Brief summary interwoven with commentary on Act II of Macbeth

Essay by aaron56High School, 11th grade March 2004

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The second act begins with an unpleasant atmosphere at night, when the moon is down and the sky is starless. As we've come to know, night is the hour of the evil. So the atmosphere at the very beginning is the foreboding of the events to unfold. In the first scene, Banquo and Fleance are talking casually on the courtyard of Macbeth's castle a little before midnight. Although Banquo is heavy with sleep he doesn't want to go to bed in fear of the thoughts that come to him while asleep. The witches' prophecies taunt him and he seems to be full of doubt and fear. His doubt and fear is obvious when he immediately asks for his sword hearing someone approaching. But it turns out to be Macbeth. It is also ironical because Macbeth, later on, does become a cause of fear to him. Banquo reveals to Macbeth that he had a dream last night of the weird sisters but Macbeth pretends to not have been thinking about them.

He tells Banquo that they can talk about it later and here Banquo makes it clear to him that no matter what, he is going to stick to his loyalty and honor. We can see a clear contrast in the characters of Macbeth and Banquo. While Macbeth is ready to relinquish his honor for his ambition for the crown, Banquo is loyal to the king and a true noble man who will always put his honor before his ambitions.

Macbeth is all set to murder Duncan and is awaiting the signal from his wife. Here, Macbeth hallucinates. He sees a dagger which looks real and touchable yet is unreal. It beckons him towards Duncan's chamber. And before his very eyes, blood appears on the dagger which is disturbing. This...