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Macbeth, Act 3 / 1 In his opening soliloquoy, Banquo voices his suspicions about Macbeth. Yet he chooses not to act, because the witches prophecies may.

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Presentation on theme: "Macbeth, Act 3 / 1 In his opening soliloquoy, Banquo voices his suspicions about Macbeth. Yet he chooses not to act, because the witches prophecies may."— Presentation transcript:

1 Macbeth, Act 3 / 1 In his opening soliloquoy, Banquo voices his suspicions about Macbeth. Yet he chooses not to act, because the witches prophecies may benefit his own children. So, Banquo, too, is ambitious – and his inactivity allows for a ruthless tyrant to rule the kingdom, inflicting suffering and chaos throughout. We observe the corrupting effects of ambition on both of these men! The conversation that follows illustrates Macbeth’s duplicity – he speaks warmly and generously to Banquo while he’s actually plotting his death! He casually asks B about his plans for the next few hours – in order to best plan the murder! Such a contrast with the man who was horrified by the mere thought of murder in act 1. Whatever moral restraint he posessed earlier has evaporated

2 Act 3 /1 Macbeth’s soliloquoy here is hugely significant. It illustrates several important points –Firstly, being king has not brought happiness. Banquo is a problem, given the witches predictions and he needs to be eliminated! To be king is nothing, but to be “safely” king! That’s the priority now. –Secondly, Macbeth, self-aware as always, recognises the enormity of what he has done! Tormented in his mind, he knowingly excalims that he has… Murdered the gracious Duncan Defiled his conscience Ruined his mind with tormented thoughts And given his very soul to the devil. And he’s done it all “for Banquo’s issue”. His assessment of Banquo’s character is also important. He speaks of his “royalty of nature” and his bravery and wisdom. The implication is that these kingly qualities are lacking in Macbeth himself and this suggests his own insecurity as king! Note that he uses the same manipulative strategy with the murderers that Lady Macbeth used on him. He questions their manhood! He pours his spirits into their ears just as she had done to him!

3 Act 3 /1 Finally, we must consider that Macbeth has planned these murders without the assistance or even knowledge of his wife…without whom he was unable to kill “the gracious Duncan”. Essentially, Macbeth is a man who is aware of the evil he does…..yet he continues to do it. This is one of the main reasons audiences resonate with him. We have all done things that are wrong….knowing they were wrong as we did them….and did them anyway! When we look at Macbeth, we see a representation of our own internal struggle.

4 Act 3 / 2 Here we see more of the psychological consequences of what M and LM have done. They both realise that they haven’t achieved their goal despite having gained the crown.. –LM says “'Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” –while M later asserts that it’s “Better be with the dead, / Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, / Than on the torture of the mind to lie / In restless ecstasy.” He tells LM that his mind is “full of scorpions”. –LM accuses her husband “Of sorriest fancies (his) companions making, / Using those thoughts which should indeed have died / With them they think on.” –So, clearly they are both aware of their deep unhappiness with the situation –Note too how the relationship begins to deteriorate. M moves against B and F without his wife’s knowledge or involvement. Once, united in purpose against Duncan, they become increasingly isolated.

5 Act 3 / 2 Of particular note is M’s chilling speec at the close of the scene. Look at the language and imagery he uses and see how it mirrors LM’s demonic soliloquoy in Act 1. “Come, seeling night, / Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day / And with thy bloody and invisible hand / Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond / Which keeps me pale. Light thickens, and the crow / Makes wing to th' rooky wood. / Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse”

6 Act 3 / 3 This is the primary turning point in the play. So far everything has been in Macbeth's favour, and, outwardly at least, his career has been one unbroken series of successes. The escape of Fleance, however, is his first piece of bad luck. From here on, everything goes wrong for him. Basically, then, Banquo is killed, Fleance escapes. Macbeth has sent a 3 rd murderer to ‘keep a watch’ so to speak on the other two, to see the job gets done properly. This is symptomatic of his deepening insecurity and lack of trust in those around him. Fleance’s escape will add to Macbeth’s paranoia and further torment his already tormented mind. Note that in trying to murder B and F, Macbeth is attempting to thwart “fate”. He hasn’t succeeded though and this will weigh heavily on his mind.

7 Act 3 / 4 (the banquet scene) A royal occasion which should have been marked by majesty and dignity descends into disorder and chaos. Having learned of Fleance’s escape M is plunged into torment and hallucinates seeing the ghost of Banquo. –The ghost appears and vanishes several times. –Each time M becomes distraught and beginst to rant at the apparition…..this is not good as he risks giving himself away in front of the thanes who initially think he’s ranting at them! –Each time, LM steps in to save the moment, telling the nobles that M’s ranting behaviour is due to a condition that comes upon him from time to time. Note that the ghost sits in the place reserved for Macbeth. –The symbolism of this is obvious – Banquo’s descendants will, as predicted by the weird sisters, sit on the throne now occupied by Macbeth. –Remember, M has just learned the Fleance has escaped!

8 Act 3 / 4 (the banquet scene) Previously M revealed that his mind is “full of scorpions”. The last thing he needs is this! And so, we can expect his sanity / behaviour to deteriorate even further from this point on. Lady Macbeth tries to chastise him discreetly, to control himself but he cannot – so great is his torment. He continues to rant at the ghost (who no-one else can see!) Towards the end of the scene we have the impression that M is ranting, out of control, in front of the nobles, without any care or caution for what he’s actually saying. He asks LM how she can retain the natual colour in her cheeks when she “can behold such sights”. It’s at this point Ross asks M the question that everyone else must be thinking… “what sights, my lord?” It’s a decisive moment. LM knows that the situation is beyond saving and basically shoo’s them all out before any more can be said. We have the impression of the thanes almost falling over one another in their haste to leave. Quite an ending to what should have been a royal and noble occasion.

