|Théodore Chassériau (1819–1856), Macbeth seeing the Ghost of Banquo, 1854 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
ACT III, scene i:
Line 1 – 10 -----> “Thou hast it now, king, Cawdor, Glamis, all, As the weird women promised; and I fear, thou playedst most fouly fol’t; ….. no more.” ---> It is a long soliloquy which is said by Banquo and he suspects Macbeth. It is known that the one who knows about the prophecies, so he suspects Macbeth and has a fear that Macbeth has won the throne by foul deeds (Duncan’s murder). On contrary, he has hope when he says “But that myself should be the root and father of many kings.” He says that if Macbeth’s prophecies come true, his own prophecies also will come true. As a result, his sons will inherit the crown as Macbeth does not have sons. Moreover, the witches tells him that he will be the father of the Kings.
Macbeth’s moral downfall starts with Duncan’s death, but the real downfall is at the end when he is killed by Macduff. His moral downfall is shown very clear through this scene as he begins to plan another murders by his own. It also shows how the cycle of evil starts. First, he is hesitated and confused. His wife is who plans for the murder ad takes control of the whole situation. He just commit the crime. Now, he is how gives instructions, and others commit the murder. More and more he is possessed by the evil, and he has been taken hold by evil (it has taken hold on him) as he doesn’t tell his wife about the details of Banquo’s murder. All the murders he has committed has motives. The first one is committed to get the crown and achieve his over-ambition. The second one is that he is driven by his fear and insecurity. He fears Banquo’s influence and wants to secure the crown as Banquo will be the father of the kings.
Line 11 – 14 ----> “Here’s our chief guest” “To night we hold a solemn supper, sir, And I’ll request your presence.” ----> Macbeth invites Banquet to his coronation in a very light-hearted way. Although Macbeth plans to get ride of him, he hides his dealings and thoughts. This indicates how Macbeth becomes more experiences in hypocrisy. He doesn’t hesitate when he kills Banquo and the others as the major hesitation is in Duncan's’ murder. According to the psychology of evil, the first sin is the most difficult one. He increases his statue as a villain by killing Lady Macduff. There is also another situation which indicates how Macbeth becomes more experienced in hypocrisy. He says in line 31 “Their cruel parricide, falling their hearer with strange invention. But of that tomorrow, …” He pretends that the suspicion of the heirs towards him is a strange invention from them.
Line 47 – 70: It is a long soliloquy which it will be taken line by line.
Line 47: “To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus … our fear in Banquo sticks deep, and in his royalty of nature … he hath a wisdom that both guide his valour.” ----> It is a long soliloquy in which Macbeth explains his motives and finds justifications for Banquo’s murder. He also shows his inner feeling not only to himself, but also to the audience in an indirect way. The first reason is that he says Banquo has positive qualities which bother Macbeth and make him afraid. Banquo is brave, wise and noble, so he may be able to discover who kills Duncan. The second reason when Macbeth says “My genius is rebuked, as, it is said, Mark Antony’s was by Caesar.” He feels that Banquo outshines him by comparing himself to Banquo. This is the same case of Caesar who outshines Antony when they have been alive. Antony becomes famous and appeared after the death of Caesar. This reveals or describes his inner psychology of evil. Macbeth commit a sin, and it is difficult to the sinner to see somebody still have virtues. Thus, he has a terrible feeling of regret and guilt. These virtues remind him of his treason (being disloyal to a country) and sin which make him uncomfortable. In the third reason, he tries to show Banquo’s sense of jealousy towards Macbeth. He says “He chid the sisters when first they put the name of King upon me, and bade them speak to him; then prophet-like, they hailed him father to a line of kings.”
This shows a sense of jealousy of competition between them as Banquo talks to the witches in a bad way. He also stops them and makes them prophesying what will happen to him. They tells him that he will be the father of kings, but he will not be a king. This gives Macbeth a sense of insecurity as his efforts will be in vain. He will not be inherited by his sons. There is also a sense of sarcasm when he says “for them the grace of Duncan have I murdered; put rancours in the vessel of my peace.” He wonders if he has killed Duncan for the sake of Banquo’s sons or has sold his soul to the devil, and he wants to make use of the selling by taking everything. He is ready to do everything as he has nothing that is left to lose. His words “mine eternal jewel” echoes what Lady Macbeth has said before which means both of them invoke the devil to incarnate their souls.
