Macbeth Act III

Setting of Scene 1 the palace at Forres
tone suspicion as Banquo is inclined to suspect Macbeth of foul play in Duncan’s death
Macbeth, now king, requests Banquo’s at a banquet Macbeth is hosting that evening Banquo replies that he will do as Macbeth commands – Banquo lets Macbeth know that he understands the new power structure
Macbeth attempts to extract information out of Banquo 1. Will he ride this afternoon?2. How far will he ride?3. Will his son, Fleance, accompany him?
Macbeth camouflages his questions with compliments and flattery of Banquo he tells Banquo that he has always valued his advice and especially needs it concerning how to deal with the problem of Malcolm and Donalbain spreading rumors (that Macbeth was involved in Duncans murder?) in England and Ireland about their father’s death in order to cover up their own guilt
Tonal undercurrent in exchange between Macbeth and Banquo is… …one of evasion and suspicion on Banquo’s part, and one of intention to manipulate on Macbeth’s part
Theme of Macbeth’s Third Soliloquy security – Macbeth wants to be sure that he keeps the throne and that it is passed to only his heirs
tone of soliloquy one of envy, distrust, and fear
Macbeth fears Banquo for 2 reasons: 1. he fears Banquo’s integrity and principles which he recognizes as superior to his own (a way for Shakespeare to praise King James’s ancestry, although historically inaccurate)2. the witches predicted that Banquo’s heirs, not Macbeth would reign as kings
Macbeth commands that no one disturb him until 7:00 on the pretense of wanting to rest for the banquet; in reality, he wants tot interview hired assassins
“To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus” to be king means nothing unless he is guaranteed keeping the throne
Macbeth attempts to thwart the prophecy of the witches concerning Banquo in effect, he is defying the devil, a dangerous move for a man who has aligned himself with Satan and the powers of darkness; perhaps he reasons that he secured the throne through his own actions, since Fate did not hand him the throne, so he has a right to undo the prophecy for Banquo and intensify his own power
“fruitless crown” Macbeth has no sons to whom he can pass the crown down
“barren scepter” anguish over childlessness; sensitive about his manhood
Macbeth acknowledges that he has sold his soul (his “eternal jewel”) to the devil (“the common enemy of man”) when he murdered Duncan
Macbeth vows that he has not done all this so that some other man’s son can reap the benefits of his sacrifice he will do anything to prevent Banquo’s heirs from inheriting his throne – since his soul is already lost, he fears no other consequences for future crimes
Moral decline of Macbeth is evident prior to Duncan’s murder he was driven by pure ambition which would have been checked by his natural decency if not for the influence of Lady Macbeth. Now he coolly plots the deaths of Banquo and Fleance, with no scruples, no signs of a conflicted conscience – no evidence of decency or compassion
Macbeth assumes a beguiling and smooth manner with the assassins demonstrating his powers of manipulation, using rhetoric, insinuation and veiled promises of favor
Macbeth manipulates the two hired assassins into believing that their beggarly state was caused by Banquo that Banquo has unmanned them; he challenges their manhood implying that they are less than men if they choose to let the wrongs of Banquo go unavenged (mirrors Lady Macbeth’s strategy to get Macbeth to kill Duncan)
Macbeth orders the men to kill Banquo and Fleance in such a way that no suspicion falls on him
Macbeth convinces the assassins that Banquo is plotting his murder so they can see themselves as ridding Scotland of a traitor who threatens their king’s life
Macbeth explains that he does not directly order the execution of Banquo on charges of treason because they have friends in common whose loyalty he dares not jeopardize he must appear to join them in grief over Banquo’s death (Macbeth knows that no one would believe Banquo capable of treason – his character is spotless; Banquo’s stature is reflected by the loyalty of his friends)
It is imperative that Fleance die to end the possibility of Banquo’s heirs inheriting the throne
Lady Macbeth now views murder of Duncan differently she and Macbeth have gained nothing since the throne has not brought them happinessshe believes it is better to be destroyed than to be miserable
Lady Macbeth is lonely – Macbeth has marginalized her – she is no longer his confidante she has to send a servant to find him for her – no longer his dearest partner of greatness – no longer privy to information (such as the plans to kill Banquo and Fleance) – for the first time she excites pity in the audience; their marriage is decaying
“What’s done is done” Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that nothing can undo Duncan’s murder, so it is pointless for him to dwell on it – he should get on with his life – raw practicality
Macbeth still feels threatened says that by killing Duncan they have only slashed the snake; once it heals it will attack and poison them
Macbeth is plagued by… …fear of suspicion by day and terrible dreams at night
Macbeth envies the dead since Duncan can longer be touched by treason, domestic malice, or foreign invasion all feared now by Macbeth; displays Macbeth’s impulse towards chaos and his desire for death
Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth to pay particular attention to Banquo at the banquet that evening – (proof that she knows nothing of the murder plan) “Be innocent of the knowledge” – explains to her the importance of assuming a deceptive mask of appearance (echoes her own advice to him on the night of Duncan’s murder)
Reasons why Macbeth so directs Lady Macbeth: 1. he could have momentarily forgotten his pact with the murderers2. he could be fearful of failure and does not want to be embarrassed in case the plan fails3. he needs her to appear to be and to actually be totally innocent in front of the guests at the banquet when Banquo’s absence is noted4. he could be trying to protect his wife from further anxiety
Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth “dearest chuck” – condescending, minionizing a far cry from “dearest partner of greatness” – Macbeth is in full control, no longer needs or solicits his wife’s advice – she is marginalized
“Thou marvelest at my words” Lady Macbeth is visibly affected by the tone of Macbeth’s vow and the true horror or her relegation to “dearest chuck”
