|Act 1|Act 2|Act 3|Act 4|Act 5|

Scene SummariesCharactersThemesMotifs
Scene 1:


Banquo thinks about the prophecy when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth enter to invite him to the banquet that night.  He goes riding with his son, Fleance and Macbeth thinks about his fear of Banquo.  Some men arrive whom Macbeth sends off to murder Banquo.

Banquo’s suspicion rises when he monologues. He is the only other person who witnessed the prophecy. Therefore he has reason to believe Macbeth may have committed a horrid deed in order to gain the crown. Banquo states this in the line, “Thou played’st” p 84 most foully for ‘t. Saying the crown came to Macbeth’s grasp through shameful ways.


Macbeth is aware of the threat Banquo poses on his life, and title. The prophecy has come true so far so it’s possible Banquo’s end will come true too. When Macbeth states ‘Our fears in Banquo stick deep.’ That could be because Banquo has a certain nobility, and morale that Macbeth himself lacks. Macbeth knows that if he lets Banquo know about the horrid deed, Banquo will do only what he knows is right. Macbeth sees that by killing Duncan and taking the crown he’s just stepped the prophecy even closer to Banquo’s offspring receiving the crown. Macbeth doesn’t have any children he can pass his crown to. Therefore, he sees that he killed a man he cared about for a crown that will ultimately be fruitless.

Appearance hiding reality is something we see in this act. There are people of the nobility who are suspicious and fearing Macbeth may not be the man he seems to be. Banquo has more of an insight than the other thanes. He knows the possible motives for why Macbeth would kill the good King Duncan.


Macbeth uses his titles and his respected position, to convince some people that Banquo is bad, and has caused them grief. He leads them to murder an innocent, and good man, just to protect himself. Which could also be seen as a form of tyranny.

Blood – when talking about the murderers to Banquo, Macbeth calls them ‘bloody cousins’. p 86 Putting blame on someone else, trying to lower Banquo’s suspicion.


Disease – Macbeth talks about Banquo as if he is but a disease. Something that needs to be abolished in order for him to be fixed. This is all a part of his delusions. Macbeth says this in phrases such as ‘Which in his death were perfect.’ P92

Scene 2:


Macbeth discusses his troubles with Lady Macbeth: he is unhappy that not everything is sorted out but won’t tell her the next part of his plan.  He tells her to stay innocent until everything is completed.

Macbeth keeps chasing his ambition, but alas it causes paranoia. He went from being an ambitious man, knowing what he wanted, to being a shell of regret. Wondering if the ends justify the means, and what the end really is. He has become such a ruin that he feels jealous of King Duncan. He is dead and resting. He died noble and loved. Macbeth experiences the thought of “Better be with the dead – than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy.” P 98 frightening forms as he explains to his wife, “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind!’ p 98


Lady Macbeth watches her husband in his insanity and only wishes for him to calm down. He has worked himself up, and it’s too late to fix anything that has already happened. “what’s done is done.” P 96 His demons are taking many

Ambition is a heavily discussed theme here. The is guilt too that takes the form of fear. Seen Macbeth says ‘we have scorched the snake but not killed it’ p 96Macbeth is continuing to use disease as to how he sees the problems. There always seems to be a new problem haunting him. He thinks he has solved the issue and another comes up.
Scene 3:


The murderers kill Banquo but Fleance escapes

A third murderer appears at the murder of Banquo. I believe that this is Macbeth. It shows his insecurity and the fact that he doesn’t even trust the men he hired to complete the murder right.


When Banquo dies Fleance runs away, not to the castle. This tells us that Banquo may have told Fleance of his suspicions of Macbeth. Fleance could have felt if he runs to the castle it will be even worse of a fate for him.

Evil surrounds this whole scenario. Macbeth going as far as to try to kill Banquo and Fleance is an evil act. 
Scene 4:


During a feast, Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost and is terrified.  Lady Macbeth covers for him although she doesn’t know what he can see or why.

The murder of Banquo has further ruined Macbeth. He has killed many people before as a leader in battle. The murders of Banquo and Duncan are very different for him. Those are people he once cared about, men who trusted him, friends. There is a sense of guilt and horrid shame that follows Macbeth. This takes place in the form of visions, like Banquo’s ghost, holding him back.Chaos, there is a form of chaos running through the veins of this scene. It starts out calm and relaxed. The thanes were nobly asked to sit in the order of their ranks. Everything is controlled, and Macbeth is very in charge. The sudden and haunting appearance of Banquo’s ghost moves everything into unrest and deformalized the event. By the end of the scene, Lady Macbeth takes control of the mess clearing everyone out saying ‘Don’t bother exiting in the order of your rank but leave right away. Her distress growing as the tension does is a good metaphor for the whole scene. 
Scene 5:


The Witches meet with Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft: she tells the Witches off for meddling and says she will take over, promising to create visions for Macbeth which draw

We meet Hecate: She is the leader of the witches and she is angry. She is upset that the other Witches would meddle with someone, and share the prophecies without first consulting her, as she is their leader. She decides that she will continue on tinkering with Macbeth. She will give him prophecies that make him believe he is invincible and untouchable.As we see with any scenes relating to witchcraft, darkness and evil are themes. Witches are related to negative energy. Especially in the times, this play was originally written.Similar to evil, we sense an aura of darkness and trickery. Hecate makes it her goal to confuse Macbeth, and send powerful illusions his way.
Scene 6:


Two Lords discuss Banquo’s death and their suspicions of Macbeth.  They also discuss how Macduff has gone to England for help in fighting Macbeth.

Lennox is absolutely convinced that Macbeth is a bad man and has killed Duncan. There is a large amount of sarcasm that takes place in his soliloquy that takes place at the start of this scene. “Such a heinous crime – How it saddened Macbeth! Wasn’t it loyal of him to kill those two servants right away?” p 127 Showing Lennox’s suspicion towards Macbeth’s horrid deed.  
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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