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Module 1: Macbeth Act Two

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Act two, scene two

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English - Act two, scene two

Act two, scene two

_ Until this scene Lady Macbeth has appeared very confident and ambitious.
However, she becomes increasingly obsessed with power and to use Malcolm's
words at the end of the play she appeared 'fiend-like' in her desire to
become queen_

Lady Macbeth has been the one to persuade her husband to go through with
the act, indeed she planned and staged the whole affair. However, in this
scene we see her conscience come to light. Lady Macbeth soliloquises while
Macbeth commits the murder and in this soliloquy she is nervous and
anxious, easily startled by any noise. She hears a cry from the room and
thinks that Macbeth has been unsuccessful, that the grooms have awakened.
This fear is put to rest when Macbeth enters and tells her that the deed is
done.

Macbeth is obviously very disturbed, telling Lady Macbeth that he thought
he heard someone pray and when he tried to say 'Amen' he couldn't. This
suggests that in committing this crime Macbeth has distanced himself from
God. Remember that a sin of treachery against the King was considered a sin
against God.

Next, Macbeth tells his wife that he thought he heard someone cry
'MACBETH DO MURDER SLEEP' and as he continues to talk about this his guilt
is obviously worrying him.

At Macbeth's apparent ill-ease Lady Macbeth is forced to pull her herself
together and be strong for her husband. She tells Macbeth that if they
continue to think like this then they will go mad. When she notices that he
has brought the daggers with him she orders him to return but Macbeth
refuses to look on his crime again and she is forced to return the daggers
herself. When she returns, Macbeth is still unable to do anything, his
shock and guilt too great. She urges him to wash his hands and get into bed
when they hear a knocking.

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