13th April 2018

MACBETH – Act 3 Summary

Scene 1

Characters: Banquo, Macbeth, Servant, First & Second Murderers, Lady Macbeth, Lenox, Rosse, Lords and Ladies, Attendants.

Location: The palace at Forres


Events: Banquo is suspicious that Macbeth killed Duncan, but he says to himself that if the prophecies of the witches have come true for Macbeth then they must come true for Banquo (his kid, grandkids etc) as well. Macbeth enters and asks Banquo if he would like to come to a feast with Macbeth, his Lady, and many other Scottish noble-people. Banquo says he is going riding that afternoon and will get back after sunset, but he’ll try to make it to the feast. Macbeth asks Banquo if he is riding far this afternoon and if Fleance (Banquo’s son) is joining him for the ride etc. Banquo leaves and Macbeth dismisses everyone until the evening feast. Macbeth says “what use is it being the king if I’m not as safe as the king” and says that he is afraid of calm, noble Banquo. Macbeth also says how because Banquo’s kids, grandkids etc will inherit the throne and it will not be passed down his own family, he has murdered Duncan for Banquo’s family line and his peace has been ruined for the benefit of Banquo’s kids, not his own. This all makes him want to kill Banquo and Fleance, which he plans to do while they are out riding. At that moment 2 murderers enter, and Macbeth explains (and over explains) why Banquo has caused their suffering and why he deserves to die, and Macbeth also says the murder must be in secret and concealed from the public. The murderers exit.

Quote(s): “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter in my grip, thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, no son of mine succeeding” – Macbeth 64. A crown and scepter have been given to me, but I can’t pass it on. I have been given the role of King, but no son of mine will take the throne after me. 

“It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight, If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.” – Macbeth 146. It is finished. Banquo, if your soul will find its way to heaven, it will be doing so tonight.

Scene 2

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Servant, Macbeth

Location: The palace at Forres


Events: Lady Macbeth asks a servant if Banquo is gone for the night; when the servant replies yes, she asks to see Macbeth for a few minutes. Before he enters, Lady M says to herself how it is safer/better to be the person murdered than to be the murderer and be paranoid and anxious all the time. Macbeth enters and after some discussion, says that they have slashed the snake but not killed it. He says he would rather be dead than endure this mental torture, because even those who are dead (or have been killed for so Macbeth could gain peace) can have peace, yet he cannot. He says how even though Duncan is a victim of treason, at least now he doesn’t have to worry about being killed or harmed. Lady Macbeth tells him not to think about it, and instead put on a happy face for the guests that evening. Macbeth agrees, and asks her to be extra nice to Banquo, even flirt a bit, so that it’ll hide their guilt. Lady M tells him to stop thinking about it, but he says “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” as he knows Banquo and Fleance are still alive (he can’t rest until they’ve been killed). However, Macbeth knows that before they go to sleep that night, B and F will be dead, and after another speech he leaves with Lady M.


“Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” – Macbeth 39. This quote contributes to the idea of Macbeth’s deteriorating state of mind throughout the play. 

“Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale.”
– Macbeth 47
Come, night, blindfold the kindhearted day and with your deadly and invisible hand,  kill Banquo, because it is he who keeps me in fear. 

Scene 3

Characters: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Murderers, Banquo, Fleance

Location: In the Forest outside of the castle

Time: Dusk

Events: (This is the scene of Banquo’s murder.) The two murderers are in the forest and a third comes to join them. They ask why he is here, and he says that Macbeth sent them. They decide to trust him, and they wait for Banquo and Fleance as the sun goes down. They see torches and then hear horses, but discuss that Banquo, like all other men, stop and walk the final mile to the castle. When B and F come near, the murderers attack, and Banquo yells at Fleance to run. The murderers kill Banquo and then put out the torch, but killer no. 3 goes “Why did we do that? There’s only one dead body here – Fleance must have got away”. No. 2 says “Darn it, we only got half the job done,” and No. 1 says “oh well, we’ll go and tell Macbeth anyway”. They exit with Banquo’s body.

Quote(s): O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge…” – Banquo, 20. Oh, this is treachery (betrayal of trust)! Run, my good Fleance! Someday you can get revenge. 

“We have lost best half of our affair.” 2nd murderer 24. Idk if this is significant, but the use of the word “best” could mean that Fleance was actually the more important one to kill, because it is he who will inherit the throne, not Banquo. Or it could just be Shakespearean language.

Scene 4

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Rosse, Lenox, Lords, Attendants

Location: A hall of the Palace. A banquet is prepared.

Time: Evening/Early morning of the next day

Events: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth enter the dining hall, followed by their court (rich people?). They sit down and talk, and the first murderer appears at the door. Macbeth goes to talk to him and hears that Banquo is dead, but Fleance is not. Macbeth becomes angry because this means his throne is still not secured. Macbeth turns around and pretends to be upset that Banquo didn’t come to the feast, but he then sees Banquo’s ghost sitting in his chair (the ghost is invisible to all the other guests, including Lady M). Macbeth is horrified and speaks to the ghost, whilst Lady Macbeth attempts to excuse his strange behaviour to the guests, saying he has “visions” etc. She then privately questions Macbeth’s manhood and tells him to stop being so weird. He snaps out of it and apologises to the guests, saying that “___”. The guests continue to party, but Banquo returns once again and scares Macbeth. Macbeth talks to Banquo again and Lady Macbeth gets everyone to leave, apologising many times and excusing Macbeth’s odd behaviour.


Scene 5

Characters: The three witches, Hecate

Location: The Heath

Time: I dunno

Events: Hecate (“chief witch”) is angry that the 3 witches talked to Macbeth without involving her. They prophesied to him (whom she calls ungrateful and spoilt) without giving Hecate a chance to show off her powers, so she is mad at the witches. However she says the witches can make it up to her by

Quote(s): “And I, the mistress of your charms, The close contriver of all harms, Was never called to bear my part, Or show the glory of our art?” Hecate 6. Hecate is angry because she is the “chief” witch, or the one with the most power and the most dangerous, was not invited to prophesy to Macbeth or decide his fate and show off her powers kinda thing. 

IMPORTANT:  “And all you know, security, is mortals’ chiefest enemy”. Hecate 32. As you all know, overconfidence, is a humans’ biggest enemy. This sort of explains Macbeth very well and becomes a kind of theme for the play??

Scene 6


Location: Somewhere in Scotland










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