In Macbeth, what line of Scene 3 tells us what happened to Duncan's guards?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In act 2, scene 3 Macduff asks Macbeth if Duncan is awake.  Macbeth says no. Macduff goes to get/wake the king and comes back screaming "O horror, horror, horror."  Macbeth must do an amazing job of acting shocked, because he exits with Lennox to go check and see if Macduff is correct.  While off checking in on the king, Macbeth kills the guards in a fit of rage.  When Macbeth and Lennox return Malcolm asks who could have killed the king.  Lennox explains that it was the guards because he and Macbeth found them covered in blood with the bloody daggers (which was all a setup done by Lady Macbeth).  That's when Macbeth says that his rage got the better of him and that he killed the guards.  Macduff is a bit upset and asks Macbeth why he did such a thing and Macbeth claims that the horrible sight of his dead king along with the bloodied guards was too much to bear and that he couldn't control his violent response.  The actual text goes as follows:

  • MacduffYour royal father's murder'd.
  • LennoxThose of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done 't: 
    Their hands and faces were an badged with blood; 
    So were their daggers, which unwiped we found 
    Upon their pillows: 
    They stared, and were distracted; no man's life 
    Was to be trusted with them.
  • MacbethO, yet I do repent me of my fury, 
    That I did kill them.
  • MacbethWho can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, 
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: 
    The expedition my violent love 
    Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan, 
    His silver skin laced with his golden blood; 
    And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature 
    For ruin's wasteful entrance: there, the murderers, 
    Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers 
    Unmannerly breech'd with gore: who could refrain, 
    That had a heart to love, and in that heart 
    Courage to make 's love known?