Act 2 Scene 2
Characters: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth
My Role: Lady Macbeth

Scene Analysis

Basic Events:
  • Lady Macbeth admires her great and clever plan to murder the king when she hears Macbeth cry out
  • She thinks her idea is brilliant and would have done it her self if the king didn't look so alike her father “had he not resembled... father as he slept” (2.2.12–13).
  • Macbeth enters with bloody hands regretting his actions, describes what happened, and Lady Macbeth tells him that guilt can simply be washed off with water
  • Lady Macbeth become irritated by the fact that Macbeth forgot to leave the daggers and decides to do it herself to frame the chamberlains
  • After hearing repeated knocking sounds Macbeth is frightened greatly and is ashamed of his actions “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood....Clean from my hand?” (2.2.58–59)
  • Lady Macbeth again mentions that the blood on their hands which represent guilt can be washed off with water and states “How easy it is then!” (2.2.65–66) then exits the scene.
Key purpose:
Act 2.2 is a key scene representing a main even in which the King is murdered by Macbeth. This event effects both characters in a way that transforms them later on in the play. Two very contrasting characters are observable as they show different reactions/ emotion toward the murder of King Duncan. The behavior of Lady Macbeth is surprising; she seems cold-hearted about the whole situation but says that she would have committed the murder herself if Duncan had not resembled her father so much. This proves how vulnerable she can be and how she compares the king with her father reflects how she does see the king as a respected personage although she has a great crave for power and wealth. Macbeth on the other hand is easily manipulated by the words of the three witches and his wife. Even after he commits the murder he regrets it greatly and fears the guilt he has to carry.
Reactions to the scene:
I think this scene is one of my favorite scenes in Macbeth not only because there is intensity and rapid progress in the story but also because distinct and contrasting characters are observable. I am fascinated how the behaviors and characters of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth transform after the murder of the king. Lady Macbeth gives me chills when she says my favorite line: "My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white....A little water clears us of this deed. How easy it is then!" (2.2. 68-72) She seems so powerful and in control of herself and almost numb to humanity because she is blinded by her crave for wealth and power. On the other hand Macbeth is so insecure and pushed around by his wife and regrets his actions and has mental break downs from the guilt he holds. His behavior and emotions that he expresses does not show an heroic or powerful leader-like character that Macbeth is first introduced to be nor as strong as he turns out to be in act 5. Overall I am glad our group was able to act out this scene and especially since I get to play Lady Macbeth I hope to get into character and feel the emotions that Lady Macbeth held.

Character Report-Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is obviously very eager to get rid of Duncan by persuading Macbeth to do so. She has a great greed for wealth and power and thinks it can be reached by the death of Duncan and Macbeth becoming king. Because she is so blinded by her greed she does not see or, rather, does not care about how the murder happens or Macbeth's feelings of guilt and shame.
Lady Macbeth always seemed to be eager for wealth and power and never satisfied with her situation and wanted more all the time. When she received the letter from Macbeth describing the events with the three witches, she thought it must be a good chance to make the prophets come true. Thus she manipulates her husband and plans a horrid/smart scheme to get what she wants.
Although the planned event of the murder went well, Lady Macbeth was probably not satisfied with Macbeth's actions. He acted weak and distressed and even made a mistake of bringing the daggers back, so Lady Macbeth had to do the job herself because it was a risky situation if the chamberlains were not framed.
Way of Speaking:
Lady Macbeth starts out with tranquility in her tone and is calm enough to think of all parts of the event she has planned. Unlike Macbeth who has uncoordinated lines that are jumpy, Lady Macbeth knows what she wants to say and reflects a distinct character of arrogance with her eloquent and swift dialects.
Lady Macbeth wants her husband to succeed in the scheme and thus gain wealth and power that she had always craved. She does not consider how Macbeth might feel or feel sorrow for Duncan or his family (even though he resembles her father). When Macbeth is frantic and shaken by guilt and shame of what he has done Lady Macbeth says "A little water clears us of this deed. How easy it is then!" (2.2. 72) which reflects how if shes satisfied then nothing matters to her.

Student Reflection
  • Evaluate the performance of your group. What went well? What didn’t go well?
    • Our group was well prepared with props and costume and even added a modern twist to it to allow the audience understand the scene more easily. We were in character and delivered the lines with accuracy and had swift/ planned out movement along with our lines. We were in emotion but our nervousness made us forget which parts had the more dramatic emotions so I thought we could have delivered some of the lines more realistically.
  • How well did you contribute to your group?
    • It was easy to contribute and cooperate within our group because there was only two people which made it easier to contribute more effort to make the scene look even better. We divided up the work such as bringing clothes or props, etc, and communicating well over the break.
  • How well did you perform as an individual?
    • I tried to be in character and make myself believe I was Lady Macbeth at that moment and enjoy the scene. However I think some of the more dramatic emotions were not fully delivered because I was reading the script. Overall I was satisfied with my performance and thought I delivered my best so that the audience could understand the scene.
  • What could have improved your scene performance?
    • Our group was well prepared and had practiced well so we did not have that many conflicts; next time I would like to try acting with the lines memorized because I think reading the script takes away the realistic tone and emotion.
  • How did the scene performance help you better understand the play.
    • In order to deliver my lines effectively I had to first understand the situation and then understand the character by reading the scene several times and looking for the objectives and motivations. Acting the scene out was an effective/ visual way of experiencing and understanding the scene better.