Copyright

Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2: Summary & Quotes

Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2: Summary & Quotes
Coming up next: Macbeth Act 2, Scene 3: Summary & Quotes

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Summary of Previous Scenes
  • 0:33 Significance of Scene 2
  • 0:56 Summary & Quotes
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret Stone

Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

This lesson explains what happens when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth carry out their plan to kill the king so that Macbeth can take his place. This lesson examines significant quotations from Act 2, Scene 2 and explores important motifs that appear in the scene.

Summary of Previous Scenes

In previous scenes of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth hatch a plan to murder King Duncan so that Macbeth can assume the throne. Duncan is spending the night at Macbeth's castle, and Lady Macbeth plans to get Duncan's chamberlains (grooms) drunk on wine so they'll not remember the murder. Act 2, Scene 1 closes with Lady Macbeth ringing a bell to let Macbeth know the chamberlains are asleep and he can proceed with the plan to kill Duncan.

Significance of Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 2 is significant for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, it's the scene in which Macbeth murders Duncan. Additionally, in previous scenes, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have appeared resolute in their desire to kill Duncan and seize the throne, but in this scene, we see the first traces of guilt and regret in both characters.

Summary and Quotes

Lady Macbeth has placed daggers in the hands of the sleeping chamberlains to implicate them in Duncan's death, as planned. In lines 12 and 13, she says of Duncan, ''Had he not resembled/My father as he slept, I had done't.'' The plan all along has been for Macbeth to murder Duncan, but here, Lady Macbeth indicates that she would have killed Duncan herself if he had not looked so much like her father. This is the first sign of weakness in Lady Macbeth in the play.

Macbeth then enters the scene and tells Lady Macbeth that he has killed Duncan. Macbeth reports that while he was in Duncan's chamber, he heard the chamberlains awake, praying. ''I could not say 'Amen',/When they did say God bless us,'' Macbeth confesses to his wife in lines 26 and 27. In this passage, Macbeth is beginning to feel guilty about the murder and is unable to pray. Lady Macbeth suggests that he should put the matter out of his thoughts.

Line 32 focuses on sleep, an important motif in the play. From this point on, sleep becomes something the Macbeths crave. They desire to sleep more than anything, but once Duncan is murdered, sleep eludes them. ''Methought I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more!'' Macbeth says, in a passage that foreshadows the sleeplessness that will follow the couple for the rest of their short lives.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support