Line 75 -----> “Have you considered of my speeches? Know that it was he, in the time past, which held you sounder fortune,” ----> Macbeth’s meetings with the murders shows him as a villain. This lines is a reference to the previous meeting. He uses a very intelligent way to convince them to kill Banquo. He doesn’t tell them to kill him in a direct way. He convinces them that Banquo is the main reason of their suffering as they are oppressed people who have a very little means of life. They are also underdog. He also tries to convince them only that he is the main reason of their conditions and situations as he is their enemy. Moreover, he is the cause of being not promoted as they might be soldiers. He gives them stimulations (motives) to commit the crime as they are people who have problems. This is proved when he says “Have you were borne in hand; how crossed; the instruments;”
Line 85 -----> “Our point of second meeting.” ----> The word “second meeting” implies that it is the second time to meet them in order to stimulate them to kill Banquo.
Line 86 ----> “Do you find your patience so predominant in your nature … As you so gospelled to pray for this good man, and for his issue, whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave and beggared yours forever?”----> Macbeth tries to spur their anger by asking them why are you so patient as Banquo makes you life beggary. If they’re still patient like this, they will live like beggars.
Line 91 – 92 ---> “Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men; As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, cries,” ----> He starts to insult them as they are theoretically seem like men, but they don’t act like men. He uses exactly the same way of Lady Macbeth as he plays on their manhood. Their reaction is exactly what he wants in line 107 – 112.
Line 107 ----> “I am one, my liege. Who me the vile blows and buffers of the world Have so incensed, that I ma reckless what I do to spite the world.” ----> The reaction of the second murder shows how desperate he is. He says that I’ve suffered a lot in my life and I don’t care about what will happen.
Line 112 – 113 ----> “The I would set my life on any chance To mend it or be rid on’t.” ----> This is the reaction of the first murder. He says that he is ready to change his life and make it better or get rid of it. This shows how both of them have a sense of frustration or desperation. Macbeth gets what he wants.
Line 113 ----> “Both of you know Banquo was your enemy.” ----> Macbeth tells them directly and clearly that Banquo is their enemy. They answers him by saying “true, my lord”. This reflects their loyalty towards him.
Line 115 – 124 ----> “So is he mine; and in such bloody distance, That every minute of his being thrusts … and thought could with bare-faced power sweep him from my sight, …. reasons.” ----> Macbeth starts to explain why he can’t kill Banquo himself. He says that although Banquuo threatens his life, he can’t get rid of him. First, Banquo is a friend of people whom he cares about their opinion. Second, he can’t dare losing the public opinion and his political position. As a result, he cannot kill Banquo because of public opinion and political reasons. He shrewdly wants them to kill Banquo. It’s not easy to kill an influential person. He also doesn’t want to risk the public opinion.
Line 130 -----> “The moment on’t, for’t must be done tonight That I require a clearness … whose absence is no less material to me that is his father ….” ----> Macbeth takes the ole of Lady Macbeth as he is the one who gives the instructions. He tells the murderers the place and the time of the murder. He says that the right moment for this murder is tonight and it has to be away from the castle. Moreover, he says that they have to kill Fleance with his father as his death isn’t less important than the death of Banquo to him.
ACT III, scene ii:
Line 4 – 7 ----> “Nought’s bad, all’s spent, where our desire is go without content” -----> This sppeech that is said by Lady Macbeth is considered the first step that anticipates her downfall and weakness. She says that they get what they desired or wished for, but without gaining happiness. She also says that they live in doubtful joy after doing that act. Moreover, it is safer for them to be in the king’s place (death) as she says “ ‘T is safer to be that which we destroy, Than be destructor dwell in doubtful Joy.” These give a sense of insecurity, guilt, and a terrible sense of dissatisfaction. She regrets committing the crime as they have the authority and the crown, but they have no happiness.
Line 8 – 12 ----> “How now, my lord? Why do you keep alone, …. Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.” ----> There is a deliberate change of her mood as she changes it when Macbeth enters. She tells him not to think about the past as what is done is done. Moreover, she tries to give him a moral support and to cheer him up (to make someone pleased). Furthermore, she tries to hide her feelings in front of him as she does not want to be weak and afraid. She also tries to console him.
