13th April 2017

Macbeth, Act 3

Act 3 Scene 1- Summary †

Characters: Macbeth, Banquo, Attendant, Lady Macbeth, (Lenox, Rosse, Other lords are present but do not speak)

Location: Forres, a room in the palace

Time: Soon after Act 2 finishes

Events: Banquo reveals that he is leaving for a ride with his son, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth question him on this (Where, how long, with who? – Fleance) Banquo leaves, and Macbeth meets with three murderers. They discuss the murder of Banquo, and Macbeth makes it clear that he wants both Banquo and his son dead. This is because they are a threat to him as king. Macbeth has come to the realisation that, although it was him who killed the king and sinned, Banquo and his children are the ones who will benefit from it, as the witches promised.


Act 3 Scene 2 – Summary †

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Servant

Location: The same, but another room

Time:  That night, after Macbeth has spoken to the murderers

Events: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth provide council for each other, they must maintain a ‘mask’ or public face so that they can reinforce their power but they find some conciliation in each others words. Macbeth speaks about how they have only ‘wounded’ the snake by killing Banquo, but it will heal and be a threat once again. Macbeth talks about his mind being ‘full of scorpions’ meaning that his mental state is anxious and in danger. Macbeth keeps from his wife the plan to kill Banquo and Fleance to protect her from  knowing about it and taking any blame. he decides that he must further his evil actions in order to strengthen his hold on the crown.

Quote: O! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! – Macbeth speaking to Lady Macbeth about his own mental state and how he is being tormented by threats and anxiety, they could also represent how  Macbeth see’s Banquo and Fleance, perhaps all of his dilemmas rolled into one. A symbol of poison, death, danger, troubles. Lady Macbeth comforts him by saying that he will get what he wants, and that his enemys cannot live forever.

Act 3 Scene 3 – Summary †

Characters: Three murderers, Banquo, Fleance

Location: A park with a road leading to the palace

Time: Just after Scene 2

Events: The murderers lie in wait for Banquo and Fleance, and are joined by a third murderer, sent by Macbeth. Banquo screams for Fleance to run and get away, and someday hopefully get revenge he is then killed by the murderers but Fleance manages to escape unharmed.


Act 3 Scene 4 – Summary †

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Rosse, Lenox, Lords and attendants

Location: A banquet in a room of the castle

Time: Directly after scene 3

Events: A banquet has been arranged to celebrate Macbeth becoming king of Scotland, as Macbeth is about to take his seat, an apparition/ghost appears, it is that of Banquo who is bloodied and murdered. Banquo does not speak, only glares at Macbeth. No-one else can see the ghost except for Macbeth, Lady Macbeth attempts to cover up his ‘breakdown’ by saying he has a condition, and has had it since birth. Everyone is confused and the party is ended prematurely. The ghost is obviously not real,a figment of Macbeth’s mind, created due to his deteriorating mental state and anxiety, the vision of Banquo causes Macbeth to have multiple outbursts of confusion and horror, what Macbeth done is clearly causing problems to his mental health.

Quote: “It will have blood, they say, blood will have blood” – Macbeth, speaking to lady Macbeth. This almost seems that Macbeth is referring to ‘karma’. Blood has been spilled, and in turn more blood will be spilled.

Act 3 Scene 5 – Summary †

Characters: Three witches, Hecate

Location: The Heath

Time: unknown

Events: Hecate is infuriated with the witches for neglecting to include her in their affairs, as she is the ‘Mistress of their charms’

Act 3 Scene 6 – Summary †

Characters: Lenox and a Lord

Location: Somewhere in Scotland

Time: Unknown, (After Scene 5)

Events: A Lord and Lenox discuss how the state of Scotland is slowly deteriorating, people are having sleepless nights because they are afraid. They also discuss who is in England, Malcolm is seeking help from the King of England in order to overthrow Macbeth. Neither of them want to speak out against him, but Lenox has his suspicions about who truly killed the king, ‘officially’ the blame for Banquo’s murder has been placed on Fleance, his son who has fled. Both men agree that Macbeth is a tyrant.


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Macbeth, Writing