Macbeth Personal Notes: Act 1 Scene 2

Macbeth Personal Notes: Act 1 Scene 2
Macbeth Personal Notes: Act 1 Scene 2

Setting: The scene is set in a camp near Forres

"As seemeth by his plight"

An injured sergeant is standing in front of the King Duncan. Duncan asks from his servants who the bleeding man is and concludes from his condition that he is in condition to report the latest developments of the revolt.

"Who like a good and hardy soldier fought 'gainst my captivity"

Malcolm, the elder son of the king, answers his father and tells him that the bleeding man is a sergeant, who fought to prevent him from being taken as a war prisoner. 

"Doubtful it stood"

The battlefield stood doubtful. It was difficult to say which side was winning as the soldiers from both sides were tired and as two swimmers who were exhausted holds onto each other so that neither can swim, the soldiers held each other making it impossible for either of them to win.

Macdonwald => the name of the rebel.

"Worthy to be a rebel"

Macdonwald is worthy to be called a rebel because evil people and thoughts swarm upon (gather near) him.

From western isles of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied

He is supplied with light armed foot soldiers and heavy armed infantry from the western isles (Ireland).

"And fortune, on his dammed quarrel smiling, showed like a rebel’s whore"

In the battle it seemed like the fortune was favoring the rebel as it was their whore. 

"But all's too weak, for brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valor's minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave"

Even though the fortune was siding with the rebel, it did not matter much for brave Macbeth. He defied the fortune and waved his sword, which smelled of fresh blood of the enemy soldiers, and like the favorite of Goddess Valor made his way through the battlefield till he confronted the rebel Macdonwald. 

"Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseamed him from the nave to the chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements"

Macbeth did not care for the manners of the battlefield which a warrior must follow, for he was fighting the traitor. He neither shook hands before their fight, nor said farewell after killing the rebel Macdonwald. Macbeth had split Macdonwald from belly to jaw and fixed his head on the wall of the castle, which signifies that the battle is over, and the rebellions have lost. 

"O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!"

King Duncan refers to Macbeth. It is not confirmed, but this either he is too impressed with Macbeth's bravery and call him a cousin to respect his efforts in the battle, or Macbeth is King's cousin. The latter is more likely as the actual Duncan and Macbeth were first cousins.

"As whence the sun 'gins his reflection shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seemed to come Discomfort swells."

Just like trouble comes when a glimpse of hope is visible. Like the terrible shipwrecking storms and thunders come right when the sun rises, so did a new trouble arise in the battlefield just when everyone thought the battle had been won.

"justice" => Here Macbeth is referred to as justice because his fight was just as he fought against the rebellions and traitors to protect his kingdom. 

"No sooner justice had, with valor armed, compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels, But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage, with furbished arms and new supplies of men, began a fresh assault."

As soon as Macbeth, who was equipped with valor and bravery, forced the enemy to run from the battlefield, the Norweyan lord took the advantage of the tiredness of the after battle and launched a fresh assault with reinforcements.

"Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?"

Didn't this trouble the generals of the army, Macbeth and Banquo?

"Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion"

Yes, it caused troubled for our generals just as a sparrow would cause for an eagle or a hare would cause for the lion.

"As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe"

They both were like cannons which were loaded with double charges of gunpowder. They fought new opponents with double the bravery and strength of their enemies.

"doubly redoubled" => The two sent back the attacks with double the strength, so the two person return one attack by their enemies by four times.

"Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, or memorize another Golgotha"

Maybe both of them wanted to take a bath in the enemy's blood or they wanted a create a place full of skulls of the fallen soldiers, a Golgotha.

Golgotha => The place where the Christ was crucified. Literally means place of the skulls.

"So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; They smack of honor both"

Your words and your wounds both are your honor. The wounds of the battlefield are honorable for a warrior.

"Go get him surgeons"

This shows Duncan is a generous king. He awards those who deserves it. Even though he is a sergeant, the King shows his righteousness by ordering the castle's doctors to look after him which also shows that he respects him, for he has been wounded while fighting for the kingdom.

"Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky and fan our people cold"

The Norwegian flag flies on Fife, mocking our country and scaring our people. 

"Bellona's bridegroom" => Macbeth is referred to as the husband of Bellona, Roman Goddess of War. He is the most worthy to be Bellona's husband because of his valor, strength and bravery.

"Confronted him with self-comparisons, point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm, curbing his lavish spirit, and to conclude, The victory fell on us"

Macbeth confronted the Thane of Cawdor with equal strength and valor. He pointed his swords against his and defeated him, thus subduing his treacherous ambitions.

Sweno => Name of the Norwegian King

"Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch Ten thousand dollars to our general use"

Now that the Norwegian King is defeated, he seeks a peace treaty. We will not even let him bury his soldiers till he retreats back to Saint Colme's Inch and pay use ten thousand dollars as war reparation.

"No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death, and with his former title greet Macbeth"

I will not let the Thane of Cawdor to deceive me any further so, pronounce his immediate execution and confer his title to Macbeth.

"What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won"

Again, we see that Duncan is a gracious king. He rewards those who have carried out their duties well. He rewards Macbeth for his output in the battle by giving him the title of Thane of Cawdor. 



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