Macbeth: Study Guide Questions, Act III

What feeling does Banquo express about the witches’ prophecies at the beginning of Act III? A hope that they’ll prove true for him as they have for Macbeth
Why does Macbeth not consult Lady Macbeth about the plot to kill Banquo? He is now more decisive on his own
How is Macbeth’s murder plot in Scene 1 different from his plot against Duncan? Macbeth doesn’t take an active part, and he doesn’t consult Lady Macbeth
What does the difference in plotting Banquo’s murder as opposed to Duncan’s tell us? Macbeth is deteriorating morally
How do Macbeth’s statements and behavior suggest that he is feeling? Uneasy and fearful
When the murderers prepare to kill Banquo, what happens? A third murderer joins them at the scene
What is Shakespeare’s purpose in creating a third murderer and keeping his identity secret? The secret identity reinforces that Macbeth has spies everywhere and no longer trusts anyone
Who manages to escape Macbeth’s plot? Fleance, Banquo’s son
What is a dramatic foil? A minor character whose attitudes, beliefs, and behavior differ significantly from those of a main character, highlighting flaws or suggesting what the main character might have been like
What complications might the character who manages to escape the murderers cause for Macbeth in the future? The son of Banquo escaping means that his descendants still threaten Macbeth’s crown
How would one describe Macbeth’s behavior during the feast in Scene 4 of Act III? He makes comments that appear irrational, and speaks to a ghost that only he can see
How does Lady Macbeth respond to Macbeth’s claim of seeing the ghost of Banquo at the banquet? With scorn
What does Lady Macbeth want the guests at their banquet think is amiss with Macbeth? Lady Macbeth wants her guests to think Macbeth’s behavior is the result of a recurring illness
How might Macbeth’s actions during the feast affect the opinion of his guests? They probably fear for his mental health, and might question his ability to rule–or his innocence
Was Scene 5 of Act III written by Shakespeare? Many critics think not, and some think it takes away from the dramatic tension of the play–but no one knows for sure if either is true
What does Lennox’s sarcastic tone in Scene 6 (lines 1-24) suggest about Macbeth’s future as a king? That opposition to Macbeth is growing
Is Lennox’s sarcastic tone in Scene 6 realistic? Yes and no–Macbeth acted rather bizarrely at the feast, but this speech makes light of a grave situation
What does Macbeth do when he learns of Macduff’s mission to England? He plans to visit the witches again, and implies that he will commit more murders