Act 3 | Discussion Questions

Scene I


How does Banquo react to Macbeth’s being King (lines 1-10)? What does he suspect has happened to Duncan?


Banquo says that now Macbeth has it all and all the witches’ prophecies about him have came true.  He suspects that Macbeth received the throne by cheating and that it is possible that Macbeth had a role in Duncan’s death


What does Macbeth learn from Banquo in lines 19-38? Why does he want to know it? What does he say about Malcolm and Donalbain in lines 31-34?


Macbeth learns that Banquo is going on a horse ride with his on Fleance. He wants to know this because later on we find out that he wants to kill Banquo, therefore he wants to know where he will be. Macbeth also confidently says that Donalbain and Malcolm are Duncan’s murderers and they are hiding in Ireland and England. He also notes that they are telling lies to the people they are staying with.


Read Macbeth’s soliloquy in lines 49-73. What is bothering Macbeth?


Macbeth is bothered by the fact that he doesn’t feel safe even though he is king. Macbeth feels threatened by Banquo because he is very noble, willing to take risks, and is wise. As well he feels that he may have killed Duncan for the benefit of Banquo’s children, which discomforts him.


How does Macbeth get the two murderers to agree to kill Banquo?


Macbeth gets the two murderers to agree to kill Banquo by telling them that Banquo is the reason that they have had hard lives. After he says that, he received a noncommittal response so he challenged their manhood (Just as Lady Macbeth challenged his). The two murderers agreed to do the murder as they felt that they had nothing left to lose and just something to gain.


Scene ii


How much does Macbeth tell Lady Macbeth about his fears?


Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth almost all his fears, starting from the guilt of killing Duncan, to the fear that Banquo is still alive. However, he doesn’t tell her why is fearful that Banquo is still alive. As well, Lady Macbeth doesn’t know that Macbeth is still thinking about the prophecies.


Does Lady Macbeth know as much as we know about Macbeth’s plans at this point? Why not?


No, we know that Macbeth sent murderers to kill Banquo and the reason that Macbeth is afraid of Banquo. She is only aware that Macbeth is uneasy and something may happen to Banquo tonight. Macbeth is starting to take more control and doesn’t want anybody to influence, therefore he didn’t tell Lady Macbeth his plans so that it is solely his achievement to kill Banquo.


Give an example to prove that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s relationship has changed.


Before, Lady Macbeth was more in control and motivating Macbeth to become king. An example is when she motivated him to kill Duncan. Now, Macbeth is getting more power and control in the situation, making his own decisions. An example is when he sent the murderers to go kill Banquo.


Scene iii


How do the two murderers respond to the third one? How does the third one explain his presence?


The two murderers question why the third murderer was there. However, the third murderer said that Macbeth sent him and that he knows the plan. Therefore they accepted him and let him join them.


How successful is the murderers’ mission?


The murderers’ mission was only half done because Fleance was not killed therefore it was not completed as planned.


To what extent did Banquo deserve the death that befell him?


There are 2 sides to this question. First, Banquo did not act on his suspicions of Macbeth therefore he should’ve seen something coming.  However, Banquo is a very wise character therefore he didn’t do anything wrong to be killed.


Which do regard as the greater crime, the murder of Duncan or the murder of Banquo? Give reasons.


Duncan’s murder was a greater crime because it affected so many people and it was killing god’s representative on earth. However, the crime of killing Banquo was bad as well because Macbeth is changing the prophecy and this could cause chaos.

Scene IV


During the banquet, what does Macbeth learn from the First Murderer? How does this affect Macbeth’s participation in the banquet?


Macbeth learns that Banquo was killed, however his son Fleance fled. This affected Macbeth by making him feel uneasy as he was distracted during the banquet.


What appears in line 36? Who can see it? What “trick” does it play on Macbeth?


The ghost of Banquo appears in Macbeth’s seat at the banquet. Only Macbeth can see the ghost and it makes Macbeth think that there is somebody is in his seat when in reality there isn’t.


How does Lady Macbeth explain Macbeth’s behaviour?


Lady Macbeth tells everybody that Macbeth has had these problems and hallucinations since he was a child and that this is normal for him.


Who is the next problem person mentioned in lines 127-129?


The problem person mentioned is Fleance because he is still alive and could cause problems.


How well does Macbeth trust his followers?


Macbeth does not trust anybody because he has people spying on them. Since Macbeth is paranoid he only trusts himself.


Where will Macbeth go tomorrow and what does he want to find out?


The next day, Macbeth will go to the witches to find out what will happen next and what his destiny will be.



Scene v


What is Hecate’s complaint to the witches?


Hecate’s complaint to the witches is that the witches did not include her in their evil actions.


What does Hecate tell the witches to do?


Hecate tells the witches to meet at a pit to commit the evil towards Macbeth.

In performances, this scene is usually left out, why?


This scene is usually left out because it is very dark and shows that evil is controlling the situation. This would have angered people with Christian views because it shows evil and not god controlling destiny.


Scene VI


Why is Lennox talking in such an indirect way to the other lord? What is Lennox trying to tell him?


Lennox is trying to tell the lord that he thinks that Macbeth was the reason of the murder of Banquo and Duncan. He is talking in an indirect way so that he can’t be accused of going against Macbeth.


What has happened to Macduff?


Macduff is in England trying to get the king to help him make Malcolm king of Scotland instead of Macbeth.

What is the function of this scene in this play?


The function of this scene in this play is that they are starting to suspect Macbeth as a murderer. As well as their hope that Macduff comes back to save them.

What information are we given about Malcolm, Macduff, Edward the Confessor, and Siward?


We know that they are teaming up to go fight Macbeth and make him lose the throne.