Important Short Questions & Answers from William Shakespeare's Macbeth : Act II

Act – II

Scene – I

The belief in evil spirits, and in the power of witches to do harm by their aid, was wide-spread both amongst Catholics and Protestants in the i6th and 17th centuries England.

1. Who is Hecate?

           Hecate, in Greek mythology, goddess of darkness, and the daughter of the Titans Perses and Asteria. Unlike Artemis, who represented the moonlight and splendor of the night, Hecate represented its darkness and its terrors. On moonless nights she was believed to roam the earth with a pack of ghostly, howling dogs. She was the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft and was especially worshiped by magicians and witches. However, The introduction of Hecate is only but a superfluous character who takes no real part in the action of the play.

2. Was the dagger seen by Macbeth is real?

            No, the dagger was a creation of his heat oppressed brain.

3. Who is ‘Tarquin’?

            Tarquin was the last king of Rome, expelled from Rome for high disposition.

Try To Answer these Questions:  What opinion have you formed of Banquo in this scene? What are the cursed thoughts? Would you have the dagger visible to the audience? Why not let the audience see Macbeth in the act of murdering the king?

Scene – II

5. What is the importance of the Act II – Scene II?

 This scene revolves around the murder of King Duncan and it is accompanied by a bell tolling, and the shrieking of an owl.  Both these add to the suspense and tension regarding this evil deed.

6. Who is called the ‘fatal bellman’ by Lady Macbeth?

            The owl that shrieked on the night of Duncan’s murder is called the ‘fatal bell-man’.

7. What is Neptune?

            Neptune is the God of the sea.

8. What is the meaning of multitudinous sea?

            It means (i) the entire seas toxin together.
                        (ii) The many waves of the sea.

Try To Answer these Questions:  What is the Purpose of presenting Lady Macbeth alone at the beginning of the scene? How are the words My husband spoken—should they express affection, surprise, inquiry, terror? How does the knocking at the gate affect Macbeth?

Scene – III

There is an ominous knocking at the castle gate symbolizing the outside world seeking justice or vengeance for the evil murder of the King. Speaking of Macbeth, act ii. sc. 3, Coleridge says: "This low soliloquy of the Porter and his few speeches afterwards I believe to have been written for the mob by some other hand, perhaps with Shakespeare's consent.

9. Who is the ‘other devil’?

            The other devil is Satan.

10. Who is the equivocator?

            Equivocator means (i) Jesuit perjurvor of law court, (ii) one who equivocates i.e. one who speak vaguely or ambiguously, especially in order to mislead

11. What is the meaning of the ‘second coex’?

            ‘The second Coex’ means 3’o clock at night.

12. Where did Malcolm and Donalbain flu after Duncan’s murder?

            Malcolm fled to England, and Donalbain to Ireland.

Try To Answer these Questions:  What fancy has seized the drunken porter, and what suggested it? In the lines beginning Had I but died, is Macbeth acting a part, or speaking unguardedly? What is the reason for closing the scene with the dialogue between Malcolm and Donalbain?

Scene –IV

This scene takes place in complete darkness except for the lantern held by the murderers of Banquo. During the struggle, the light is extinguished, and one of the murderers says, “Who did strike out the lights?”   This symbolizes the life of Banquo being struck out, and in the darkness Fleance escapes.

13. Who said “It is said they ‘ate each other’ –
       Who are they?

            Old man said this to Ross.
            Here they refer to Duncan’s horses.

14. Where was Duncan’s body carried?

            Duncan’s body was carried to Colmekill, the ancient cemetery the Scottish kings.

Try To Answer these Questions:  What difference do you note between Macduff's
character and the character of Ross? Does Macduff reveal his mind to the old man?

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