Macbeth Act 3


scene 1- Macbeth plots Banquo's murder 1

This scene opens with Banquo's soliloquy whcih allows the audience to hear his inner thoughtsBanquo is suspicious of Macbeth as he thinks Macbeth 'play'dst most foully' for the crown. Banquo is also still thinking about the Witches' prediction that his descendants will be kings. Banquo is ambitious as shown through the first scene of act one but is willing to let fate take its course.

Macbeth's soliloquy shows his attitude towards murder has changedIn act 1 Macbeth was tormented by killing Duncan and almost couldn't do it. However he is definite about killing Banquo. Muder has become easy for Macbeth.

Macbeth orders murderers to kill Banquo which shows Macbeth's character developmentIn act 1 scene 1 Macbeth was fearless but now can't kill his enemy himself. Macbeth has become a coward.

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scene 1- Macbeth plots Banquo's murder 2

Macbeth has become more like Lady MacbethMacbeth persuades the murderers to kill Banquo by questioning their masculinity, much like Lady Macbeth. He also lies to convince them Banquo is their enemy.

Macbeth thinks he can change fate and stop Banquo's descendants from becoming kings by killing Banquo and Fleance.

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scene 2- Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are insecure 1

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both feel insecure about Macbeth's position as king.

Oxymorons are used in this scene. Shakespeare uses the oxymorons 'doubtful joy' and 'restless ecstasy' to show Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's mixed emotions. They have gotten what they wanted but also feel guilty

Foreshadowing is used in this scene. Macbeth envies Duncan for not have 'malice domestic, foreign levy' (civil war and foreign armies). This foreshadows Macduff's uprising and the English army's attacks at the end of the play.

This scene shows a change in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationshipMacbeth's soliloquy in scene 1 Macbeth says he's going to have Banquo killed but doesn't confide in Lady Macbeth. This reflects how Macbeth is driven by his own ambition and anyone else doesn't matter.

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scene 2- Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are insecure 2

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have switched roles. Before, Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to 'look like the innocent flower' but now Macbeth tells her to make their 'faces vizards to our hearts'.

Macbeth uses animal imagery in this scene. Macbeth uses animal imagery like 'full of scorpions is my mind' and 'the bat has flown'. This sets an unsettling tone as the animals remind the audience of evil and emphasise Macbeth's insecurity and paranoia

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scene 3- Banquo is murdered

Another murderer is sent to kill Banquo. This shows Macbeth's paranoia as he doesn't trust anyone and therefore can't trust if Banquo will be murdered. 

The sun is setting and darkness is coming. The sun is setting as there are still 'glimmers with some streaks of day' and darkness is coming. This symbolises the terror of Macbeth's reign. Banquo has a torch; the light is symbolic of Banquo's goodness. However, when Banquo is murdered the light goes out showing that his goodness has been destroyed.

Fleance escapes which means the Witches' prediction about Banquo's descendants coming king can still become trueThis shows that it's impossible to cheat fate which suggests that Macbeth would have become king without murdering people.

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scene 4- Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost 1

Macbeth holds a feastMacbeth is happy to 'play the humble host'. The verb 'play' suggests Macbeth's hospitality is false.

Macbeth is in a good mood because he thinks Banquo and Fleance are dead. One of the murderers tells Macbeth that Banquo is dead but Fleance escaped. Macbeth replies that he's 'cabined, cribbed and confined'. The alliteration emphasises how trapped Macbeth feels because he know his position as king isn't secure while Fleance lives.

Banquo's ghost appears after Macbeth finds out that Banquo is dead but not FleanceBanquo's ghost is a personified form of Macbeth's guilt and is an important dramatic device. Only Macbeth can see the ghost which makes the audience question whether Banquo's ghost is real or a figment of Macbeth's imagination. Similarly, Banquo's ghost appears when Macbeth says 'Banquo' which suggests that the ghost is Macbeth's guilt personified.

In the previous scene Macbeth envied Duncan because Duncan was at peace but the ghost of Banquo implies that Macbeth won't be at peace even in death. This links to when Macbeth murdered Duncan when he heard a voice cry 'Macbeth has murdered sleep'.

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scene 4- Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost 2

Lady Macbeth has to pretend that Macbeth is ill because his behaviour is so strangeThis shows that Lady Macbeth is taking charge again and it echoes act 1, scene 1 when she questions his masculinity by asking him 'are you a man?' because she believes fear isn't manly. 

Macbeth says 'It will have blood they say- blood will have blood.The repetition of blood shows Macbeth's realisation and fear of his inevitable downfall.

Macbeth says he has killed so many people that 'returning were as tedious as go o'er' (going back to normal would be as hard as murdering). This shows that Macbeth is despairing because he doesn't want to keep killing but he believes it to be the only way he can still be king. Macbeth murdered to get the throne and now he's having to murder to keep it. Macbeth says he's 'in blood, stepped in so far' which shows that he's beginning to break down which has been triggered by seeing Banquo's ghost.

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scene 5- The Witches meet with Hecate

The Goddess of Magic, Hecate, is annoyed that the Witches didn't involve her in the meddling with Macbeth.

This is a dark scene which creates an atmosphere of fear and evil.

The Witches plan to summon apparitions to trick Macbeth into being overconfidentThe Witches say 'security is mortals' chiefest enemy'. They believe that by making Macbeth overconfident he'll continue his reign of terror which will cause the natural order to end up in chaos.

Hecate says that Macbeth will 'spurn fate' as Macbeth believes he can change fate by killing Banquo and Fleance to stop Banquo's descendants from becoming king.

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scene 6- Lennox plans a revolt 1

This scene is a bridge between Act 3 and Act 4.

The minor characters inform the audience of everything that's happened; Macduff's raised an army against Macbeth and Malcom is in England.

Lennox suspects that Macbeth is responsible for Duncan and Banquo's murderLennox knows not to accuse the king because he knows that Macduff 'lives in disgrace' for doing so. However his true thoughts are revealed through his speech. The tone of his monologue is sarcastic. When he says that Duncan's murder 'did grieve Macbeth' he means the opposite. Additionally, Lennox uses rhetorical questions. When he says 'to kill their gracious father?' he doesn't believe that Malcom and Donalbain would kill Duncan. Similarly, Lennox's speech is full of exclamations such as 'But peace!' and 'Damned fact!'. This shows that he is angry. The short sentences suggest that he's trying to hold back his anger so he doesn't upset the king.

Shakespeare wrote this scene from the perspective of the minor characters to show Scotland's feelings about Macbeth's reign. This develops a sense of unrest in Scotland which mirrors 'Macbeth has murdered sleep'.

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scene 6- Lennox plans a revolt 2

In Shakespearean England people believed that the king was appointed by GodWhen the Lord calls King Edward 'holy' it shows that Edward is the rightful king of England. Therefore when Malcom receives help from Edward it shows that God is giving Malcom help. Since Malcom is getting help from 'Him above', they believe Malcom is the rightful King of Scotland.

Lennox ends the scene by sending a message to England to help them overthrow MacbethLennox sends a message to the English Court to free them from the 'hand accursed'. This builds tension as the audience is unsure how far Macbeth will go. It also reminds the audience of the Witches prediction about Banquo's descendants becoming king as Macbeth's death is inevitable.

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