Macbeth RV Act 3

“Thou hast it now — King, Cawdor, Glamis, allAs the Weird Women promised, and I fearThou played’st most foully for ‘t.” (3.1.1-4) Speaker: BanquoContext: Talking out the range of MacbethMeaning/Banquo’s thinking: This passage is Banquo saying that Macbeth now has all that has been promised, although he fears that Macbeth has done immoral things to fulfill the prophecy. Banquo most likely suspects Macbeth of killing Duncan, given his prior knowledge of the prophecy that the three weird sisters gave Macbeth.
We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow’dIn England and in Ireland, not confessingTheir cruel parricide, filling their hearersWith strange invention: but of that to-morrow. . . Speaker: MacbethContext: Talking with BanquoMeaning/Bloody Cousins:Macbeth is talking with Banquo about Malcolm and Donalbain who have fled Scotland and have gone to England and Ireland. He says that they are most likely telling their hosts lies about what happened in Scotland, and are running away from the horrible crime they have committed. This is ironic because Macbeth is,in fact, the one telling lies. Macbeth is telling lies to marginalize himself from suspicion.
To be thus is nothing; but to be safely thus.–Our fears in Banquo stick deep;And in his royalty of nature reigns thatWhich would be fear’d: ’tis much he dares;And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valourTo act in safety. There is none but heWhose being I do fear: and, under him, [55]My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said,Mark Antony’s was by C├Žsar. He chid the sistersWhen first they put the name of king upon me,And bade them speak to him: then prophet-likeThey hail’d him father to a line of kings: [60]Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand,No son of mine succeeding. If’t be so,For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; [65]For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;Put rancours in the vessel of my peaceOnly for them; and mine eternal jewelGiven to the common enemy of man,To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! (3.1) Speaker: MacbethContext: (aside)Meaning/Concern/Eternal jewel(man’s enemy)/happens at the end of scene: Banquo is saying that he fears Banquo as he fears no other person alive. This is because Banquo knows of the prophecy and his mind is always pondering and contemplating. He realizes that all he has gone through and all the wrong he has done is very temporary – as Banquo’s sons are prophecized to become king. He realizes that all his struggle is in the end done for Banquo’s son and that kingship will not be passed on in his family. He says that he has given his eternal jewel to the common enemy of man. His eternal jewel is his soul and morality – which he has given to man’s enemy sin or the devil. At the end of the scene, Macbeth talks the murderers(who are very angry and mentally unstable) to murder Banquo. He wants the murderers to murder Banquo because if he murdered Banquo it would displease the common noble friends that they share. He needs to publically show sadness for Banquo’s death, while secretly being behind it.
Nought’s had, all’s spent,Where our desire is got without content: [5]’Tis safer to be that which we destroyThan by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. Speaker: Lady MacbethContext: Talking to MacbethMeaning/summarization/reaction to the murder: What lady Macbeth is saying her is that they have done everything to get Macbeth to become king, but it is all for nothing if Macbeth isn’t happy. She says it is safer to be dead than be the killer and live in the mentally unstable state that Macbeth is in. This is the first sign that we see of Lady Macbeth being underwhelmed by the success of the murder, and feeling as if the murder was not worth it.
We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it:She’ll close and be herself, whilst our poor maliceRemains in danger of her former tooth. [15]But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleepIn the affliction of these terrible dreamsThat shake us nightly: better be with the dead,Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, [20]Than on the torture of the mind to lieIn restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well;Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, [25]Can touch him further. (3.2) Speaker: MacbethContext: Speaking the lady MacbethMeaning/Snake part/worry/What Duncan has over him/How he feels about being king: Macbeth says that they have wounded the snake, not killed it. By this he means that they have weakened the threat, but it could still come back and get them. He is worried for the consequences of his actions and that someone will find out what he has done and kill him. He is very mentally unstable and says that because Duncan is dead he has a better sense of security than him and that at least no one can hurt him further. This attitude shows that Macbeth is feeling that being king is not all that it was made out to be. He is in a place of higher mental disturbance than before he became king – showing he doesn’t really like being king.
