Macbeth – Understanding Act III

Describe Banquo’s opening soliloquy in Act III, Scene 1. What is revealed? Banquo suspects that Macbeth murdered Duncan, but he decides not to voice his suspicions.
How and why does MacBeth arrange Banquo’s murder? Is Lady Macbeth involved on the murder? Macbeth sees Banquo as a threat. He hires murderers and convinces them that Banquo wronger them. Lady Macbeth is not involved
In scene 3, who escapes the murderers? Fleance escapes the murderers
What happens in scene 4 when Ross, Lennox, and the other lords invite MacBeth to share their table? What does Macbeth do? Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost and speaks to him.
How does Lady MacBeth respond to MacBeth’s odd behavior at the Banquet? Lady Macbeth tries to cover for Macbeth by saying that he customarily has fits; Upon the second outburst, she hurriedly dismisses the guests
Malcolm does not appear at all in Act 3. Where is he, and why? He has gone to the court of Edward, King of England, to ask for an army to help overthrow Macbeth
By scene 6, what opinion do Lennox and the other lord hold of MacBeth? How do they reveal their thoughts? They believe he is guilty of the murderers of Duncan and Banquo and has become a tyrant. Though they do not outright accuse, they “gossip” and speculate.
One lord/thane is actively pursuing a way to displace MacBeth. Who? What does he do to advance his plans? MacDuff has ridden to England to seek Malcolm’s return to Scotland and reclaim the throne.
MacBeth does not kill Banquo with his own lands, as he killed Duncan and his two guards. What can you infer about Macbeth’s changing character after seeing how he engages in this complex plan involving professional murderers? He is not only growing accustomed to murder but becoming more devious in his planning and arranging of the crime
The relationship between MacBeth and Lady MacBeth has changed in several ways since they became rulers of Scotland. Find details in this act that reveal some of the changes. What reasons can you suggest for these changes? Lady MacBeth planned the first murderer, but MacBeth plans Banquo’s murder without consulting her. They were very close as they planned and carried out Duncan’s murder, and now she is not in his confidence. Perhaps their feeling of guilt and their growing distrust of others have eroded their trust in each other
In Shakespeare’s tragedies, a turning point- and even that moves the action ever downward to its tragic conclusion- usually occurs in the third act. How is Fleance’s escape a turning point in this play? It is the first time that MacBeth’s plans have gone wrong and it leave open the possibility that Banquo’s descendants will be kings
How does this banquet scene muddy the distinction that most of us make between the real and the imaginary? In what other scene has this distinction also been blurred? The scene leaves open the question of whether the ghost is real or MacBeth’s hallucination. This blurring also occurs in the witches’ scene and in the descriptions of the natural world’s response to Duncan’s murder
Nobody except MacBeth sees Banquo’s ghost.In some productions of the play, the ghost does not appear onstage; in others it does. If you were the director, which would you choose? What effect is created by having Banquo appear at the banquet, made up as a ghost? What is gained by having it appear as though no real person is the motivation for MacBeth’s terrifying behavior? Having Banquo’s ghost appear on stage blurs the distinction between the real and the imaginary and shows the strong influence guilt can have on the mind of a murderer. Having no ghost at all emphasizes the banquet guests’ growing realization that MacBeth is seriously disturbed
After his vision of Banquo’s ghost in scene 4, MacBeth finally accepts that “blood will have blood”. What does this phrase mean? Is it relevant to today’s world? How? Those guilty of taking a life will be found out and will pay with their own lives. The line is relevant today in the debate over the death penalty and gang violence
Shakespeare never reveals the identity of the Third Murderer, introduced in scene 3. Who do you think the Third Murder is? Do you think the introduction of this Third Murderer is a flaw in the plan? Explain. The murderer might be MacBeth in disguise, one of MacBeth’s men, one of Banquo’s men, or one of the witches

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