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Macbeth

Summary 2
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Act II

Banquo and son Fleance arrive at Macbeth's castle. Banquo is troubled by the Three Witches' prophecy and tells Macbeth this. Macbeth pretends not to take the Three Witches seriously.



Learning from Banquo that King Duncan is asleep, Macbeth, alone, follows an imaginary dagger to King Duncan's bedchamber where he will kill him in his sleep... Lady Macbeth has drugged King Duncan's guards, allowing Macbeth to kill King Duncan unchallenged.



Lady Macbeth was to have killed the King but his resemblance to her late father means Macbeth does the deed instead. A bell frightens Lady Macbeth and Macbeth too is nervous, but he announces that he did indeed kill King Duncan.



Lady Macbeth tells her husband a little water will wash away their guilt and the two retire to their bedroom when knocking is later heard...



Macduff, Lennox, the source of the knocking in the last scene, arrive at Macbeth's castle. News of King Duncan's death reaches all at Macbeth's castle. Lady Macbeth faints and Macbeth in rage kills the two drunken guards after claiming that they obviously killed their King.


These actions free Macbeth and Lady Macbeth from suspicion. King Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain decide to flee Macbeth's castle as a precaution against their own murder. Malcolm will head for England, Donalbain for Ireland.



Ross speaks with an Old Man who describes various unnatural acts happening in Scotland.


We learn that King Duncan's two sons have fled, leaving Macbeth to be crowned the new King of Scotland. Macduff, who later becomes instrumental in Macbeth's downfall, has significantly snubbed Macbeth's coronation at Scone to go to Fife instead. A tone of increasing despair for Scotland begins in this scene...





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*Prentice Hall Literature