MACBETH – ACT 3 SUMMARY

Scene 1

Characters: Banquo, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Attendant, 1 murderer, 2 murderer

Location: A room in a palace in Forres

Events: Banquo states his suspicion for Macbeth killing the king because that was what the witches had said. Macbeth and Banquo have a conversation about the feast coming up, that Banquo promises to attend. Banquo tells Macbeth that he and his son are going riding tonight. Macbeth brings in two murderers once Banquo has gone and convinces

Quotes:

 “He chid the sisters
When first they put the name of king upon me
And bade them speak to him. Then, prophetlike,
They hailed him father to a line of kings.
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
And put a barren scepter in my grip,”
(Macbeth)
Macbeth is concerned that Banquo knows that he killed the King because is the only other person that heard the witches prophecy. He also says that ‘they put a fruitless crown’ on his head – meaning his children will not become king, he will have no legacy because the witches had said that Banquo’s children would be kings, not his. Macbeth thinks – what is the point of being king if it helps Banquo’s children!
“It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight,
If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.”
(Macbeth)
Macbeth says that the deal is set (that his plan to kill Banquo and his son is put in place) and that if Banquo is to go to heaven then he will go there tonight (meaning he WILL die tonight!).
Scene 2
Characters: Lady Macbeth, Servant, Macbeth
Location: In Macbeth’s Castle
Events: Lady Macbeth is losing hope and wonders if what they did was worth it. She sends a servant to get Macbeth. Macbeth assure’s Lady Macbeth that it will all work out in the end. And the reason they both feel uneasy about the deed is that is is not yet complete. Macbeth has planned to have two murderers kill Banquo and his son Fleance tonight. He thinks this will finish off the job because he needs to kill the proposed future kings so that he can have his OWN legacy. He doesn’t tell Lady Macbeth this, instead, he says ‘a deed of dreadful note’ is put in place.
Quotes:
“Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.”
(Macbeth)
Macbeth refers to his mind as ‘full of scorpions’ because at this point in the piece he is experiencing many dark and evil thoughts. The scorpion metaphor illustrates that his mind is ‘full of poisonous insects’ that humans should FEAR and how this affects his train of thought and is making him react and perform acts of pure evil. This is also a benchmark for Macbeth’s mental state throughout the play and can be used to compare how his mental intentions and motives develop and change and the play evolves.
He also says that one of the main reasons why his mind is ‘full of scorpions’ is because Banquo and his son are still alive. This again proves that his evil motives are taking over his moral values. He feels although he can’t rest until the two of them are dead.
Scene 3
Characters: First murderer, Second murderer, Third murderer, Banquo,
Location: A wood just out of Macbeth’s castle (night)
Events: The three murderers hide in bushes, waiting for Banquo and his Son to pass through the woods on their horses. When they pass, the murderers light a torch and attacked them, bringing them off their horses and beating them. Banquo dies (‘with 20 gashes in the head’) but before he dies he tells fleance to RUN!!! The torch goes out and Fleance manages to escape. The murderers take Banquo’s body and leave the woods to tell Macbeth that the dead is done.
Quotes:
“O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
Thou may ’st revenge —O slave!”
(Banquo)
Banquo pleading his son to run away and hide.
Sence 4
Characters: Macbeth, Lords, Lady Macbeth, First Murderer, Lennox, Ross,
Location: In the dining hall in Macbeth’s castle
Events: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are hosting a feast to celebrate Macbeth becoming king. All the good lords and ladies of the land are expected to attend. They come into the hall and sit down to start the great feast. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth put on a happy face and try very hard to host their guest and not give off any kind of suspicion regarding the king’s death. Macbeth lies by saying he is disappointed that Banquo didn’t attend the feast (Macbeth killed him). As the feast begins the first murderer appears at the front doors covered in blood. Shocked that he would make such an appearance Macbeth quickly moves over to talk to him without the guest’s noticing. The murderer assures Macbeth that Banquo is killed, and tells him that his son fled. Macbeth is angered that Fleance wasn’t killed because this means he is not secure in his position as king – knowing that Banquo’s son will still become king after him. Macbeth returns to the feast. His guests ask him to sit down, but Macbeth doesn’t see any free seats. “The table is full,” he says. His guests say that there’s one free seat at the head of the table for him but FOR MACBETH that seat is taken by the ghost of Banquo!! Macbeth starts to go CRAZY and yells at the chair, saying crazy things. This worries Lady Macbeth because she doesn’t want him to accidentally spill any news about Duncan’s death. She apologizes to their guests and says that Macbeth often does this. Lady Macbeth has a word to Macbeth privately and tells him to snap out of it and become a man! The ghost disappears. Macbeth returns to the feast and apologizes for his actions. The ghost reappears and this time Macbeth is saying truly horrifying things. Without hesitation, Lady Macbeth asks all the guests to leave at once as the king and become ill.
Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that he thinks more ‘bloody’ are to be done. He wonders why Macduff didn’t come to the feast. Macbeth says that he is going to the witches tomorrow to hear his future fate and understand what he needs to do next.
Quotes:
“Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?”
(Macbeth)
Macbeth’s reaction to Fleance not being killed. He says that he had otherwise been perfect, everything he had done was thought through and things were starting to work out for him. But now that he failed to kill Fleance he is stuck and is being swarmed with doubts and fears about what is to come next! In the last line of this passage he says ‘but Banquo’s safe’. I think this line is interesting because he is asking the murderer if Banquo has been killed. Shakespeare changes the word killed to safe. This reflects Macbeth’s mind at the time and also how it is changing. At the beginning of the play, he is a soft character who we thought would never intentionally do something bad. The past events have changed Macbeth’s characteristics and because of this the term killed of death is now referred to as safe !!!
“It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.”
(Macbeth)
Macbeth worrying about the consequences that could follow his previous and future actions.
” I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”
(Macbeth)
This is a VERY important quote as it illustrates a dramatic change in Macbeth’s head. In this passage, he is saying that he is so far in the blood (referring to the actions he has performed) that going back is just as far as continuing. He thinks…. well, I’ve gotten this far so I might as well continue. 
Scene 5
Characters: First Witch, Hecate
Location: The heath
Events: The witches meet up with Hate (the goddess and chief witch). She says that she is disappointed that they intervened with Macbeth without consulting her first. She tells them that she is now going to take control of Macbeth and informs them that when he comes to visit them tomorrow they will full him with a false sense of security and mess with his head.
Quotes:
“As by the strength of their illusion

Shall draw him on to his confusion.

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear.
And you all know, security
Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.”
(Hecate)
In this passage, Hecate is saying that their next plan is to confuse Macbeth into thinking he is so powerful and has so much security that nothing can harm him. This is interesting because it introduces the idea that security is human’s worst enemy. This is Macbeth’s worse enemy and because of this Hecate and the other witches plan to give him a false sense of security to mess with him.
Scene 6
Character: Lennox, Lord,
Location: Somewhere in Scottland
Events: Lennox runs into a lord and they discuss the events that have happened to their kingdom. They talk about Banquo’s death and how everyone thinks his son Fleance killed him as he has now fled. Both men still suspect that Macbeth could have been the one that killed King Duncan and now possibly Banquo. The lord tells Lennox that Macduff has left for England where he will meet up with Malcolm to try and convince England that they need to help. Both Lennox and the lord hope that England can come and save Scottland from Macbeth!!
Quotes:
“May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accursed!”
(Lennox)
This quote proves that the people of Scottland are becoming cautious and suspicious of Macbeth and they are scared of what he might do next. They refer to Macbeth as a “tyrant” which means ‘a cruel or obbsessive ruler’.

 

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