MACBETH – Act 2 Summary

Scene 1

Characters: Banquo, Fleance, Macbeth

Location: A court within Macbeth’s castle

Events: Banquo + Fleance set the scene by saying it is past midnight. The three of them are having trouble sleeping, and then say goodnight to each other. Macbeth see’s a dagger and talks about his next action of killing Duncan.


“I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
To you they have showed some truth.” (Banquo) Banquo talks to Macbeth about seeing the witches. This is significant because it means more than one person (Macbeth) has seen the witches and heard their predictions.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?” (Macbeth  – soliloquy) This is the start of Macbeth’s in-depth and metaphor-rich soliloquy. He see’s a dagger hovering in the air. The handle is towards him, referring to him using it to kill Duncan instead of him being killed. He can’t hold it but he can see it, meaning it must a figure of his imagination (like a hallucination). He says “a dagger of the mind” meaning his thoughts are creating this dagger that only he can see. his brain is so full of thoughts about the murder he is about to do that it’s making him go crazy! If I was to direct this play I wouldn’t have a literal dagger hovering above him, because I think that the purpose of this soliloquy is for the audience to listen to his language and it emphasizes that fact that ONLY HE can see the dagger!
“Witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate’s offerings, and withered murder,
Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost.” (Macbeth – Soliloquy) Macbeth metaphorically refers to MURDER as a WOLF. and describes how he plans to murder Duncan like a wolf hunting his pray.
“I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” (Macbeth) Macbeth hears a bell and thinks of it as a signal that it is time to kill the king.
Scene 2
Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth
Location: A hallway/courtyard in Macbeth’s castle
Events: Lady Macbeth is waiting for Macbeth in the courtyard after he set off to kill King Duncan. She thinks she hears a noise and when Macbeth comes back and tells her he has killed the king, they both agree that they heard a noise and that must mean someone is awake. Macbeth says he feels very ‘unholy’ and ‘sinful’ he can’t believe what he just did! But he made a mistake, he didn’t leave the daggers in the bedroom with the guards to stage they were responsible. He refuses to go back (which shows that he is scared and cowardly) so LadyMacbeth goes (proving that she is strong and determined).
“The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures. ‘Tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. ” (Lady Macbeth)
This quote proves that Lady Macbeth has very dark, deep and ‘male’ (of the time) thoughts. she is saying that sleeping Duncan and Dead Duncan look just the same, it’s only a coward who sees’s the difference and is afraid of that. When she says ‘the eye of childhood’ she is referring to Macbeth because he is weak and is demonstrating childish behavior in her eyes.
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.” (Macbeth)
Macbeth is saying that not even the greatest mass of water (the ocean) could not wash the blood from his hands. He says that there is so much blood on his hands that if he tried to wash his hands he would make the water red.
“My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white.” (Lady Macbeth)
Lady Macbeth is saying that her ‘hands’ referring to the deed they have just performed and the color of blood,  are the same as Macbeth’s but she refuses to feel bad or forgiving about it. She refuses to be a coward like Macbeth.
“To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.” (Macbeth)
Macbeth is saying that when he thinks of the deed he has just done (killing the king) he doesn’t recognize himself and doesn’t like himself for doing it.
Scene 3
Characters: Porter, Macduff, Lenox, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Donalbain, Malcolm
Location: A courtyard at Macbeth’s castle
Events: MORNING…..The guest’s in the house wakes up and the porter opens the gates to the castle. Macbeth shows Macduff where the king is sleeping and they find him dead in his bed and his guards holding bloody knife’s. They all react to the king dying and are very shocked. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth make up a cover story to how they ‘suppose’ Duncan was killed. Lady Macbeth faints and Malcolm and Donalbain plan to leave for England and Ireland to tell the office of this horrid news. Malcolm and Dolobain express their suspicion on whether it really was the guards that killed him!
“O gentle lady,
‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
The repetition, in a woman’s ear,
Would murder as it fell.” (Macduff)
This quote is relevant because they are saying that Lady Macbeth can’t handle the news that Duncan is dead when she was the one who killed him!!!
Scene 4
Characters: Old man, Rosse, Macduff
Location: Outside the castle
Events: Rosse and the old man stand outside Macbeth’s castle and discuss the unnatural events that have lead to the king Duncan being killed. Macduff joins them and tells them that is it said Duncan’s son’s brided the bodyguards. He also tells them that Macbeth has already gone to Scone to be crowned as king.
“They were suborned.
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons,
Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed.” (Macduff)
Saying that there is a suspicion that Duncan’s son’s paid the guards to kill the king. They think this is true because both brothers fled quickly when they heard the news.



