Act 3 summaries

Scene 1: Forres. The palace.

Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast he is holding that night, although he is secretly plotting to have Banquo killed before that. Duncan’s sons are in exile, claiming that Macbeth is a traitor who has usurped the throne. Macbeth tells Banquo that this is a lie and that the sons killed their own father. Banquo agrees to join the feast but is secretly worried that his old friend did not obtain the throne honestly. 

Macbeth, in turn, is worried that the witches’ prophecy about Banquo will come true, just like his own. This would mean that Macbeth has in fact murdered Duncan for Banquo’s heirs, not his own. Thus, Macbeth invites two murderers to his castle and talks them into killing Banquo and Fleance. 

Scene 2: The palace.

Before the feast, Macbeth speaks with his wife, Lady Macbeth. He is deeply troubled by what he has done and increasingly paranoid about the future. She does her best to calm him down. Ho...

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