What happens to Duncan's grooms in Act 2 of "Macbeth"?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act Two, Scene 2, Macbeth comes back from murdering King Duncan and his chamberlains. He is visibly upset and carries both daggers in his hands. Macbeth recounts to Lady Macbeth what happened in Duncan's chamber and tells her that Duncan's chamberlains spoke in their dreams. However, Macbeth's paranoia caused him to hallucinate and hear things that are not said. Macbeth believes that he hears one of the chamberlains say,

"Sleep no more!...Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more" (Shakespeare, 2.2.42-44). 

Macbeth then murders both of the chamberlains but forgets to leave the daggers in Duncan's chamber. However, Lady Macbeth takes the bloody daggers off of her husband, places them by Duncan's chamberlains, and smears blood on their clothes in order to give the illusion that they were responsible for the king's death. Essentially, Duncan's chamberlains are murdered and blamed for the king's assassination in Act Two. 

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Duncan's guards are sacrificed after Duncan is murdered. When Macbeth is on his way to kill Duncan, he passes the sleeping guards and thinks he hears “Sleep no more! Macbeth hath /murdered sleep. This causes Macbeth to leave Duncan's murder scene with the bloody daggers. This forces Lady Macbeth to return the daggers and put them by Duncan's body. Then, when Macduff announces the king has been murdered, Macbeth says he saw the body of Duncan and became so angry that he killed the guards. He blames the guards for the murder of the king and says they had blood all over them and the daggers in their hands. The poor guards have no chance to defend themselves and also are not left alive to tell anything they know about Duncan's death.