Macbeth Study Guide Act 2

Comment on Banquo’s speech beginning “There’s husbandry in heaven…” and ending “…in repose”. Rememberthat this play would originally have been performed in the daytime, using natural light. There’s no scenery and it’s a play in the daytime so he has to tell of what’s going on
After his servant leaves him (Act 2, scene 1, line 33, and following) Macbeth imagines he can see something (in some flim versions the audience may be shown this, too.) What is it? Explain why, you think, Macbeth sees this, especially at this time and in this place? A dagger, because he has killing Duncan on his mind
When Lady Macbeth says, “That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold”, what does she mean? Who are “them” and why should she would them to be drunk? That the guards are drunk and now the deed can done. She was talking about the guards so they can sneak in and kill Duncan.
Sometimes Shakespeare shows killing onstage (mostly on the end of the play). Why, in your view, is the killing of Duncan not shown, but uderstood to happen offstage? To draw the people in and show the blood and gore. It was more disturbing and suspenseful and people knew what happened because Macbeth came back out with blood on his hands.
How is Macbeth’s mind affected by the murder of Duncan? He was very disturbed by the whole situation.
Who is more practical after the killing, Macbeth or his wife? Can you think of reasons for this? Lady Macbeth, she’s made the plan and she couldn’t go through with the killing.
The scene featuring the porter makes a great contrast with what goes before and after it. Can you explain why Shakespeare should use comedy at this point in an otherwise not very comical play? (This is sometimes explained by the phrase “Comic Relief”, which has recently been taken over by a well-known charity.) Because it’s funny and eases the tension off the whole killing situation.
After Duncan’s death, Macbeth says, “All is but toys”. Explain what you think by saying this. He is, of course, concealing his part in the murder, but do you think he is sincere when he makes this statement? Why? He was not sincere he was saying everything is fake.
How do Malcolm and Danalbain react to the murder of their father? Is this a wise council of action? Give reasons in favour of this and against it. Can you think of any other things they might do in this situation? They ran away to Ireland it was wise so they wouldn’t get killed.
An old man tells Ross about a “mousing owl” that killed a falcon and about Duncan’s horses turning wild and eating each other. What might be the point of this speech? Comment on the idea of things being “unnatural” at this point in the play. It’s telling how everything is unnatural.

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