Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act III

The focal points of the Act III of Shakespeare’s Macbeth are the banquet held by Macbeth and the murder of Banquo, his chief guest. If there had been any sympathy for a hero Macbeth, it’s long gone by the beginning of Act III. With every new murder that he directly or indirectly commits, Macbeth turns into such a repulsive character that the reader’s desire to see him killed grows from page to page. Macbeth becomes

a mirror image of Lady Macbeth! Now she is the one who appears scared and anxious, while Macbeth is on a killing spree. Deep in blood already, Macbeth is unstoppable. He even adopts Lady Macbeth’s tactic of challenging manhood of his servants the same way she challenges his when Macbeth hesitates about killing king Duncan. When one of the murderers in Act 3, scene 3 says, “We are men, my liege”,

Macbeth responds sarcastically,

“Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,

Shoughs, water rugs, and demi wolves, are clept

All by the name of dogs…”

What Macbeth is really saying to his servants is that they won’t be real men until they kill Banquo.

During dinner, Macbeth makes a fool of himself since he is the only one who sees Banquo’s ghost. Macbeth is horrified by his presence, and acts absolutely insane.

The themes of revenge and no immoral deeds go without consequences are portrayed in Banquo’s appearance as a ghost. He is back to torture Macbeth’s conscience. While Lady Macbeth still manages to stay calm, at least on the outside,

Macbeth looses his connection with reality.

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One response to “Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act III

  1. Isn’t it interesting that Macbeth becomes such a contemptible character, when at the start of the play, he was much more sympathetic than Lady Macbeth? Great job!

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