Setting of Scene 3 dusk, a road leading to the palace
third murderer sent by Macbeth to make sure that the first two follow orders – trusts no one
“It will rain tonight” Banquo’s words show that yet another murder will occur under the cover of a cloudy, stormy, starless night: conflating of darkness, evil, and chaos
CLIMAX: escape of Fleance the point from which nothing can be the same – it is the first time that all has not gone according to Macbeth’s wishes; Macbeth has not outmaneuvered the witches; his attempt to prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy of Banquo being the father of kings seems on the road to failure
Setting of Scene 4 a state room at the palace where the banquet is to take place, about 7 PM
tone harmonious, one of peace and good order; Macbeth tells the guests to arrange themselves according to their degree
irony of tone: it presents an elaborate picture of false order which will soon collapse into disorder and chaos
By stating that he will sit in the midst of the thanes instead of at the head of the table, Macbeth tries to recapture their trust with an air of humility assumes role of generous host to his loyal subjects
Macbeth instructs Lady Macbeth to assume her customary seat she is no longer part of his plan
Murderer comes to banquet to tell Macbeth of Banquo’s murder careless, dangerous move
Macbeth’s response of news of Fleance’s escape suffers a fit of feverish anxiety – images of suffocation and claustrophobia (anxiety attack)
Macbeth sounds guilty as he notes Banquo’s absence at the banquet says he is more inclined to accuse Banquo of unkindness than to worry that something bad has happened to him
only Macbeth and the audience can see the ghost of Banquo the audience accepts his as a ghost, not a figment of Macbeth’s imagination as was the bloody dagger in the second soliloquy that was invisible to all (Jacobean belief that ghosts were permitted to walk the earth as punishment to the guilty or the faithless)
“Thou canst not say I did it” words must appear highly suspicious to guests
Lady Macbeth tries to maintain order by directing all to return to their seats, as the king’s fit is momentary he will be embarrassed if he sees thing amiss when he comes round to himself
Macbeth insists that he is a bold man to have survived the sight he has seen
Macbeth yearns for past times when the dead stayed dead (shows how evil has affected even the afterlife)
Macbeth says he wishes Banquo were with them and the ghost responds by reentering the stage
Macbeth states he is a man again (strong, fearless, composed, clear-headed)when the ghost exists
“Stand not upon the order of your going” – Lady Macbeth fearing Macbeth will implicate himself in Duncan’s murder, dismisses the guests, telling them to leave immediately and pay no attention to the usual protocol of exit according to rank: this chaos signals the end of Macbeth’s hope for security
“Blood will have blood” Macbeth believes Banquo has returned to avenge his murder; and Macbeth believes he must continue to kill to keep the throne
Macduff is Macbeth’s next target since he did not attend the banquet he admits he keeps a hired spy in each of the thanes’ homes to report their movements to him – tone of suspicion – invasion of domestic sphere
Macbeth believes that he is beyond hope that he has spilled so much blood that the only recourse is to keep killing all those who threaten him
Lady Macbeth oversimplifies matters says Macbeth needs sleep (true to some extent); Macbeth says he will sleep, but to give himself the energy to continue killing
Scene shows the total disintegration of Macbeth images of things basic to everyday life – food and sleep – are denied Macbeth (the banquet was dismissed before the guests ate, and Macbeth cannot sleep)
Hecate, queen of the witches rebukes the the three weird sisters for dealing with Macbeth without consulting her
Hecate states that they will bring more confusion upon Macbeth evil produces chaos
Hecate predicts that Macbeth will spurn fate, scorn death, and put his hopes (ambition) above wisdom, grace, and fear (to some extent, he has done this already) Hecate states that security (overconfidence) is man’s chief enemy
Setting of Scene 6 room in the palace at Forres
conversation between Lennox (a thane) and an anonymous lord about the state of affairs in Scotland since Macbeth’s rule symbolic of conversations held throughout the country, particularly by thanes who were present at the banquet and witnessed Macbeth’s guilty display
Lennox observes that those closest to Macbeth have suffered for it Duncan and Banquo
Lennox believes that Malcolm, Donalbain, and Fleance would all suffer if Macbeth could find them
Examples of verbal irony in Lennox’s words: (necessary in atmosphere of distrust to avoid detection) – reflects the bitter judgment of the thanes since the banquet 1. Macbeth pities the murdered Duncan and Banquo (believes he had something to do with their deaths)2. it was monstrous of Malcolm and Donalbain to kill their gracious father, since they are considered guilty because they fled (believes they are innocent)3. Macbeth’s killing of the king’s servants was understandable under the circumstances, done nobly and wisely (believes Macbeth deliberately killed them to avoid the possibility that they could deny that they killed Duncan and tell the truth)4. Macbeth has born all things well (believes Macbeth has thrown Scotland into chaos)
Greatest irony: Lennox sarcastically states that since Fleance fled following Banquo’s murder, he must have killed him – a direct reference to the fact that Macbeth’s sole proof of the guilt of Duncan’s sons for his murder is their flight
Proof that Lennox’s words are ironic he calls Macbeth a tyrant
Exposition Macduff has fled to England to join forces with Malcolm and seek the aid of the king of England and of Siward, the Early of Northumberland, in an effort to dethrone Macbeth and free Scotland from his tyranny: Macduff emerges as the possible instrument of his nation’s revenge; Macbeth has heard these reports and is preparing for war
anonymous lord asks God’s help in restoring food to the tables of Scotland and sleep to its people the entire country has suffered because of Macbeth
Speed is invoked by the lord to be on the side of goodness he prays that some holy angel will FLY to England, receive a SWIFT blessing, and return SOON to Scotland, the suffering country. Formerly speed was associated with evil – the hurly burly