Act TWO Scene 1 How would you describe Macbeth's state of mind as he makes his way to Duncan's chambers?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth seems to recognize that the dagger he sees just as he is about to make his way to Duncan's chamber is a hallucination; he calls it a "dagger of the mind, a false creation / Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain" (2.1.50-51). His mind is overwrought, and he seems to feel conflicted about the deed he's about to do. Macbeth's state of mind is conflicted, nervous, and troubled. Were he completely comfortable with this murder, then his brain would not be feverish in this moment. A calm and sober person does not hallucinate; Macbeth, on the other hand, is so hyper-alert and agitated that his imagination seems to work overtime.

Macbeth also seems to feel a sense of dread, referencing Hecate and witchcraft, "wicked dreams," and how "Nature seems dead." He wishes to hide himself and his actions from the earth, and he is afraid that the "very stones [will] prate of [his] whereabouts." Macbeth fears the act he is about to perform, and he fears discovery of his action and guilt as well. He persuades himself to go forward with the murder, focusing, at the end of the scene, on its completion rather than its execution, saying, "I go, and it is done" (2.1.75). He seems just to want the murder behind him, and so he drives himself forward despite his reservations. He is resolved but deeply troubled.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth is seriously conflicted in his mind as he approaches Duncan's chamber and considers the deed which he will commit. As soon as he is alone in the darkness he begins to hallucinate: seeing a ghastly dagger which appears to direct his actions-

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

Macbeth is under no illusion that his deed is evil, so is aware of the gravity of his sin -

Now o'er the one half-world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep;

He is however regretful that Duncan has to die for him to succeed, and his final lines show the confusion Macbeth has-

I go, and it is done: the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.

Macbeth seems unsure as to whether he is condemning his king to hell or himself. It is inevitable that they will not both end up in the same place.

muhliskurbanov | Student

In what ways does this soliloquy represent an apparent change in Macbeth?

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