Macbeth Language techniques

Point: During Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy (act 1, scene 5) Shakespeare, through the use of metaphors,  illustrates the power and pure evil she is inviting to help conduct her sinful plan. The use of metaphors is a frequently used language technique in many of Shakespeare’s plays as i gives the audience a strong understanding of the characters internal thoughts and also the reasoning behind their actions, to add to Shakespeare’s other language features.

Example: When Lady Macbeth is devising her nefarious plan of killing king Duncan she calls upon the evil spirits and asks them to remove the kindness and good in her feminine being and replace it with evil thoughts and strong will. Because of this she wants to shield herself from heavens eyes, she knows what she wants to do is bad. In the passage she says:

“Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!” (Lady M, Act 1, Scene 5)
Explanation: This metaphor validates the idea of Lady Macbeth’s plan being sinful and unjust for the time period Macbeth was set in. During the 11th century god’s, the powers that be, and heaven were very much believed and actions that opposed these beliefs were dangerous and frowned upon. People believed that these external powers dictated the unknown and also controlled who was in power (i.e kings, queens, ,status) . Lady Macbeth’s plan to murder king Duncan (treason) was one of the most dangerous forms of betrayal to these beliefs at the time and therefore (during this passage) she is asking heaven to not watch over her as she does the deed. She describes heaven as if it’s a child, scared to ‘peep through the blanket’ and see the dark. This metaphor portrays heaven as scared or afraid, and the ‘dark’ is Lady Macbeth’s plan. So she is describing heaven as scared of her plan or of what she is about to do. This tells us her plan would provoke the audience and make them feel uncomfortable, and nervous to see her plan unfold. When she states ‘to cry “hold, hold”‘ she is referring to her conscious stopping her from killing the king. She wants heaven to stay hidden from her evil thoughts and behaviour because she knows that heaven, god, and the powers that be,  wouldn’t approve. This metaphor clearly outlines how Lady Macbeth’s plan is ambitious, evil, and dangerous, because of how she feels about heaven watching her. 


MACBETH – Act 1 summary

Scene 1

Characters : Three witches

Location : An open deserted space

Time: Unsure (some time before the battle?)

Events : Three witches stand around a steaming cauldron  and discuss when they are going to meet again.

Quotes: “fair is foul, and foul is fair”(all A1, S1)Paradox “When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won” (Witch 2 A1, S1)Witch two is saying they will meet again when the noise of the battle is over and when one side has one and the other has lost

Scene 2

Characters: Duncan, Malcolm, Captain, Lenox, Rosse

Location: A camp near the battle grounds

Time: After the battle when Macbeth killed Macdonwald

Events: The battle has just come to an end and king Duncan is being informed on how the battle went down from his wounded captain. Ross tells the king that Macbeth was a courageous and valued fighter in the battle, and he killed their enemy Macdonwald. Ross also lets the king know they won the battle!

Quotes: “As two spent swimmers that do cling together, And choke their art.(Captain s2) this quote describes how the two enemies were neck in neck at the beginning of the battle and how it was hard to determine who would come out on top. “What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.” (Duncan s2) Meaning the death of Macdonwald is Macbeth’s prize because i means he will become the thane of cawdor.


Scene 3

Character: 3 witches, Macbeth, Banquo, Rosse, Angus

Location: Upon the heath, the meeting place planned in scene 1

Events: The witches discuss their their plan to stop a sailor from completing his voyage because his wife has been rude to one of the witches. They then go on to talk about Macbeth’s future where they say he is going to become ‘the thane of cawdor’ and after that king. They are supposedly predicting the future. They also tell  Banquo his future will not be him being king but his descendants will be. Rosse and Angus inform Macbeth that in return to his bravery his is being crowned ‘thane of cawdor’, meaning the witches prediction was true. Macbeth presumes that the other predictions from the witches must also be true and starts to create a plan to kill the king (Duncan) so he can become king. Banquo warns the witches that Macbeth is turning evil because of their predictions.

