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William Shakespeare


Act 2, Scene 2:
Some questions to test you!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 23 January 2014
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Macbeth has murdered Duncan and returns with the bloody daggers still clasped in his hands. He refuses to return to the king's bedchamber -- leaving Lady Macbeth to do the cleaning up.


Blood is one of the major themes of Macbeth. How many times can you find the mention of blood?

"What bloody man is that?" asks King Duncan when the captain comes to tell of Macbeth's heroics.

Macbeth's sword "smoked with bloody execution", the captain tells the king. Then the captain tells them that Macbeth caused the enemy to "bathe in reeking wounds" so as to "memorize another Golgotha".

Macbeth sees a ghostly dagger leading him to Duncan's chamber, its blade covered with "gouts of blood".

After the murder, Macbeth asks in anguish whether "all great Neptune's ocean [could] wash this blood clean from [his] hand".

Lady Macbeth returns the bloody daggers and states that, "if he do bleed [she would] gild the faces of the grooms withal".

She returns "with hands of your colour" but she is "ashamed to wear a heart so white".

After Banquo's murder, Macbeth comments that he was "in blood stepped in so far, that, should [he] wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er".

And then the ever-strong Lady Macbeth is overcome by the memories of Duncan's blood. She walks in her sleep and is forever looking for water to wash her hands.

Even then the smell of blood remains strong on them.

How many other examples can you find where blood is mentioned in the play? Note them. Count them.

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

The scene opens with Lady Macbeth expressing total confidence in herself.
  • Explain in your own words how you know this. (2)

[Need help?]

  • Is Lady Macbeth actually full of confidence? Explain. (4)

[Need help?]

  • What plans does Lady Macbeth have to assist Macbeth in the murder? (2)

[Need help?]

  • Do you believe Lady Macbeth when she says that she would have murdered the king if it were not for the fact that he reminded her of her father? (4)

[Need help?]

Macbeth says, "This is a sorry sight."
  • What is a sorry sight? (2)

[Need help?]

Macbeth is very troubled that, when the two chamberlains pray together, he is unable to join in their prayers.
  • Why does this trouble him? (5)

[Need help?]

Macbeth hears a voice that cries, "Sleep no more! Macbeth doth murder sleep."
  • Where in the play did we, the audience, first hear words of a similar nature? (2)

[Need help?]

  • Macbeth has essentially botched the murder, hasn't he? Explain how. (4)

[Need help?]

  • Already Macbeth regrets murdering Duncan. How do we know? (4)

[Need help?]

  • Macbeth, in speaking about sleep, says that sleep is "great Nature's second course". What does he mean by this? (4)

[Need help?]

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