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Macbeth: Novel Summary: Act 1, Scene 7-Act 2, Scene 1

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Act 1, Scene 7: Macbeth is confused about his course of action.  He wishes that Duncan's murder were an end in itself, tying up all loose ends with the result of sovereignty.  Macbeth also wonders whether the crime is worth all of his effort; for a few moments of mortal pleasure, he may be condemned to eternal damnation in Hell.  In addition, he tells himself that the crime will be even more ghastly because Macbeth is Duncan's kinsman, subject and host.  It is the assumed duty of the host to protect his guests, not kill them.  Furthermore, Macbeth says that Duncan's virtuous nature will make his murder seem all the more brutal.

Lady Macbeth enters the room and asks Macbeth why he is not dining with Duncan.  Macbeth tells his wife that he does not want to proceed with their plans.  She furiously asks Macbeth why he is so afraid to be the same in action as he is in desire.  In addition, she declares him a sickly coward. She assures her husband that they will not fail in their mission.  Lady Macbeth explains that they will poison King Duncan and his servants' wine with sleeping pills and that Macbeth will murder Duncan in his sleep.  Finally convinced by his wife, he agrees to carry through with the plans with the semblance of an amicable host.
Act 2, Scene 1: Banquo and his son Fleance walk toward their rooms after all of the merrymaking is over.  Banquo tells Fleance that he is unable to sleep because of his troubling thoughts.  He is wondering if Macbeth will take fate into his own hands to try and realize the witches' prophecies.  The pair meets up with Macbeth, who is also roaming the hallways.  Banquo tells Macbeth of King Duncan's pleasure at having been so royally treated.  He asks Macbeth if he has been thinking of the weird sisters; Macbeth falsely responds in the negative.  Again, he asks Banquo to talk with him at a later date about the strange events of that night.  It seems that Macbeth seeks an intelligent and compassionate friend like Banquo to be his confidante in crime.  Macbeth summons his wife and suddenly finds himself clutching a dagger, which stuns him.  He sees imaginary drops of blood on the dagger that he will use to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth gives him the signal, and he proceeds towards Duncan's room to kill him.


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