|Act 2 Scene Summaries||Characters||Themes||Motifs|
Macbeth hallucinates, seeing a dagger in front of him.
|Banquo and Macbeth grow more fearful and suspicious of each other. Macbeth goes as far as to test Banqo’s trust in the statement ‘If you shall cleave to my consent, when ‘tis, it shall make honour for you’. Convincing Banquo to stay with him despite his own morals.|
Macbeth starts to go delusional. Believing in the visions of the sword he sees. Using the prophecy to justify his gruesome thoughts.
|Guilt, shown in Macbeth’s paranoia.|
Fate and free will. Macbeth uses his vision, and the prophecy he heard to justify the cost of murder.
|Visions, used to show Macbeth’s guilt for what he is planning to do. Demonstrating his conscious.|
Macbeth returns from killing the King, feeling guilty. Lady Macbeth comforts him but then tells him off for bringing the daggers back. She takes them and plants them on the guards whom she’s already drugged.
|Lady Macbeth is rapidly becoming more organised and calm about the murder. She has it planned out. She gets angry that Macbeth would come back with incriminating evidence. She plants it so the guards will be blamed for the king’s death. But we see there is still some empathy in her when she states ‘Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done‘ t.|
Macbeth is empathetic and delusional. Doing erratic things (like bringing the weapon back home), and struggling to come to terms with the crime he has committed.
|Guilt is destroying Macbeth.||Blood is on his hand, despite his wife’s belief ‘little water will clear us of this deed’|
Macduff arrives and discovers the King’s death. Macbeth kills the two guards and Macduff seems suspicious of this. Malcolm and Donalbain, realising they’re in danger, decide to flee.
|Macduff is one of the many citizens horrified by the death of Duncan. He comes running in, and tells Macbeth and Lady Macbeth of the horrid death.|
He and the other thanes gain suspicion after Macbeth kills the servants.
Duncan’s sons are suspicious too. They run away as not to be killed.
|Appearances hide reality. The others seem to trust Macbeth. He says his murder of the servants is out of his ‘love’ of Duncan. Overcompensating for the deed he committed.|
Macduff discusses Macbeth being made King. He goes home to Fife, choosing not to see the coronation.
|Macduff and Ross are suspicious, and have conferred about if Macbeth is the man he claims to be. Macduff refuses to go to scone to watch the crowning of Macbeth due to his suspicions.||Through Macduff’s defiance, loyalty is severely questioned. Macduff isn’t loyal to the new king.||Nature. The old man represents nature and the village. He talks about the unrest of nature, similarly to the unrest in the kingdom after Duncan’s sad passing.|
Clothing. In the line of p 82 ‘Lest our robes sit easier than our new.’ Suggesting the new titles bestowed upon Macbeth to not be fitting.
Cite this article as: Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team, "Macbeth act 2: Characters, Themes, Motifs," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/macbeth-act-2-characters-themes-motifs/.