In Act 2 Scene 2, how is Macbeth's behavior different from the earlier scenes?   How has his behavior changed?

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amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Macbeth begins to lose his mind a bit because of the guilt.

Act II, Scene ii is when Macbeth murders Duncan. Upon doing so, he immediately regrets it. His conscience gets the best of him. When he first goes in to commit the deed, one of the servants cries out 'murder' in his sleep. Then the other says, "God bless us." The other servant adds "Amen." Macbeth cannot summon himself to say "Amen," which shows that his guilty conscience is actually manipulating his mind and his mouth. This is also where he begins to hallucinate. He starts hearing voices that he "hath murdered sleep." When there is a knock at the door (it is MacDuff and Lennox), both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are literally caught red-handed (blood). This adds a visual stain of guilt to Macbeth's already guilty conscience.

Prior to this, Macbeth (in Act I) appears to be a loyal subject. It isn’t until Act I, Scene vii that Lady Macbeth and he discuss killing Duncan. Macbeth is just as complicit (moreso) than Lady, so she is only partly to blame. Fate or not, Macbeth is weak enough to listen to all voices (Lady, Witches, hallucinations) but not his own.

juppal123's profile pic

juppal123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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Macbeth begins to lose his mind a bit because of the guilt.

Act II, Scene ii is when Macbeth murders Duncan. Upon doing so, he immediately regrets it. His conscience gets the best of him. When he first goes in to commit the deed, one of the servants cries out 'murder' in his sleep. Then the other says, "God bless us." The other servant adds "Amen." Macbeth cannot summon himself to say "Amen," which shows that his guilty conscience is actually manipulating his mind and his mouth. This is also where he begins to hallucinate. He starts hearing voices that he "hath murdered sleep." When there is a knock at the door (it is MacDuff and Lennox), both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are literally caught red-handed (blood). This adds a visual stain of guilt to Macbeth's already guilty conscience.

Prior to this, Macbeth (in Act I) appears to be a loyal subject. It isn’t until Act I, Scene vii that Lady Macbeth and he discuss killing Duncan. Macbeth is just as complicit (moreso) than Lady, so she is only partly to blame. Fate or not, Macbeth is weak enough to listen to all voices (Lady, Witches, hallucinations) but not his own.

 

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