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Macbeth Act 2, scenes 1 and 2

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(Act 2, scenes 1 and 2) In Act 2 Banquo is found with his son Fleance, in the courtyard of Macbeth's castle at "witching hour". The night is cold and dark, with fog surrounding the castles boundaries. Banquo is becoming nervous and this is evident from what he says to his son, Fleance, "Hold, take my sword. - There's husbandry in heaven, Their candles are all out. - Take thee that too." Even though it is obvious he would like to rest, he is fearful of nightmares whilst he sleeps, the following quote suggests this, "A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet I would not sleep; merciful powers, Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in response." As Banquo was patrolling the area he hears a noise, "Who's there?" startled and scared at this he says to Fleance, "Give me my sword." Banquo is tired and is trying to maintain full alert, showing he is on edge; listening out for any anything and everything that might occur. As Macbeth steps out of the dark, slightly visible by Banquo, Macbeth replies: "A friend" Banquo feels relieved as he can now put his mind at rest, because he has seen a friendly face at such time of night and hostile surroundings. ...read more.


It is clear from, "Is this a dagger that I see before me, The handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: I have thee not, and yet I see thee still," that Macbeth is hallucinating. However, during the build up to the murder Macbeth continues to be drawn by the image of the dagger to Duncan's room. "I see thee still and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before." From this we are informed that Macbeth has now imagined Duncan's blood on the dagger, but this does not put Macbeth off as we see from when the bell is rung, which was a sign from Lady Macbeth that the coast was clear. Macbeth does not hesitate as he confidently says, "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. Yet earlier, in Act 1 scene 7 we see that Macbeth had doubts about murdering Duncan as he thinks, "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly. ...read more.


Macbeth is so tortured in his mind that he imagines he hears a voice cry "sleep no more". He feels he will be punished for killing a defenceless man and in return he will be deprived of sleep. He refuses to go back into Duncan's chamber because the sin he has performed is so great he cannot face up to it again, we learn this from, "I'll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done, look on't again, I dare not." The following quotes also confirm his guilt, "To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself." Which seems to suggest that he would like to disown himself, and "Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst" implies that Macbeth wishes that Duncan would wake up at the sound of the noises Macbeth hears. Lady Macbeth is not able to fight off Macbeth's mood swings and conscience. She is trying to be positive and tries to have an optimistic answer for all his negative comments. We see this many times, one example is after Macbeth has killed Duncan he says, "This is a sorry sight", but his wife replies "A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight." Act 2 ends with Macbeth continuing to feel guilty and on edge with every noise he hears. ...read more.

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