I am totally confused on the whole killing the servants thing. First of all, are the servants the guards or are they different. If they are the same, I thought they were trying to blame the murder on the servants/guards by drugging them up and then putting blood on them and the daggers in their hands. Why then does Macbeth kill them? Doesn't that eliminate the possibility of blaming the murder on the servants/guards? No one else is in the castle, so it would be obvious that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth killed Duncan and the servants. Is anyone else confused about this?
Well Meredith I don't know for sure, however I think that the servants and the guards are the same people. I know that it was a bit confusing today in class about when he killed them, but I interpreted it as though they did blame the guards for the murder, and then Macbeth said he killed them because they couldn't be trusted. I am assuming that they planned that from the start because if the guards talked to anyone they would obviously deny them killing the king. So the purpose for killing the guards was to blame it on them so they wouldn't be suspicious and then they killed the guards to prevent them from telling anyone else anything. Does that make sense?
I have several questions about Act Two. First off, why didn't Shakespeare show Duncan's murder in his play? Shouldn't Lady Macbeth have heard something, a groan perhaps, when Macbeth murdered Duncan? Why does Shakespeare have Malcolm respond to his father's death with a simple "O, who did it?" I personally would shown much more concern if my father was murdered. In answer to Meredith's question, I believe macbeth murdered the guards so that there cries of innocence wouldn't spark any suspition. As the saying goes "Dead men tell no tales." Shakespeare may also want to show how Macbeth's conscience is weakening.
In response to Melissa's questions, I think Shakespeare didn't show Duncan's murder because we already know it is going to happen. It adds suspense to know something will happen, but wonder when. This may draw more people into the theater. I don't think that Lady Macbeth would have heard a groan when Macbeth killed Duncan. Duncan was asleep, unlikely to make any noise. She might have heard Macbeth gasp when he killed the king, but I don't think she would here anything from Duncan. I would show more concern too, if my father was killed; however, remember that Malcolm is Duncan's son. He wants to know who committed the murder, so that he can avoid that person. Malcolm figures that whoever killed Duncan is probably planning on killing him next. He is concerned for his own life at this point. This is why Malcolm flees the country with his brother, to avoid murder.
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I don't agree with Meredith on her answer to Melissa's first question. I don't believe it had anything to do with crowds being drawn to the plays. I think that it was just the way that Shakespeare wrote, and the way he incorporated the few props used in the Old English theatres. Honestly, when you think about it, for JUST the killing Duncan scene, you would need a bed (for Duncan to be seen sleeping on) and a knife. How many people want a giant prop change in the play for a 30ish second long scene of Macbeth going into the room and pretending to kill the Duncan actor? It just wasn't practical.
I have another question. At the end of Act Two, Macduff refers to Ross as "cousin" but Ross calls Macduff "father." Are these two characters kin? If so, are they cousins or father and son?
Melissa, these characters are kin. They are cousins. When Macduff refers to Ross as his cousin, which is true. When Ross says "father" however, he is not talking about Macduff. He is talking about the old man. My guess would be that in Shakespearean socity, one's father may not be his biological father, but an elder. I looked on the No Fear Shakespeare version on sparknotes, and it seemed to indicate that when Ross says "father" he references the old man in the scene.
Also, I have a question about the characters in the second act. I don't get the characters of Lennox and the old man. What are their purposes? Is the old man related to anyone else in the play? Furthermore, what were some of the important quotes in this act, Smith didn't seem to really emphaize many.
Lennox basically is just the kings attendent. The old man was inserted into the play to show how odd these freaks of nature (e.g. the horses eating eachother) really were because, in all his years, nothing like it had happened. The old man, like the porter, are stationed to add effect to the play, to show abnormalty and contrast(humur against murder). Some major quotes occur in the dagger scene and the Macbth's thought after the murder, such as,"Macbeth shall sleep no more."
Hey having to read the second act mostly by myself has raised a bunch of questions. could anybody possibly post a dumbed down summary of the first 3 scenes of the second act. It would be greatly appreciated.
I'm confused of why Macbeth had to kill the guards after he killed Duncan. What was the point? They were already drunk and bloody. they would have had not explanation for what had happened the night before so i think it was overkill to have Macbeth kill of the guards.