Macbeth Act 3 Quotes

“Thou has it now-King, Cawdor, Glamis, all as the weird women promised, and I fear thou played’st most foully for it” (III. i. 1-3). Speaker: Banquo Context: Said by Banquo before Macbeth enters the room at Macbeth’s place at Forres. At this point Macbeth has been named King of Scotland. Significance: Banquo voices his suspicions of Macbeth, saying that he thinks there was foul play on Macbeth’s end. He also says that he is impressed with the accuracy of the witches prophecies.
“To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared” (III. i. 52-55). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by Macbeth at his place in Forres, while alone. No one else hears it. Significance: He expresses his fear of Banquo and says that to be king is worthless unless he is secure as king. This leads to Macbeth having Banquo killed by murderers.
“Against my near’st of life: and though I could with barefooted power sweep him from my sight and bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, for certain friends that are both his and mine, whose love I could not drop, but wail his fall who I myself struck down” (III. i. 130-135). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Macbeth invites two murders into his castle and sets them on a mission to kill Banquo in order to make Macbeth more secure in his throne. Significance: Macbeth says that Banquo is his enemy, but he cannot be the one to kill him because they share friends, who Macbeth must keep as friends. He also says that he needs to mourn his death.
“To leave no rubs or botches in the work, Fleance, his son, that keeps him company, whose absence is no less material to me than is his father’s, must embrace the fate of that dark hour” (III. i. 149-153). Speaker: Macbeth Context: M says that Fleance must be killed as well while giving orders to the murderers. Significance: Banquo’s sons are supposed to become kings according to the prophecy, so by eliminating Fleance he can avoid the prophecy. Also Fleance could be a threat to Macbeth if left alive.
“‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” (III. ii. 8-9). Speaker: Lady Macbeth Context: Said by LM while her and M are discussing the troubled thoughts they have been having as a result of Duncan’s murder. Significance: This is the first time that LM expresses that the guilt and uncertainty caused by the murder is impacting her. She says she would rather be dead like Duncan than be in doubtful joy because of the murder.
“Better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy” (III. ii. 22-25). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by M to LM when they are both expressing the troubled thoughts they are having as a result of the murder. Significance: Macbeth also says that he would rather be dead than have to endure the mental anguish and nightmares M has experienced.
“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 makes me pale!” (III. ii. 52-56). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by M after him and LM express their troubled thoughts about the murder. Significance: Calls upon the night to cover the day and end Banquo’s life because while he lives it makes Macbeth nervous.
“O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou may’st revenge— O slave!” (III. iii. 18-19). Speaker: Banquo Context: Said by Banquo to his son Fleance while they are attacked by the murderers. Significance: He tells Fleance to run away and stay alive, because if he lives, he could avenge the death of Banquo.
“There’s one but down; the son is fled. We have lost best half of our affair” (III. iii. 30-32). Speaker: Third murderer Context: Said after the murders kill Banquo and Fleance escapes. Significance: They are saying that they accomplished half of their mission but by letting Banquo escape they are allowing a great threat to Macbeth.
“The time has been that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end. But now they rise again with twenty mortal murders on their crowns and push us from our stools” (III. iv. 98-102). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by Macbeth at the banquet after he sees the ghost of Banquo. Significance: Macbeth says that when people used to be killed they would stay dead, but now they rise again and torment us. This shows how Macbeth’s mental state is deteriorating.
“It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move and trees to speak; Augurs and understood relations have by maggot-pie and choughs and rooks brought forth the secret’st man of blood” (III. iv. 154-159). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by Macbeth after he has his encounter with Banquo at the banquet. His condition is noticed by the lords and LM dismisses the lords before the proper goodbye can be completed. Significance: Macbeth fears that Banquo’s murder will be revenged by his own murder. His guilt can be seen clearly over the murder of Banquo.
“I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” (III. iv. 171-173). Speaker: Macbeth Context: Said by M to LM after the lords have left the banquet and Banquo has been murdered. Significance: He says that he is already so far into the river of blood that it wouldn’t make any sense to turn back now. His tyrannical nature can be seen and he will do anything to protect his power.
“And at the pit of Acheron meet me i’ the morning. Thither he will come to know his destiny. Your vessels and your spells provide, your charms and everything beside” (III. v. 15-19). Speaker: Hecate Context: Hecate comes to talk to the three witches and expresses that she is angry that the witches conversed with Macbeth without consulting Hecate. Significance: Hecate says that Macbeth will go to the pit of hell to learn his destiny. Bring your vessels, spells and charms.
“Who cannot want the thought how monstrous it was for Malcolm and for Donalbain to kill their gracious father? Damned fact! How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight, in pious rage, the two delinquents tear, that were the slave of drink and thralls of sleep?” (III. vi. 9-14). Speaker: Lennox Context: Said by Lennox to another Scottish lord, when they are reviewing the events surrounding Duncan and Banquo’s murder. Significance: He says that everyone can agree on the horror of Duncan’s being murdered by his sons. But Lennox is ironic claiming to believe what is false. He indirectly blames Macbeth.
“Thither Macduff is gone to pray the holy King upon his aid to wake Northumberland and warlike Siward; that by the help of these (with Him above to ratify the work) we may again give our tables meat, sleep to our nights, free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, do faithful homage and receive free honors- all which we pine for now” (III. vi. 31-39). Speaker: Lord Context: Said by the Lord that is speaking to Lennox. Significance: The lord says that Macduff went to the King and try to persuade the people of Northumberland and their earl, Siward to join Malcom’s cause. With their help, Malcom can overthrow Macbeth and restore peace.

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