Scene 4

Character: Ducan, Malcolm, Donalbain, lenox, Macbeth, Banquo,

Location: A room in the kings palace

Time: After the battle

Events: Duncan’s son Malcolm tells everyone that the execution of the former thane of cawdor has been done, and Duncan thanks Macbeth and Banquo for their job well done (killing him). Macbeth believes his actions will award him Duncan’s throne but Duncan awards him as the the new thane of cawdor and Duncan announces that the next king is to be his eldest son Malcolm. Macbeth is suprised and angered by this news, as he wants to be king.



“The prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see my black and deep desires.

The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

” (Macbeth)

Macbeth says this passage to himself and to the audience. This is an important aside because Macbeth is reacting to the king giving the thrown to his eldest son and not Macbeth.  He talks about the stars, heaven, god shielding or hiding and not watching his actions because he is about to bring out his dark side. When he references ‘eyes’ he is referring to himself and how he has self denial about his thoughts about killing the king.


Scene 5

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth

Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle

Events: Lady Macbeth reacts to a letter from Macbeth about what has happened and the witches predictions. She reflects on what Macbeth has said, and decides she needs to take action if her and Macbeth are to be king and queen. She thinks Macbeth is to weak and to kind to hurt anyone, so she is glad to hear that the king Duncan will be staying in their castle tonight, she plans to kill him. She asks the spirits to help her with this bad deed and when Macbeth enters tells him to leave it up to her.


Explore language techniques throughout lady Macbeth’s passage

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
(Lady Macbeth)
“It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,”
(Lady macbeth) Lady Macbeth thinks Macbeth is to kind to kill someone, he is weak and she is not.
“Look like th’ innocent flower,
But be the serpent under ’t. ” (Lady Macbeth)
referencing how she wants Macbeth to be perceived on the outside and his thoughts on the inside.
“Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here” (Lady Macbeth) She asks the evil spirits to help her do this bad deed and asks to be stripped of her famine perceptions so she is not perceived as weak but strong and capable. 
“Only look up clear.
To alter favor ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me.”
(Lady Macbeth) Leave it to me and remain calm
Scene 6
Characters: Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macbeth
Location: Outside Macbeth’s castle
Events: King Duncan arrives to Macbeth’s castle and is welcomed by lady Macbeth. They enter the castle and Duncan admires it and thanks Lady Macbeth for letting him stay.
“See, see, our honored hostess!
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
Which still we thank as love.” (Duncan A1, S6)
Duncan is saying that the love of his subjects can sometimes trouble him or bring troublesome events, but never the less he excepts it as love anyway. This quote is important because he almost predicts that Lady Macbeth is putting on a ‘fake’ love when welcoming him into the castle because she has planned to kill him during his stay. 
Scene 7
Character: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth
Location: A room in Macbeth’s castle
Events: Macbeth is second guessing lady Macbeth’s plan, because he is related to king Duncan, he fought for king Duncan, and he thinks king Duncan is a good and honourable person. When Lady Macbeth enter Macbeth tells her that he doesn’t want to go ahead with their plan. Lady Macbeth is furious and disappointed in Macbeth and tells him how weak, and delicate he is. She convinces him to keep the plan.
Quotes: “Might be the be-all and the end-all here,” (Macbeth) This is a common saying used today that was created by Shakespeare
“Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely?” (Lady Macbeth)
Lady Macbeth is disappointed and angry that Macbeth has changed his mind, she says ‘were you drunk when you agreed to killing the king, have you now woken from your sleep and are now full of fear’ she is trying to understand why Macbeth has changed his mind
“Bring forth men-children only,
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males.
Bring forth men-children only,” (Macbeth)
Says this to Lady Macbeth and is saying that a lady with such strength, and evil thoughts can only produce men (because their strong and woman are not)

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
 (Macbeth) Macbeth says this line when lady macbeth has convinced him to kill the king




We can determine the relationship between people through the language choices they make in the conversation.

Essay plan:

  1. Build context (to make intro more interesting) – How society has changed to back your hypothesis, How language has changed, how does the hypothesis  link to the world..NZ..Wanaka, use famous quotes that back your hypothesis.
  2. Persuasive / rhetorical language
  3. Select some interesting or intriguing results from your research .


The use of language allows us to express and convey information to each other. Over time the language we use and how we use it has been modified to fit how society has evolved. We can determine many elements of a person’s life experiences, emotional state, and connection to other people through their personal language choices. For the purpose of this study i have investigated how we can determine the relationship between people through the language choices they make in a conversation. This essay will prove how different relationships communicate differently with each other through the use of vocabulary, phonetic sound, linguistic language, and paralinguistic modifications. Also why we use language and how the reasoning behind conversations have changed over time, along with what has changed in society and the distinctive link between this and how we communicate with each other. All of these language features work together to create individual and unique language relationships between different people and determines how contrasting relationships communicate differently with each other.

