Act III – Study Guide – Answer Key (Just the BASICS)
1. What does Banquo think about the witches prophesies?
Since they have come true for Macbeth, they may yet come true for him as well. (He also alludes to the fact that Macbeth may have had a hand in bringing about the outcome of the prophesies when he says “play’dst most foully for it” in line 3. ‘FOUL PLAY’)
2. Why does Macbeth want Banquo and Fleance dead?
He knows they suspect him of foul play, and he is furious that he has done all of the work
(so-to-speak) of becoming king, and Banquo's descendants will benefit from it rather than his.
3. Macbeth says he will be alone until the feast. What does he really do during this time?
--meets with the two murderers
4. How does Macbeth convince the murderers to help him?
--plays on their sense of manhood (not unlike how Lady Macbeth did Macbeth in Act I), tells them Banquo is their enemy and if they want to be men, they will do something about him, says he’d do it himself but he doesn’t want to upset their (his and Banquo’s) mutual friends
5. What is Macbeth's plan for killing Banquo and Fleance? Does it work?
He gets two convicted murderers to wait along the road to ambush them. The murderers
kill Banquo, but Fleance escapes.
6. Macbeth says, "The worm that's fled Hath nature that in time will venom breed, No teeth for
the present." What does that mean?
Fleance will be a problem in the future, since he will have children who will become kings, but for now Macbeth can let him go and deal with other things because Fleance is of no immediate threat to him personally.
7. Who (what) did Macbeth see at the banquet table?
He saw Banquo's ghost.
8. How does Lady Macbeth cover for Macbeth at the banquet? What excuses does she give for his wild talk?
She tells the guests that he often has these fits, that those who know him well have learned to ignore them. When Macbeth really gets out of hand, she sends the guests home.
9. Who else was missing from the banquet table (besides Banquo)?
Macduff is missing.
10. Macbeth says, "I am in blood Stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er." What does he mean?
There is no going back now. Macbeth is committed to this course of action, whatever terrible things he may yet have to do.
11. Why does Hecate “look angerly” upon the other witches (III.v.1)?
They did not include her in the plan to bring down Macbeth.
12. What does Hecate want the witches to do?
She wants the witches to give Macbeth some visions which will give him false impressions, false hopes for his personal safety and the safety of his rule, so he will continue on his path of destruction.
13. What does Lennox think about Macbeth, Fleance, and Duncan's sons?
Literally, with NO sarcasm, he thinks Macbeth is the "good guy," Fleance killed Banquo, and Duncan's sons killed the king.
Sarcastically, he seems to be saying the exact opposite: It is ridiculous to think Duncan’s sons would kill him, Fleance had no reason to kill Banquo, and Macbeth has made a mess of Scotland.
14. Ironically, Lennox calls Macbeth what to show his real attitude toward him?
15. At the end of Act III, what seems to be coming to Scotland?
war (Macbeth (with his Scottish forces) vs. Malcolm (with Siward, English troops, and those loyal to Duncan)