O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives. But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne. There’s comfort yet; they are assailable;Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown [40]His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecate’s summonsThe shard-borne beetle with his drowsy humsHath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be doneA deed of dreadful note. What’s to be done? Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, [45]Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;And with thy bloody and invisible handCancel and tear to pieces that great bondWhich keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow [50]Makes wing to the rooky wood:Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.Thou marvell’st at my words: but hold thee still:Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. [55]So, prithee, go with me. (3.2) Speaker #1: MacbethSpeaker #2: Lady MacbethContext: Speaking about BanquoMeaning/Give two reasons that is Banquo a problem. What is different about the words in bold relative to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s previous relationship. Paraphrase line 55 and tell what this shows about Macbeth’s attitude at this point in the play. Again, what has changed relative to his attitude before the first murder?: Banquo is saying that his mind is full of scorpions that “poison” his conscience. Banquo is a problem because he knows of the prophecy and could connect the dots linking Macbeth and Duncan’s murder at any moment. He is also dangerous because his sons will become kings, and that poses a threat to a royal heritage for Macbeth’s family. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seem to have become more affectionate since the murder and are now using terms of endearment. Line 55 is Macbeth saying that bad things only lead to more bad things, and he has now accepted his immoral life. His attitude has changed, and now he doesn’t care as much to do immoral things. He has accepted his life as now a life of crime. He seems to have become more like Lady Macbeth.
Most royal sir, Fleance is ‘scaped. [20] Then 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:But now I am cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound inTo saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo’s safe? [25] Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,With twenty trenched gashes on his head;The least a death to nature. Thanks for that.There the grown serpent lies; the worm that’s fledHath nature that in time will venom breed, [30]No teeth for the present. Get thee gone: to-morrowWe’ll hear, ourselves, again. (3.4) Speaker #1: First MurdererSpeaker #2: MacbethContext: Speaking of the murder plot to kill Banquo and FleanceMeaning/news/reaction: The Murderer bring the news to Macbeth that Banquo has been killed, but Fleance has escaped. Macbeth pities himself, saying that all would have been perfect in his plan if Fleance had not escaped. He says that the grown snake is dead, but the young snake is still alive. He has no fangs to attack him now, but Macbeth fears he will be back to get revenge in the future.
O proper stuff!This is the very painting of your fear:This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,Impostors to true fear, would well becomeA woman’s story at a winter’s fire, [65]Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,You look but on a stool. Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo! how say you?Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too. [70]If charnel-houses and our graves must sendThose that we bury back, our monumentsShall be the maws of kites. [Ghost vanishes.] (3.4) Speaker #1: Lady MacbethSpeaker #2: MacbethContext: Talking while Macbeth is hallucinatingMeaning/Describe what happens in the banquet scene? What is Macbeth seeing that no one else can see? What does Lady Macbeth compare it to in the quote above? What does the vision show about Macbeth’s state of mind? What excuse does Lady Macbeth give to the other guests?:During the Banquet scene the ghost of Banquo sits in Macbeth’s chair and he doesn’t sit down, he goes crazy at the hallucination. He is the only one that see’s the ghost, so he looks crazy to everyone else, as he is yelling and screaming at the air. Lady Macbeth compares it to the time when Macbeth hallucinated about the dagger that lead him to killing Duncan. The vision shows that Macbeth is still very mentally unstable, guilty, and paranoid. Lady Macbeth tells the other guests that Macbeth has been prone to mental fits such as the one they are witnessing since he was a young boy, and he will return to his senses soon. She says all he is saying is nonsense.
How say’st thou, that Macduff denies his personAt our great bidding? Did you send to him, sir? I hear it by the way; but I will send: [130]There’s not a one of them but in his houseI keep a servant fee’d. I will to-morrow,And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good, [135]All causes shall give way: I am in bloodStepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,Returning were as tedious as go o’er:Strange things I have in head, that will to hand;Which must be acted ere they may be scann’d. Speaker #1: MacbethSpeaker #2: Lady MacbethMeaning/What has Macduff done that gets their attention? What is Macbeth’s plan to learn more about his fate? Paraphrase the lines in bold. How do they connect to the earlier image of time as a river?:Macbeth is saying that Macduff has refused invitation to any events at the castle since Macbeth has become king. This has caught the attention of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth plans to return to the weird sisters to learn more about his faith. Macbeth says that he has gone too far down an immoral path that it would be more difficult to be good again that to continue to do bad. This relates to the idea that it is harder to go back in time than just go with the flow of if.
Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuseIs the initiate fear that wants hard use:We are yet but young in deed. (3.4) Speaker: MacbethContext: Talking to lady MacbethMeaning/Lennox for the readers: Macbeth is saying that he wants to go to sleep, he believes that his strange hallucinations and fear comes from inexperience, and with more experience it will go away. This implies that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will commit more crimes. Lennox is trying to justify Macbeth’s actions by thinking rationally about why he has done what he has done. For the audience, his talk is ironic because they already know what Macbeth has done. He is giving an underlying tone of suspicion that gives the audience suspense as to what will happen to Macbeth. Lennox also reveals the actions of Macduff which are very important, because they show that the other lords don’t like Macbeth and are willing to fight him. Lennox offers the information of Macduff going to England for help from an indirect source.

You Might Also Like