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English Macbeth Study Notes

English Macbeth Study Notes

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Published by Emmah Peters

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Published by: Emmah Peters on Feb 23, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Taking Notes While Reading
Act 2
Section A: Key plot events
The witches first prophecy comes to fruition
Macbeth attempts to secure Banquo's loyalty in the face of his treason
Macbeth is greeted by the apparition of a dagger which “leads” him to Duncan
Macbeth hears a voice in his ear, it cries, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”
Lennox makes note of the horrible weather the night before as he speaks with the porter 
Macduff discovers Duncan's dead body, and raises the alarm.
Incongruously, (at least to the audience) Macduff tries to shield Lady Macbeth from the horriblesight of the bloody guards and Duncan's dead body.
Malcolm and Donalbain run away to protect themselves, suspicion then falls on them
Macbeth is named King and hies to Scone for his coronation
Section B: Personality Traits and Supporting Evidence
Trait: Perceptive and SuspiciousEvidence: Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven;Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers,Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that natureGives way to in repose! (2.1.5-11)Explanation: Banquo can feel that there is something wrong, he does not yet know what exactly but isagitated seemingly without cause.
Trait: Guilty Conscience, Unjustifiably AngryEvidence: Had I but died an hour before this chance,I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant,There 's nothing serious in mortality:All is but toys: renown and grace is dead;The wine of life is drawn, and the mere leesIs left this vault to brag of. (2.3.107-112)O, yet I do repent me of my fury,That I did kill them. (2.3.124-125)Explanation: Macbeth is the one who killed Duncan and yet now he is talking about how he wishes healso had died. I believe that Macbeth is now feeling the guilt that was absent before. He isalso angry enough to kill the two chamberlains as though he wishes to purge the guiltfrom himself by killing the perceived killers.
Lady Macbeth
Trait: Sly, Crafty, ActressEvidence: LADY MACBETHHelp me hence, ho! (2.3.138)BANQUOLook to the lady:And when we have our naked frailties hid,That suffer in exposure, let us meet,And question this most bloody piece of work,To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us:In the great hand of God I stand; and thenceAgainst the undivulged pretence I fightOf treasonous malice. (2.3.147-154)Explanation: Lady Macbeth seems to be the great mastermind behind the plan to kill Duncan and takethe crown, however now she seems to be devastated by a death in her household. I believethat she is acting to throw suspicion off of her husband.
Section C: Important Speeches and Dramatic Significance
Is this a dagger which I see before me,The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.Art thou not, fatal vision, sensibleTo feeling as to sight? or art thou butA dagger of the mind, a false creation,Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?I see thee yet, in form as palpableAs this which now I draw.Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;And such an instrument I was to use. (2.1.44-55)
To whom it is spoken:
Macbeth is speaking to himself 
Macbeth sees an apparition, it is a dagger not unlike the one he is to use to kill Duncan. Thedagger seems to be leading him to his destination.
 Dramatic Significance:
Macbeth uses a lot of imagery. To me this passage signifies Macbeth's growing paranoia, and apprehension with the deed he is about to commit.
 Yet I do fear thy nature;It is too full of the milk of human kindness (1.5.16-17)Only look up clear;To alter favour ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me. (1.6.84-86)
Lady Macbeth
To whom it is spoken:
First passage Lady Macbeth to herself. second passage Lady Macbeth toher husband.
First Passage, Lady Macbeth is reading the letter from her husband telling her of the witches prophecy told Macbeth's coming rise to power. (ascension of the throne)Second passage, Lady Macbeth is telling her husband not to worry about killing Duncan shewill take care of all of the details.
 Dramatic Significance:
Lady Macbeth is the more ruthless of the couple. Lady Macbeth has nocompunctions about killing Duncan, she feels the hunger for power so stronglythat she will do anything to get it.
I have given suck, and knowHow tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:I would, while it was smiling in my face,Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as youHave done to this. (1.7.62-67)
Lady Macbeth
To whom it is spoken:
Lady Macbeth to Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is telling her husband that she has no compunctions about killingDuncan, she would kill her own child if it would get her the power she is so thirsty for.
 Dramatic Significance:
Lady Macbeth starts to seem a little bit more unbalanced through thecourse of this passages, and if not quite unbalanced at least extremely bloodthirsty, after all she admitted that she would kill her own child after  breast feeding and making a connection. She only wishes for the power she would possess as wife to the King.
 No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceiveOur bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,And with his former title greet Macbeth.
Duncan (King)
To whom it is spoken:
To Ross and Angus (messengers)
Duncan has just been told of the Thane of Cawdor's duplicity, and his betrayal. Duncandecrees that the Thane of Cawdor is stripped of his title and said title should now be

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