Macbeth Act 3

Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare later in his career about a Scottish nobleman’s obsession with power. It’s one of Shakespeare’s timeless classics.”

In this post, I will provide a comprehensive plot summary of Macbeth Act 3, broken down by scene with corresponding questions and answers for each section.

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macbeth act 3

Macbeth Act 3

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 1

Inside the king’s castle in Forres, Banquo walks around, thinking about the witches’ prophecies. They said Macbeth would be king, but they also hinted that Banquo’s descendants would become kings. Banquo, feeling ambitious, wonders if these prophecies will come true for him as well. Macbeth, who is now the king, enters with Lady Macbeth and their court. They invite Banquo to a feast that evening, and Banquo agrees but mentions he’ll be out riding his horse for the afternoon. Macbeth is worried about Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan’s sons, who have fled and might pose a threat to his rule.

After Banquo leaves, Macbeth dismisses the court and stays alone with a servant. He shares his concerns about Banquo, fearing that his descendants will take the throne. Macbeth knows his own crown will be “fruitless” if he has no heir. He decides to take action and orders two murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance when they come for the feast.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 1

  1. Q: Where does this scene take place in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”?
    • A: This scene takes place inside the king’s castle in Forres.
  2. Q: What is Banquo thinking about as he walks around in this scene?
    • A: Banquo is thinking about the witches’ prophecies, particularly the part that hinted his descendants would become kings.
  3. Q: Who is the current king in this scene, and what are his concerns?
    • A: Macbeth is the current king, and he is worried about Duncan’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, who have fled and might pose a threat to his rule.
  4. Q: How does Macbeth feel about Banquo’s ambitions and the witches’ prophecy regarding Banquo’s descendants?
    • A: Macbeth is concerned that Banquo’s ambitions and the prophecy about his descendants becoming kings could threaten his own reign.
  5. Q: What invitation does Macbeth extend to Banquo, and how does Banquo respond?
    • A: Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast that evening, and Banquo agrees but mentions that he’ll be out riding his horse for the afternoon.
  6. Q: Why does Macbeth decide to take action against Banquo?
    • A: Macbeth fears that Banquo’s descendants will take the throne, making his own crown “fruitless” without an heir.
  7. Q: Whom does Macbeth enlist to carry out his plan to kill Banquo and Fleance?
    • A: Macbeth orders two murderers to carry out the plan to kill Banquo and his son Fleance when they come for the feast.
  8. Q: What is the significance of Macbeth’s decision to eliminate Banquo and Fleance?
    • A: Macbeth’s decision marks a turning point in the play, as it sets in motion a series of murders and conspiracies that will lead to further bloodshed and chaos.
  9. Q: How does Macbeth’s relationship with Lady Macbeth play a role in his decision to take action?
    • A: Lady Macbeth is not directly involved in this decision, but her ambition and influence have previously spurred Macbeth to commit murder, and his concern for their dynasty drives him to take action.
  10. Q: How does Macbeth’s character begin to change as he becomes more obsessed with power and security?
    • A: Macbeth’s character becomes more ruthless and paranoid as he becomes increasingly obsessed with maintaining his grip on the throne, leading him to commit more heinous acts.

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 2

Lady Macbeth, in another part of the castle, expresses her unhappiness and sends a servant to find her husband. Macbeth joins her, sharing his discontent and feeling troubled. He believes their business is incomplete because threats to his throne remain. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth about his plan to have Banquo and Fleance killed during the feast.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 2

  1. Q: Where is Lady Macbeth when she expresses her unhappiness in this scene?
    • A: Lady Macbeth is in another part of the castle.
  2. Q: Why does Lady Macbeth send a servant to find her husband?
    • A: Lady Macbeth sends a servant to find her husband, Macbeth, likely because she wants to discuss their current situation and concerns with him.
  3. Q: How does Macbeth feel when he joins Lady Macbeth in this scene?
    • A: Macbeth feels troubled and discontented, as he believes that threats to his throne still exist.
  4. Q: What plan does Macbeth share with Lady Macbeth during their conversation in this scene?
    • A: Macbeth shares his plan to have Banquo and Fleance killed during the feast, as he sees them as potential threats to his rule.
  5. Q: How does Lady Macbeth react to Macbeth’s plan to have Banquo and Fleance killed?
    • A: The text doesn’t explicitly reveal Lady Macbeth’s immediate reaction in this particular scene, but she has previously encouraged Macbeth to take ruthless actions to secure his throne.

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 3

In a darkening wooded area near the palace, the two murderers, now joined by a third, wait for Banquo and Fleance. When Banquo and Fleance arrive, they light a torch. The murderers attack and kill Banquo, but Fleance manages to escape into the darkness. The murderers take Banquo’s body with them to inform Macbeth.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 3

  1. Q: Where do the murderers wait for Banquo and Fleance?
    • A: The murderers wait for Banquo and Fleance in a darkening wooded area near the palace.
  2. Q: How many murderers are involved in the attack on Banquo and Fleance?
    • A: There are three murderers involved in the attack on Banquo and Fleance.
  3. Q: What happens to Banquo when the murderers attack him?
    • A: Banquo is killed by the murderers during the attack.
  4. Q: What is the fate of Fleance during the attack?
    • A: Fleance manages to escape into the darkness and survives the attack.
  5. Q: What do the murderers do after killing Banquo?
    • A: The murderers take Banquo’s body with them, presumably to inform Macbeth of their success and carry out his orders.

