what makes men go crazy after such deeds.

Macbeth says he thought he heard a voice call, Do not sleep! Macbeth does Murder! Sleep no more Cawdor! Macbeth will sleep no more!

Lady Macbeth tries to discern who said this, Why do you doubt your noble actions? Why do you think on these sick things? Go get water and wash the blood from your hands. Why did you bring the daggers from the room?! They must stay there! Go take them and rub the blood on the watchmen.

Macbeth says that he will not, the thought of seeing their bloody bodies makes him sick. Lady Macbeth then says give me the daggers, he sleeping and the dead are both just like pictures. Only children fear a picture of evil. She says she will paint the faces of the guards with blood because it has to seem like it was their fault.

There comes a knocking

Macbeth groans that every little noise seems so loud to his ears. He says that all of the ocean will not wash clean the blood from his hands.

Re-enter Lady Macbeth

She tells her husband that her hands now match his, but she feels ashamed because she did not commit the deed.

There comes a knocking again

Lady Macbeth chastises her husband for being so distracted and lost in thought.

They go to get on their nightgowns and answer the door.

Scene 3

Scene 3 continues where Scene 2 left off.

A voice calls out a eerie script to the knocking. He speaks as the devil in riddle.

The gate opens and Macduff and Lennox enter

Macduff asks Macbeth why he slept in so late to which Porter responds we were drinking all night. They talk a while about drinking. Then Macduff asks about Macbeth.

Enter Macbeth

They converse a bit and Macduff asks to see the king and Macbeth shows him the door.

Lennox and Macbeth converse while Macduff goes into the king’s chamber. Macduff exits the room and tells all of the horrific things that he has seen there. The king lays bloody and dead. Macbeth raises the Alarm bell which awakens lady Macbeth.

She asks after the noise so early in the morning and is told of the goings on.

Enter Banquo, and he is told of the goings on, to which he is shocked and afraid.

Enter Malcolm and Donalbain Malcolm asks what is wrong and is told his father is dead Malcolm and Donalbain speak of leaving the country Lady Macbeth faints and is carried out.

Scene 4

Outside the castle Enter Ross and Old man

These two talk of the former nights events. They say that as Duncan was murdered that his horses ate each other.

Enter Macduff

They talk of Macbeth having killed the king and the kings sons then ran away.They then talk about where they will go.

William Shakespeare