Jiffynotes index page

\\ home \ Macbeth:
Scene 2.3 and 2.4

Scene 2.3 - Scene continues, perhaps after a short pause
The loud knocking from the previous scene continues here. The porter of the castle, irritated that there is a knocking so late in the night, takes his time to open the gate, pretending to be the porter at hell's gate. He eventually opens the gate to allow Macduff, Thane of Fife, and the Thane of Lennox to enter. When Macduff asks the porter why it took so long to open the gate, the porter answers that he was drinking heavily that night, and he describes the art of drinking at length. Macduff tires of the porter, at which point Macbeth enters in his nightgown. Macduff asks Macbeth to show him to Duncan's chambers. Lennox, alone with Macbeth, describes the supernatural occurrences during the night of their travel to Inverness: powerful winds, strange voices, noisy owls, and earthquakes.
Macduff reenters after seeing the horrible image of his murdered king and instructs Macbeth and Lennox to see for themselves. Macbeth, seeing the evidence of the bloody daggers, and with Lennox as his witness, kills the two guards in their drunken stupor. Macduff shouts for everyone in the castle to wake up to know what has happened. Lady Macbeth acts innocent and outraged at the murder. Macbeth and Lennox break the news to Duncan's two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, that their father has been murdered. Macbeth asks for forgiveness that he killed the two guards, but then he begins to defend his execution of the guards vehemently to the crowd. Lady Macbeth, worried that he might give them away, faints.
The thanes decide to convene in order to plan how they will find out who did the bloody deed and to bring him down. Malcolm and Donalbain remain quiet all this time, and when they converse privately with each other, they conclude that the best thing for them to do right now is to split up and run away because with the murder of the king, the two princes are the next logical targets.

Scene 2.4 - Not far from Macbeth's castle
Ross and an old man discuss the strange events of the last day. Although it is daytime, it is still as dark as night. A falcon that flew to its peak height was caught and killed by an owl. And Duncan's normally obedient horses ran wild and ate each other. Macduff enters to give an update. Malcolm and Donalbain have fled to England and Ireland, which makes them the primary suspects of hiring the two guards who (the thanes believe) murdered Duncan, because the two princes stand to inherit the vacated throne. With them gone, Macbeth has been named the king of Scotland and will soon be crowned at Scone. Duncan's body will be carried to Colmekill, the burial place of Scottish kings.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scenes 1.1 and 1.2
Scene 1.3 - An open place
Scenes 1.4 and 1.5
Scenes 1.6 and 1.7
Scenes 2.1 and 2.2
Scene 2.3 and 2.4
Scene 3.1
Scenes 3.2 and 3.3
Scene 3.4
Scenes 3.5 and 3.6
Scene 4.1
Scene 4.2
Scene 4.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.3 and 5.4
Scenes 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, and 5.8
Scenes 5.9, 5.10, and 5.11


Copyright © 1999 - Jiffynotes.com. All Rights Reserved.
To cite information from this page, please cite the date when you
looked at our site and the author as Jiffynotes.com.
Privacy Statement