Line 13 – 15 ----> “We have scotched the snake not killed it: …. l whilst our poor malice Remains in danger of her former tooth.” ----> Macbeth feels insecure and dangerous. The words “snake” is a symbol for the forces that oppose him in rising to power. He says that he doesn’t kill the snake, but he just wounds it. That means there is a dangerous waiting for him which is Malcolm (the legal successor).
Line 16 – 19 ----> “But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer, Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and Sleep in the affliction of these trouble dreams that shake us nightly.” -----> Macbeth talks about his inability to sleep. He also has a terrible dream every day and live in fear. He can sleep no more. This reminds us with the witches conspiracy against the sailor. This reflects his sense of guilt and shame.
Line 19 – 26: Better be with the deed whom we, to gain our place have sent to peace Than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave; After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well; …. , nothing can touch him further.” ----> Macbeth, here, is jealous and envious of Duncan’s peace of mind. The murder does the worst issue to Duncan, as nothing can touch or hurt him. There is also nothing can interrupt his sleep. Macbeth is in a state of limbo which means he is haunted by a sense of guilt and anticipation of something that will never happen. In religion, to be in a limbo state means an anticipation of either to go to heaven or hell. This sate gives him a state of torture. Macbeth wishes to die like Duncan in order to reach the state of peace of mind as he is not on a solid ground. It is more comfortable for him to be punished. This adds to his nobility as a tragic hero. He wishes to sleep, but he cannot.
Line 27 – 29 ----> “Come on; Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged look; Be bright and Jovial among your guests tonight.” -----> Lady Macbeth gives him the support. She also advises him not to think about anything as she asks him to hide his fears. Furthermore, he must look bright and joyful in front of his guests in the banquet. She tells him to forget about anything and think only about the coronation.
Line 29 – 34 ----> “So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you Let your remembrance apply to Banquo: present him eminence; both with eye and tongue: …. And make our faces vizards to hearts, Disguising what they are.” ----> Macbeth expresses a sense of dichotomy, as he splits into two parts. (Dichotomy: a separation between 2 things that are opposite). He must appear happy and be gentle in the Banquet, but he is tortured inside. He feels fear and he is in a miserable state. He is tortured by guilt (if a feeling or knowledge tortures you, it makes you support mentality). He also must say the good qualities of Banquo in the Banquet in order to no one suspect him. He says that his face must be like a mask (vizard) to hide what he thinks about. This indicates the theme of appearance and reality (moral deterioration).
Line 36 – 37 ----> “O! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife. Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.” ----> He expresses the same feeling of fear in a different way. He says that his mind is full of fear as Banquo and Fleance are alive. He is troubled as his mind is full of troubles. He also has a fear because he has no legal position or divine right.
Line ----> “There shall be done a deed of dreadful note.” ----> This line implies that the significance of Lady Macbeth begins to deteriorate (decline). Moreover, she doesn’t know any thing about Banquo’s murder. She is not blamed on any other murder that takes place.
Line 46 -----> “Be innocent of the knowledge, destruction, till thou applaud the deed.” ----> Macbeth does not tell his wife anything about the murder. She also doesn’t know any details. He tells her too keep quiet and praise him till the deed is done. Then, she will congratulate him as she will see how he controls and plans a murder on his won. The word “dearest chuck” gives a term of endearment as it is used for addressing women.
Line 55 – 57 ----> “Thou marvellest at my words: buthold thee still; things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. So, pr’y thee, go with me.” ---> He clarifies that evil deeds are nourished by evil, as he makes himself strong. He says in scene iv, line 136 “I am in blood” which reflects the idea of blood will have blood. The mythical idea of vampire is that you have to have blood in order to live. It is a matter of survival either to live or the others live.
ACT III, scene iv:
Line 25 ----> “But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in saucy doubts and fears.” -----> All these things shows Macbeth’s sense of isolation and fear. He also has a fear of closed things. That is called (claustrophobia). He is afraid of Fleance who escaped. Fleance is still a danger that threated Macbeth.
Line 29 – 31 ----> There the grown serpent lies …. Hath nature that in time will venom breed, no teeth for the present …” ----> Macbeth, here, indicates that he feels a false sense of security. It is for a short time. The word “serpent” means Banquo and “worn” his son. He means that Fleance has no harm now, but he will be serpent and spreads his poison later on. He has a sense of insecurity and fear.
