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Act 2, Scenes 1 - 2 What strengths and weaknesses of Lady Macbeth are revealed in these

scenes? Discuss her role in the murder and its cover-up, her jittery response to the sound of
her husband's voice, why she did not murder Duncan herself, and how she deals with her
husband's fears.
Lady Macbeth is a troublesome character to understand. She is bold and quick-witted, yet at
times she can show fear and weakness. In Scene 2, she begins with praise of her own plot to
murder Duncan. The moment she hears Macbeth's voice, she starts and is worried that their plot
will fail. After Macbeth tells her the murder is done, he voices his own doubts and fears. Lady
Macbeth tries to calm him down, but soon becomes frustrated when she finds that he'd forgotten
to pin the murder weapon on the chamberlains. She says Macbeth is too distracted by his
delusions to do anything right, and takes on the task of framing the chamberlains herself. But her
true fears are clear, because she did not want to take on the task of the murder itself. She made
her husband do the dirty work because she was afraid of doing such a thing herself.
Act 2, Scenes 3 - 4 What is the most memorable mental picture you formed while reading this
act? Jot down a few vivid words and phrases to describe that picture.
Scene 3 could only be depicted by one word: chaos. The rapid escalation of events are almost
overwhelming. The scene starts out relatively slow, with the drunk porter opening the gates for
the visitors. Lennox talks of the storm the night before, which is the only warning to the insanity
that follows. Macduff, upon entering Duncan's room to meet him, screams at the sight of the
dead king. Macbeth and his wife pretend to be astonished, and Lady Macbeth even "faints" to
add to the effect. Macbeth then infers that the chamberlains had murdered the king, and that he
had killed them in his rage. Like I said, "chaos" is the most accurate word for this section.

Act 2, Scenes 3 - 4 How has Macbeth changed as a result of the events in this act? Find lines
that illustrate these changes. What happens before and after he kills Duncan? Discuss his
state of mind and fears for the future. Do you feel sympathy for Macbeth?
In the hours leading up to the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is portrayed as restless and afraid. He
hears voices and has nightmares. These are all implications of a possible psychotic break. While
murdering Duncan, Macbeth claims he heard voices reprimanding him. After the king is killed,
Macbeth completely loses it. He breaks down and begins to voice his fears and thoughts, which
Lady Macbeth tries to quell. I do not have sympathy for Macbeth, but I do have pity. I pity the
fact that he let his wife manipulate his jealousy into a murderous tendency. I pity the fact that he
loses control of himself and actually goes through with murdering Duncan.
Act 3, Scenes 1 - 3 Why are Macbeth and Lady Macbeth unhappy as king and queen?
Macbeth is unhappy for a number of reasons. He feels guilt about using the murder of Duncan as
a means to an end. He is constantly worried that Duncan's sons, who have fled, are plotting to
kill him. In a monologue, he is upset that his best friend Banquo is now a possible enemy. He
knows that the prophecy that promised him his crown is also the prophecy that promised the
crown being taken from him. Lady Macbeth is also suffering from fear and worry. She wonders
if the murder plot was really worth it.
Act 3, Scenes 4 - 6 So far, Macbeth has seen a bloody ghost and a floating dagger and has
heard voices. What does his active imagination reveal about his inner conflicts?
Macbeth is falling deeper into his hallucinations. He sees things that instill a fear of something
terrible in him. Clearly, Macbeth is feeling remorse for what he has done. But he also fears his

own murder. He senses that he is not safe, even as king. The things he sees and hears are all
devices for a sense of foreboding.