Act 3, Scene 1

Characters: Banquo, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Lennox, Rosse, Lords, Servant, Two murderers.

Location: Forres. The palace.

Time: Specific time is unknown. Macbeth has become king.

Events: Banquo suspects that Macbeth has cheated to win the titles that the witches promised him and since all of their prediction have become reality, Banquo expects his descendants to become kings as well. Macbeth is very aware of this prophecy, and the thought of somebody outside his family taking his crown makes him feel threatened and paranoid. This leads Macbeth to make the decision of killing Banquo, along with his son Fleance. He orders two murderers to conduct the procedure before the banquet Banquo is supposed to be attending that night.

Quote: For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered; put rancors in the vessel of my peace only for them; and mine eternal jewel”  (Macbeth) feels that the sacrifices he has made, and jeopardy for his moral standards and virtue all to become king, will only benefit Banquo and his descendants.  

 

Act 3, Scene 2

Characters: Lady Macbeth, Waiting Gentlewoman, Macbeth.

Location: Forres. The palace.

Time: Specific time is unknown. Banquo and Fleance have left the castle and are due to be killed sometime soon.

Events: The crimes that Macbeth has committed to reaching his desire of becoming king have been completed, but at the time he thought his mind would be filled with satisfaction and joy, he has found his thoughts are all based on remorse and paranoia. Lady Macbeth also doesn’t feel completely fulfilled after the sacrifices that have been made to reach her final destination of becoming queen. Without giving the full explanation, Macbeth suggests that a shameful deed awaits, involving Banquo and Fleance when speaking to Lady Macbeth. She must wait until the banquet to find out the further details.

Quote: “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” (Macbeth to Lady Macbeth.) A metaphor Macbeth uses to clearly express what is going through his mind.

 

Act 3, Scene 3

Characters: Three murderers, Banquo, Fleance.

Location: Forres. A park near the palace.

Time: Evening: “The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day.”

Events: The two murderers are accompanied by a third murderer who claims he was sent by Macbeth. Fleance and Banquo approach the murderers on their horses. Banquo is murdered, however, Fleance escapes.

Quote: “O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou may ’st revenge —O slave!” (Banquo.) Banquo is encouraging Fleance to try his hardest to escape and get revenge, whilst Banquo is near his death.

 

Act 3, Scene 4

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Rosse, Lennox, Lords, Attendants, First Murderer, Ghost of Banquo

Location: A room of state in the palace. 

Time: Night of the banquet.

Events: The banquet has begun when Macbeth walks aside to talk to the murderer who explains that Banquo has been killed but Fleance has escaped, this worries Macbeth to a great extent as he quotesThen 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.” The fact that Fleance is still out there, a threat to Macbeth’s throne and perhaps seeking revenge as Banquo suggested in his final moments of life; frightens Macbeth, leaving him paranoid yet again. As Macbeth returns to the banquet, the Ghost of Banquo has taken his seat. Macbeth immediately defends himself, and questions who could possibly commit such a shameful crime. He comes to the realisation that he is the only one in the room who can see the ghost as the guests are confused and think he might be ill. When the Ghost of Banquo vanishes, he blames his fit of panic on a disorder. Shortly the ghost appears again throwing Macbeth into another wobbly, and Lady Macbeth has no other choice to cancel the banquet. Macbeth decides to visit the three witches to find out what lies ahead.

Quote: “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”  (Macbeth) Macbeth believes that it would be just as hard to keep killing as it would be to return to being the good man he used to be. This quote highlights how Macbeth has changed as a person from the beginning of the play, his moral compass has failed and he is willing to jeopardise all of his virtue to keep his secret hidden.

 

Act 3, Scene 5

Characters: Three witches, Hecat.

Location: A heath.

Time: Specific time unknown. Before noon.

Events: Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and the ruler of the three witches, expresses her fury regarding the witches prophesising about Macbeth’s future without her attendance. She plans to meet with the witches in the pit of Acheron the next day.

Quote: “He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear; and as you all know, security is mortals’ chiefest enemy.” (Hecate) Macbeth’s arrogance and overconfidence can become a downfall.

 

Act 3, Scene 6 

Characters: Lennox, Lord.

Location: Forres. The palace.

Time: Unknown.

 

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