Act 2, scene i Summary:
Banquo walks with his son, Fleance, along the halls of Macbeth's castle. Even though it is after midnight Banquo is unable to sleep due to nightmares. Macbeth and a servant enter and Banquo can't believe Macbeth is still up. He explains to Macbeth that he dreamt about the three witches the night before and Macbeth responds by saying although he doesn't think about them anymore if Banquo is willing he will gladly talk about them. The pair agree to discuss them later. Banquo and Fleance leave. Macbeth imagines he sees a dagger in front of him and tries to grab it. He's not sure if what he sees is real or not. He shakes off his trance-like state, gathers his courage and heads toward Duncan's room.
Act 2, scene ii Summary:
As Macbeth leaves, Lady Macbeth enters claiming that the alcohol has made her bold. She hears an owl shriek and thinks Macbeth must be killing the king at this moment. She hears Macbeth call out and is afraid the servants woke up and he was unable to kill Duncan. She can't imagine how the plan didn't work since she laid out the dagger where Macbeth would find it. Macbeth enters carrying a bloody dagger and says he killed the king. He explains he heard them say their prayers before falling back asleep. Macbeth appears upset and seems to feel some remorse about his crime. Lady Macbeth tries to console him but then realizes that he forgot to leave the bloody dagger with the servants in order to frame them. She demands he takes it back and smear the guards with blood. Macbeth is too frightened and refuses to go forcing Lady Macbeth to do it herself. As she leaves, Macbeth hears a strange knocking and can't figure out where it's coming from. Lady Macbeth returns and leads Macbeth to their bedroom where he can wash the blood off himself, clearing him of any guilt.
Act 2, scene iii Summary:
A drunk doorman stumbles in to answer the continual knocking. He pretends to be a gatekeeper in hell and asks who's there in the name of the devil. Macduff and Lennox enter and Macduff wonders what took him so long to open the door. The porter responds that he was out drinking until late and goes on to explain the effects of alcholol on a man, including making a red nose, makes one tired and have to urinate. He goes on to explain that alcohol takes away the ability for a man to have sex. Macbeth enters and Macduff asks him if the king is awake yet. Macduff says he must go wake him so Macbeth offers to take him to his room. As they are entering the room, Lennox describes the terrible storm they had last night where people were complaining of hearing strange screams of death and terrible voices and he's never seen anything like it. Suddenly Macduff enters shouting that the king has been murdered but it's too terrible for him to talk about. Macbeth and Lennox go look and Lady Macbeth appears wondering what is going on. Banquo enters and soon after Malcolm and Donalbain follow. Macbeth tells the brothers that their father has been killed. Lexon notes it appears the guards are the murderers because their daggers were found on their pillows covered in blood. Macbeth claims that in his rage he killed the guards although Macduff remains skeptical about their deaths. Meanwhile Macbeth and Banquo decide to meet with the lords to discuss the king's murder. Malcolm and Donalbain whisper to each other that they will have time to grieve later but for now they must flee before they become hunted as well.
Act 2, scene iv Summary:
Ross and an old man walk together outside the castle discussing the strange events over the past few days: it's day but it's dark outside, last Tuesday a falcoln was circling in the sky and was caught and killed by an owl that typically eats mice, and Duncan's fabulous horses broek out of their stalls and turned wild, eating each other. Macduff enters and Ross asks who killed the king. Macduff explains the king's sons have fled and Macbeth has been made king. He adds it appears the king's guards are the murderers and they must have been paid off by someone although suspicion now falls on the sons since they fled. Macduff heads for home and Ross leaves for Scone to see Macbeth crowned king.