Line 53 – 58 ----> “Sir, worthy friends. My Lord is often thus, …., and regard him not. … [To Macbeth] Are you a man?” ---> It is very clear that the guests starts to suspect Macbeth. The role of Lady Macbeth is very effective as she tries to save the situation. She says that Macbeth has an illness and they should ignore it because this may increase his fear. She also plays on the idea of manhood again. She tries to resolute him that weakness in weakness in committing crime is against the manhood. According to her concept, the manhood is daring to kill any one that stands on his way of ambition. She also convinces him that having a conscience is a sign of weakness. She tries to get him out from the true reality to the surface reality. We can say that she tries to justify and makes excuse for her husband when he begins to hallucinate. She also tries to give him a moral support. The reply of Macbeth on Lady Macbeth that he is not a man is that this scene of Banquo’s ghost is a horrifying scene. It may fear devil himself.
Line 63 ---> “O! These flows and starts would well become a woman’s story at a winter’s fire,” ----> For the third time, she plays on his manhood. She thinks that he is like a woman who sits beside a fire telling stories that she hears from her grandmother. She indicates that he has a feminine qualities. She sees that women could be weak, sensitive, but men must be reasonable and strong. Both of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have different attitudes towards manhood. Macbeth sees manhood is nobility, bravery, and honesty. On contrary, Lady Macbeth sees that it is to kill people and face devil.
Line 128 ----> Macbeth says that Macduff refuses to attend Macbeth’s Banquet as he refuses Macbeth as a king.
Line 130 ----> “I hear it by the way … I keep a servant fee’d.” ----> This proves that Macbeth has spies everywhere. He has already know that Macduff will not come because he has spies everywhere. This shows the autocratic regime. He knows that Macduff will be his enemy. His decision to go to the witches is an attitude of a desperate man. He wants to know more prophecies.
Line 136 – 137 ----> “I am in blood stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more,” ----> He says that it is too late to go back according to the psychology of evil. He loses hope of salvation, so it is useless to repent. This is considered a stage of his downfall. At the beginning, Macbeth hesitates to kill Duncan, then he deals with the murder. He has a sense of guilt and fear. Then, he loses his sense of security and his state of being innocent. The audience can identify with Macbeth as they can see his psychology.
ACT III, scene v:
This scene may be written by Shakespeare or by another write too decrease the tension of the previous scene of Banquo’s murder. In the first case, the witches will be real not imagination. On the contrary, the second case proves that they are imagination.
This scene clarifies the omnipresence of the witches as their recurrence shows that evil and fate are present everywhere. Macbeth may be a victim to their inspiration as the power of suggestion pushes him to do evil things. Their prophecies reflect Macbeth's inner psychology. Hecate is the queen of the witches. She insults them by saying “saucy, and overbold? How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth,”. She is very angry as they deal with Macbeth against her back. In that case, they ignore her authority. She also tells them that they betray her for the sake of such spoiled son, Macbeth who cares only about himself. On contrary, she cares about their welfare. This is proved by saying “Htah been but for a wayward son, spiteful and wrathful; we, as others do, loves for his own ends, not for you.” She also says “he shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear; and you all know, security is mortals’ chiefest enemy. She clarifies that Macbeth seeks security and reassurance. They know that security is his weak point, so the prophecies give him a false sense of security. Thus, Macbeth may be a victim to their conspiracy against him. There is also an elaboration in the use of the witches which gives a dramatic effect. They set a doom atmosphere and move the plot forward. In addition, they are a reflection of Macbeth’s inner psychology. Their appearance is very spectacular as they are seen on the stage. This gives an effective and emotive dramatic effect about man’s struggle against fate.
ACT III; scene vi:
It is considered the climax of the play and the peak of the complication as the people begin to suspect Macbeth. The public opinion is supressed as Macbeth follows the autocratic system. Thus, the country is in a bad state, people begin to talk, and their is a feeling of insecurity everywhere. The public opinion is represented in Lenox and the Lord. This scene also gives us information about the public opinion. Lenox talks in an ironical way. He is very sarcastic as Banquo and Duncan are killed in the same way. They sons blamed for their murder as they escape.