Macbeth
Act II

 

  1. Comment on Banquo's speech beginning “There's husbandry in heaven...” and ending “...in repose”. Remember that this play would originally have been performed in the daytime, using natural light.

 

 

  1. After his servant leaves him (Act 2, scene 1, line 33 and following) Macbeth imagines he can see something (in some film versions the audience may be shown this, too). What is it? Explain why, you think, Macbeth sees this, especially at this time and in this place.

 

 

  1. When Lady Macbeth says, “That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold”, what does she mean? Who are “them” and why should she want them to be drunk?

 

 

  1. Sometimes Shakespeare shows killing onstage (mostly at the end of a play). Why, in your view, is the killing of Duncan not shown, but understood to happen offstage?

 

 

  1. How is Macbeth's mind affected by the murder of Duncan?

 

 

  1. Who is more practical after the killing, Macbeth or his wife? Why is this?

 

 

  1. The scene featuring the porter makes a great contrast with what goes before and after it. Can you explain why Shakespeare should use comic relief at this point in an otherwise not very comical play?

 

 

  1. After Duncan's death, Macbeth says, “All is but toys”. Explain what you think he means by saying this. He is, of course, concealing his part in the murder, but do you think he is sincere when he makes this statement? Why?

 

 

  1. How do Malcolm and Donalbain react to the murder of their father? Is this a wise course of action? Give reasons in favor of this and against it. Can you think of any other things they might do in this situation?

 

 

  1. An old man tells Ross about a “mousing owl” that killed a falcon and about Duncan's horses turning wild and eating each other. What might be the point of this speech? Comment on the idea of things being “unnatural” at this point in the play.