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Taking Notes While Reading Macbeth

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 horrible
sight 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 Suspicious
Evidence: 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 nature
Gives 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 is
agitated seemingly without cause.

Trait: Guilty Conscience, Unjustifiably Angry
Evidence: 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 lees
Is 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 he
also had died. I believe that Macbeth is now feeling the guilt that was absent before. He is
also angry enough to kill the two chamberlains as though he wishes to purge the guilt
from himself by killing the perceived killers.

Lady Macbeth
Trait: Sly, Crafty, Actress
Help me hence, ho! (2.3.138)
Look 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 thence
Against the undivulged pretence I fight
Of treasonous malice. (2.3.147-154)
Explanation: Lady Macbeth seems to be the great mastermind behind the plan to kill Duncan and take
the crown, however now she seems to be devastated by a death in her household. I believe
that 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, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As 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)

Speaker: Macbeth

To whom it is spoken: Macbeth is speaking to himself

Context: Macbeth sees an apparition, it is a dagger not unlike the one he is to use to kill Duncan. The
dagger 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)

Speaker: Lady Macbeth

To whom it is spoken: First passage Lady Macbeth to herself. second passage Lady Macbeth to
her husband.

Context: 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 she
will take care of all of the details.

Dramatic Significance: Lady Macbeth is the more ruthless of the couple. Lady Macbeth has no
compunctions about killing Duncan, she feels the hunger for power so strongly
that she will do anything to get it.

I have given suck, and know
How 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 you
Have done to this. (1.7.62-67)

Speaker: Lady Macbeth

To whom it is spoken: Lady Macbeth to Macbeth.

Context: Lady Macbeth is telling her husband that she has no compunctions about killing
Duncan, 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 the
course 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 deceive
Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.

Speaker: Duncan (King)

To whom it is spoken: To Ross and Angus (messengers)

Context: Duncan has just been told of the Thane of Cawdor's duplicity, and his betrayal. Duncan
decrees that the Thane of Cawdor is stripped of his title and said title should now be
bestowed upon Macbeth. Duncan sends Ross and Angus to give this news to Macbeth.

Dramatic Significance: Duncan is a generous King, he is giving this title to Macbeth because of
his familial connection and Macbeth's bravery during battle. This shows
Duncan's willingness to reward loyalty and those deserving of

First Witch
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch
All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch
All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!


Speaker: First, Second and Third Witches

To whom it is spoken: Macbeth and Banquo

Context: In Macbeth and Banquo's journey after the battle they encounter the three witches, the
three share the prophecy of Macbeth's imminent ascent to power.

Dramatic Significance: