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Macbeth Links
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Writing Assignments
Critical Review

Act II
# 1-11

1. Who do you think bears the greater responsibility for the murder of King Duncan- Macbeth or Lady Macbeth? Explain.
- Lady Macbeth because it was her idea and she was the one who talked Macbeth into it.

2. a) Why, according to Lady Macbeth, did she not kill the king herself?
- Because she thought the king looked like her father.

b) What does Macbeth do with the daggers after the murder?
- He gives them to his wife.

c) Why does this bother Lady Macbeth?
- Because he will spoil their plan and they will get caught.

d) What action does she take?
- She covers the servants in blood and put the dagger in their hands.

3. a) What does the drunken porter imagine he is doing in response to the knocking at the door?
- He is knocking on the gates of hell, asking for the devil.

b) What does Macbeth wish the knocking could do?
- Awaken Duncan as if it were a dream.

c) Who is doing the knocking? Why?
-Macduff and Lenox because they have something to tell the king.

4. a) Who first learns that a murder has taken place?
- Macduff

b) What action does Macbeth take against the grooms?
- He kills them

c) Why do Malcolm and Donalbain leave Macbeth's castle?
- Because they are afraid they will be the next to be killed.

5. a) Who does Macduff say has killed King Duncan?
- Malcolm and Donalbain

b) Why do Malcom and Donalbain fall under suspicion, according to Macduff?
- Because they fled.

6. What does Macbeth mean by saying he has "murdered sleep"?
- He has murdered Duncan, but he can't sleep because of his guilt.

7. What is ironic about Lady Macbeth's remark "A little water clears us of this deed"?
- Physically it washes off the blood, but mentally the guilt will be there forever.

8. a) Why do you think critics consider the porter's speech to be comic relief?
- It sways the story from horror to comic.

   b) How do the porter's comments on the people arriving at "hell gate" mirrow Macbeth's dilemma?
- Liars and cheats and thought they could get away with their misdeeds, but in the end they had to repay.
9. What do you think causes Lady Macbeth to faint?
- She is trying to sway the attention of the murder away from them to her fainting.
10. a) Why does Ross have doubts about accepting the grooms as the murderers?
-The murderers have nothing to gain.
      b) Why is Macduff concerned that "our old robes" may fit "easier than our new"?
-With information that they think Macbeth could be the murderer.  They could be killed too if they don't watch what they do or say.
11. In his soliloquy in Scene i, Macbeth speaks of "vaulting ambition." (a) How can vaulting ambition bring with it great success?
-Because nothing ventured is nothing gained.
     b)How can it bring with it destruction?
- Anytime you take risks there is a risk of failure.

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*Prentice Hall Literature