Language over time – draft

Over time things change and evolve. Simple as that. Language is no exception to this, and as time goes on our language has modified to suit the way society are communicating at the present moment.  This effects how different relationships communicate with each other.

Body paragraph 1 – draft

Through the use of diverse language techniques the message being portrayed can mean very different things.  As humans we gravitate towards particular language techniques subconsciously , and this in turn creates our unique mannerisms and way of using language. Not two of use speak, deliver or communicate language in the same way, and this means every conversation we have with other people is different. It’s like the human mind. We all think and process information differently which gives us each personal strengths and weaknesses. When people collaborate on a project together they are utilising  everyone’s strengths to create an original and completely unique end result. This is just like our relationships with other people. We also adapt or modify the language we use to suit who we are talking to. This also makes for a unique language relationship. I mean think about it… Do you use the same language or communicate the same with your best friend AND your grandma?

Vocabulary is a language technique that gets over looked, however it plays a huge role in differentiating relationships.  When we speak we use different vocabulary as a way to express or convey a message in different ways. Depending on the words we use when delivering the message can determine how the person receiving the information processes it. An example of this is when your at an old friends house and you ask for the butter across the table at breakfast.  The vocabulary you use in this situation would be very different to how you would ask for the butter at home. This isn’t because your rude at home or you disrespect your family, it’s simply that different relationships make you speak in different ways. At your friends house your vocabulary would be something like “Excuse me, would you please pass me the butter…..thank you.” The vocabulary used in this spoken language is quite formal and gives the impression that your trying to be polite and impress your friend. On the other hand your vocabulary choices at home would probably be along the lines of “hey, will you pass me the butter….. thanks.” Even though your saying almost the exact same thing the mood and feeling around the vocabulary choices made really define the kind of relationship you have with the person your delivering your message to.






Text Transcript

Hey! (punctuation added for effect) The girls and i have organised to see pitch perfect 3 on the 1st of Jan .(logograms – shortened words) I’m about to book the tickets, do you wanna (merged words) come ?

Hey x (emoticons) what time is it?

It’s at 6

Yes sounds great xxx (emoticons) i was just checking the time cause (contractions) i’m working till (abbreviation) 3 but yes please xx 🙂 (emoticons) were u (logograms) at the lake today, i think i saw u (logograms) but i wasn’t sure? Xx(emoticons)

Ok great! (punctuation for effect) It’s  (abbreviation) going to be so much fun. I can’t wait!! (two exclamation marks for even more effect) Yes i was at the lake xx(emoticons)

Hehe (speech like interjections) yaaasss (repeated letters for emphasis) i’m soo (repeated letters for emphasis) excited xx (emoticons) haha (speech like interjection) i was going to say hi but it would’ve been awkward if it wasn’t you 🙂 🙂(emoticons)

Hahaha.(speech like interjection) Fair enough

:) (emoticons) k (logograms) gtg ttyl (acronyms) can you pls (contractions) txt (contractions) me when and where we r (logogram) going to meet if u (logogram) find out xx(emoticons)

Yes i will. See you soon xx(emoticons)

K (logogram) thanks bye (contractions) xx (contractions)


Sammy: yea (colloquium) we went to his office and there was like (none specific – broad/unsure response of how many were there) 12 of us

Zelda: really?(Shocked/inquisitive)

jaimee: what did you do though?

sammy: is was like,(verbal filler) kinda like (hedge – makes the point sound weak) one person who did all the talking

libby: who was it?

Zelda: haha (speech like interjection) everyone else was just backing them up

sammy: yea (colloquiums) it was ruby (No capital = less formal)

jaimee: ruby burke?(back-tracking)

sammy: yep,(colloquiums) and everyone else in there like hmmm (backchannelling) and she was like (verbal filler) talking and making her wee (slang) points

Zelda: yea,(colloquiums) do you reckon like (verbal filler) they will actually change anything.

sammy: i don’t know, because he was like (verbal filler) well… (ellipsis – emphasises pause) her classes got good grades, i was mmm (backchannelling – sassy) cause they went to kip

Everyone: hahahahahaha(speech like interjection)

Zelda: riiiiiiight (repeated letters for emphasis)

sammy: i know.

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