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Macbeth Act II study guide

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Evan Doi

English 4

Period 2





Act 2 Study Guide


1.How would you describe Macbeth's state of mind? Macbeth is in a confused state of mind. He’s confused because on one side he doesn’t want to kill a man in his sleep and on the other hand he wants to please his wife.

2. In what ways is he different to the man we saw at the end of Act One? The man in act one was a man of honor and pride but in act two that man turned into a man of treason and murder.

3. Read the "Is this a dagger..." soliloquy carefully. 
 Paraphrase the soliloquy. 
How does this speech use imagery of light and darkness?

4.Choose three metaphors from the speech and explore how they are used.

5. In what ways does this soliloquy represent an apparent change in Macbeth?

Scene two begins with Lady Macbeth. In these speeches she admits to having consumed alcohol in order to be able to fulfil her role in the murder. 

6.What does this suggest about her strength of character? This suggest that she is not a very committed person and that she could change her mind or attitude towards the whole thing quickly.

7.Explore how Shakespeare builds tension throughout the scene.
-What does Macbeth mean when he says that he has murdered sleep? When Macbeth says he has murdered sleep he means he has murdered a man while he was asleep.  By saying he has murdered sleep he symbolizes the fact that he had killed Duncan.

8. What is the importance of Lady Macbeth's comment: 
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways; so, it will make us mad. ? The importance is that if they dwell on the fact that they had killed a man in such an foul way that they will be driven mad with guilt.

9. When Lady Macbeth realises that Macbeth has failed to remove the daggers from the scene she appears strong and angry.
- How does she respond to Macbeth's weakness? She response by mocking his intelligence.

10. How is water used as an image in this scene?

11. How would you describe Macbeth's feelings at the end of the scene? Macbeth feels a sense of dishonor for killing Duncan in his sleep.

Scene three introduces a brief moment of comic relief. This is a technique used to relieve the tension that has been built up in the audience so that they are emotionally able to cope with the tension that is to follow. The Porter is a drunken peasant who jokes about a range of people well known to a Shakespearean audience who he believes will go hell for their pretentiousness. 

12.Following the appearance of the Porter, the tension rises with the arrival of Macduff and the discovery of the murder.
-How does Macbeth justify his murder of the grooms?

13.Why do you think Lady Macbeth faints at this point?

14.How does Banquo respond to the murders? Banquo is shocked because he realizes that the witches prophecies are coming true.

15.Why do Malcolm and Donalbain flee? They feel because they had been accused of their fathers death.

Scene four begins with a discussion between Ross and an old man. 

16.What is interesting about the events which they discuss?

17.What do you think those events symbolise?

18.What does Macduff's decision not to attend the coronation suggest about his attitude to Macbeth?  It suggest that Macduff doesn’t have faith in Macbeth and it might suggest that he thinks there is something funny going on with Macbeth becoming king.



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