Macbeth by William Shakespeare | Act 2, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis | Summary and Q&A

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June 8, 2018
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Macbeth by William Shakespeare | Act 2, Scene 3 Summary & Analysis

TL;DR

Macduff and Lennox find King Duncan murdered, Macbeth confesses to killing the guards, and Malcolm and Donalbain suspect foul play and decide to flee.

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Key Insights

  • 🪩 The Porter's drunken description provides comic relief and mirrors Lady Macbeth's questioning of Macbeth's manhood.
  • 🛩️ Lennox's small talk mirrors the conversation between Banquo and Fleance in the previous scene.
  • 🤬 Macbeth's killing of the guards is seen as commendable by most, except Macduff who suspects foul play.
  • 🤽‍♀️ Lady Macbeth plays the role of a traditional woman when it suits her agenda, as seen by her fainting in this scene.
  • 🥰 Macbeth's confession reveals his deep loyalty and love for King Duncan, which he claims as the motive for killing the guards.
  • 😂 Macduff's comment about the talk of murder not being suitable for Lady Macbeth's ears is an example of dramatic irony, considering she planned the murder.
  • 🛀 Malcolm and Donalbain's decision to flee shows their suspicion towards Macbeth and their concerns for their own safety.

Transcript

act 2 scene 3 of Macbeth begins with a hungover Porter stumbling through the hall to answer the knocking from the previous scene Macduff and Lennox enter through the gate and Macduff complains at the porters lethargy Macbeth arrives wearing his dressing-gown and tells them the king is not yet awake Macduff goes to get the king who asked to be woken... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Macbeth react to the news of King Duncan's murder?

Macbeth initially pretends to be surprised and concerned, but later confesses to killing the guards out of love for Duncan.

Q: Why do Malcolm and Donalbain decide to flee?

They suspect that they may be the next targets and fear for their lives, so they decide to leave Scotland, with Malcolm going to England and Donalbain to Ireland.

Q: What is the significance of Lady Macbeth fainting?

Lady Macbeth's fainting is a ruse to divert attention from Macbeth and to prevent any suspicion from arising. It also highlights her ability to manipulate situations to suit her own ends.

Q: How does Macduff react to Macbeth's confession about killing the guards?

Macduff is suspicious of Macbeth's actions and questions his motives. He knows that dead guards cannot provide any information, leading to further suspicion towards Macbeth.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Macbeth, wearing his dressing-gown, informs Macduff and Lennox that King Duncan is not yet awake.

  • Macduff finds out that the king has been murdered and rushes to wake the rest of the castle.

  • Lady Macbeth feigns fainting, while Malcolm and Donalbain suspect they may be the next targets and decide to leave Scotland.

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