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 4

Inside the castle, a grand feast is set up, with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as the hosts, followed by their court. While Macbeth mingles with the guests, the first murderer enters and informs Macbeth that Banquo is dead but that Fleance escaped. This news angers Macbeth, as Fleance is a threat to his throne.

As Macbeth returns to the feast, he finds Banquo’s ghost sitting in his chair. Shocked and terrified, Macbeth talks to the ghost, which is invisible to others. Lady Macbeth makes excuses for her husband’s strange behavior, but Macbeth’s outbursts continue. Lady Macbeth asks the guests to leave, and the ghost disappears. Macbeth then mentions his fear of Macduff and resolves to visit the witches again.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 4

  1. Q: What is the occasion for the feast taking place in the castle?
    • A: The feast is a grand gathering hosted by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, where they play the roles of hosts to their court.
  2. Q: What news does the first murderer bring to Macbeth during the feast?
    • A: The first murderer informs Macbeth that Banquo is dead but that Fleance escaped the attack.
  3. Q: Why does Macbeth become angry upon hearing that Fleance escaped?
    • A: Macbeth is angered because he sees Fleance as a threat to his throne, as the witches’ prophecy suggests that Banquo’s descendants would inherit the throne.
  4. Q: What strange event occurs while Macbeth is mingling with the guests at the feast?
    • A: Banquo’s ghost appears and sits in Macbeth’s chair, shocking and terrifying Macbeth.
  5. Q: Who can see Banquo’s ghost, and to whom does Macbeth speak during this encounter?
    • A: Banquo’s ghost is invisible to everyone except Macbeth, and Macbeth speaks directly to the ghost.
  6. Q: How does Lady Macbeth react to her husband’s strange behavior during the feast?
    • A: Lady Macbeth makes excuses for Macbeth’s behavior, trying to downplay it and calm the guests.
  7. Q: What does Lady Macbeth eventually decide to do when Macbeth’s outbursts continue?
    • A: Lady Macbeth asks the guests to leave the feast, attempting to end the awkward situation.
  8. Q: What happens to Banquo’s ghost when the guests leave the feast?
    • A: Banquo’s ghost disappears when the guests depart.
  9. Q: To whom does Macbeth express fear during his soliloquy at the end of this scene?
    • A: Macbeth expresses his fear of Macduff, believing that Macduff poses a significant threat to him.
  10. Q: What decision does Macbeth make at the end of the scene regarding his future actions?
    • A: Macbeth decides to visit the witches again, seeking further guidance and reassurance about his fate and his hold on power.

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 5

On a stormy heath, the witches meet with Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Hecate scolds the witches for interfering with Macbeth without consulting her. She takes charge of their plans, instructing them to create illusions and spirits to deceive Macbeth further.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 5

  1. Q: Where does the meeting between the witches and Hecate take place?
    • A: The meeting between the witches and Hecate takes place on a stormy heath.
  2. Q: Who is Hecate, and what is her role in this scene?
    • A: Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, and in this scene, she scolds the witches for interfering with Macbeth without consulting her and takes charge of their plans.
  3. Q: Why does Hecate instruct the witches to create illusions and spirits?
    • A: Hecate instructs the witches to create illusions and spirits to further deceive and manipulate Macbeth.
  4. Q: What is the significance of Hecate’s involvement in the witches’ plans?
    • A: Hecate’s involvement highlights the escalating supernatural elements in the play and the witches’ connection to a higher, more powerful force.
  5. Q: How does this scene set the stage for the continued manipulation and deception of Macbeth?
    • A: This scene shows that the witches’ actions are now under Hecate’s guidance, indicating that Macbeth will face even more supernatural tricks and illusions in the future.

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 6

In another part of Scotland that night, Lennox and another lord discuss the state of the kingdom. Banquo’s murder has been blamed on Fleance, who has fled. However, both men suspect Macbeth’s involvement in the murders of Duncan and Banquo. They also talk about Macduff going to England to seek help from King Edward. They hope that Malcolm and Macduff can save Scotland from Macbeth’s tyranny.

Questions on Macbeth Act 3 Scene 6

  1. Q: Who are the two characters having a discussion in this scene?
    • A: Lennox and another lord are the two characters having a discussion.
  2. Q: What has been the official explanation for Banquo’s murder?
    • A: The official explanation is that Banquo’s murder has been blamed on his son, Fleance, who has fled.
  3. Q: What do Lennox and the other lord suspect about Macbeth?
    • A: They suspect that Macbeth is involved in the murders of both King Duncan and Banquo.
  4. Q: Where has Macduff gone, and why?
    • A: Macduff has gone to England to seek help from King Edward to overthrow Macbeth’s rule.
  5. Q: What do Lennox and the other lord hope for regarding Malcolm and Macduff?
    • A: They hope that Malcolm and Macduff can save Scotland from Macbeth’s tyranny by joining forces and taking action.

Also, Read


Macbeth Act 4

Macbeth Act 4

macbeth act 2

Macbeth Act 2

Macbeth Act 1

Macbeth Act 1

Macbeth Act 5

Macbeth Act 5

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