Act 2 Scene 1




How does the King express his gratitude towards Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?


The King expresses his gratitude towards Macbeth and Lady Macbeth by visiting their castle and giving Lady Macbeth a ring as a token of his appreciation.



What lie does Macbeth utter in line 21?


The lie that Macbeth utters in line 21 is that he has not thought about the witches, when in reality he has thought about them because they are one of the motivating forces pushing him to kill Duncan and become king.



Explain the significance of the following exchange between Macbeth and Banquo. What does it reveal about Macbeth and Banquo’s personality?



If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,

It shall make honor for you.


So I lose none

In seeking to augment it, but still keep

My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,

I shall be counselled. (lines 25-28)


This exchange reveals that Macbeth is nervous about committing the murder and is looking to his friends for support. He is trying to build more support so that when he commits the murder he still has supporters. However we see that Banquo is wise and noble. He says that he would only support him as long as he must lose no honour to gain any rewards and he can do it with a clear conscience.


How does Macbeth explain the dagger he sees floating before him?


Macbeth explains the dagger he sees floating before him saying that it is imaginary, yet it is so similar to the one I have. He says that it is directing him to Duncan’s room and returning with blood, prompting him to go and commit the murder.


What evidence is there in the text that Banquo has been tempted by the prophecy made to him? Is he trying to resist temptation?


The evidence in the text that Banquo has been tempted by the prophecy is that he dreamt of the witches and is not having and easy time falling asleep. He is trying to resist the temptation, that is shown when Macbeth tells him to stay by him and he will give him honour when it is time, however Banquo being a wise person says that I will help you in anything as long as it doesn’t make me lose any honour and keeps my conscious clear.



How does the dagger soliloquy atmosphere, advance the plot, and reveal character?


The Dagger soliloquy prepares the reader for the murder that Macbeth is about to commit. It shows us that Macbeth is now ready and has the courage to commit the murder. It advances the plot because it takes us to the climax of the scene and even the act as it is the event that causes all the chaos. 




Banquo is in the courtyard and says to his son Fleance to take his sword as it is getting very dark and he is very tired. Someone comes from the shadow and Banquo feels the need to protect himself with a sword. It turns out to be Macbeth. Banquo tells Macbeth that the King is sleeping that he is in a good mood. He also says that Macbeth has done a great job hosting him so far. Banquo tells Macbeth that he had a dream of the witches and that so far they have been right about Macbeth. Macbeth replies saying that he hasn’t thought of them but he would love to talk about them when Banquo is free. All of a sudden, Macbeth almost gives himself away by saying that if Banquo stays true and loyal to him now, when the time comes, Macbeth will give him honour. Banquo replies saying that “I would lose no honour to gain honour. As long as I can stay by you with a clear conscience, I will support you” Banquo is implying that Macbeth may be planning something evil and that he will only support him if what he is doing is in truth and not sinful. After Banquo and Fleance leave, Macbeth sees an imaginary dagger in front of him. Macbeth says to himself that the dagger he sees before him must be imaginary, however it is symbolizing what he’s about to do. He says that the dagger looks just like the one that he has in his pocket, he claims that the dagger is leading him to the place he is already going and that it is prompting him to the murder. This soliloquy shows that in Macbeth’s mind he is ready to commit the murder and it is taking him over so much that he is hallucinating about it. In the end he says that the more he talks, the more his courage cools, therefore he wants to commit the murder fast while he is still motivated and courageous.