9 Act 3 / 4 (the banquet scene) Note how, as we might have expected, M’s mood has become dark, brooding, disconnected from reality. His words are dark, filled with images of blood and death… –It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak.Augurs and understood relations haveBy magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forthThe secret’st man of blood. At this point LM is drained…seems spent….weary…..while Macbeth’s mind sinks further into darkness. –His words at the very end are chilling, denoting a new step in his moral degradation –Firstly he compares himself to someone who has walked out into a river of blood and realises that going back would be just as burdensome as carrying on (in this case, with his deedsof blood) –He decides to seek out the witches and know the worst. –He declares that he has some schemes in his head that he’s planning to put into action. He will do these things before he has a chance to think about them. –Chillingly, he suggests that the reason for his strange, fit-like behaviour is because he’s not yet used to doing evil. –But that will all change……..

10 Act 3 / 5 This very short scene adds little to the development of the play. Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, berates the three witches for getting involved with Macbeth without her participation. She instructs the three to further confuse macbeth by showing him visions. Of course, the witches won’t tell Macbeth the full truth but present it to him in such a manner as to give rise to a false sense of security. Always remember, the witches speak in half – truths. Their purpose with M is the same as it was with the sailor’s husband in act 1 / 3……they can influence the circumstances surrounding their victim without being able to directly harm him. The object of the exercise is to wear him down. In Macbeth’s case they will do exactly what Banquo predicted they would…..they will “win us with honest trifles to betray us in deepest consequence”. At this point, Macbeth’s weakness is his need for security….the witches will feed this need with their duplicitous prophecies in an attempt to lead Macbeth on to his own destruction.

11 Act 3 / 6 The purpose of this short scene is to outline the state of affairs in Scotland under M’s rule and also to contrast Macbeth in Scotland with Edward, king of England! It’s not a pretty picture. The scene uses imagery that associates Macbeth with hell and the forces of good with saintliness. Scotland suffers “under a hand accursed” whilst Macduff has gone to England to “pray the holy king”, “pious Edward”. The scottish lords represented by Lennox and another noble outline how bad things have become. –There is general suspicion in the land now that Macbeth was responsible for killing Duncan and Banquo. –He is regarded by all the nobles as a tyrant. –The scottish lords look forward to the end of his rule, to a time when they can once again feel safe from the threat of murder at their own feasts, when they can give the king the honour he deserves and be rewarded honestly. This scene steers the plot in a particular direction….we seem to be heading for a confrontation between England and Scotland, with Macbeth being opposed by the earl of Northumberland, Malcolm, Macduff and most – if not all of the Scottish nobles. And so, along with everything else, we see just how isolated M has become.

12 Act 3 / 6 Pay particular attention to the sarcastic tone used by Lennox in his opening exchange with the other lord. We can almost hear the irony in his voice. His real meaning of course is abundantly clear when he reaches the end of his comments and refers to “the tyrants feast”, ie, Macbeth’s feast!

13 Quotes for act 3 / 1 Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all / As the weird women promised, and, I fear / Thou play'dst most foully for't (Banquo) We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd / In England and in Ireland, not confessing / Their cruel parricide (Macbeth) To be thus is nothing / But to be safely thus.--Our fears in Banquo Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be fear'd. (Macbeth) Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown / And put a barren sceptre in my gripe / Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand / No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so / For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind / For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd / Put rancours in the vessel of my peace / Only for them; and mine eternal jewel / Given to the common enemy of man / To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! (Macbeth) Both of you / Know Banquo was your enemy (Macbeth) Fleance his son, that keeps him company / Whose absence is no less material to me / Than is his father's, must embrace the fate / Of that dark hour (Macbeth)

14 Quotes Act 3 / 2 Nought's had, all's spent / Where our desire is got without content: / Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. (LM) Things without all remedy / Should be without regard: what's done is done. (LM) We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it (Macbeth) better be with the dead / Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace / Than on the torture of the mind to lie / In restless ecstasy (Macbeth) Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks / Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night. (LM) O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! (Macbeth) Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck / Till thou applaud the deed (Macbeth) Come, seeling night / Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day / And with thy bloody and invisible hand / Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond / Which keeps me pale (Macbeth)

15 Quotes act 3 / 3 He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers / Our offices and what we have to do / To the direction just. (2 nd murderer) O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! / Thou mayst revenge. (Banquo) There's but one down; the son is fled. (3 rd murderer) We have lost / Best half of our affair (2 nd murderer)

16 Quotes act 3 / 4 You know your own degrees; sit down: at first / And last the hearty welcome. (Macbeth) Most royal sir / Fleance is 'scaped. (murderer) Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect / Whole as the marble, founded as the rock / As broad and general as the casing air / But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears. (Macbeth) safe in a ditch he bides / With twenty trenched gashes on his head; (murderer on Banquo) Thou canst not say I did it: never shake / Thy gory locks at me. (M to B’s ghost) Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus / And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat / The fit is momentary. (LM on M) Why do you make such faces? When all's done / You look but on a stool (LM on M) Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo! / how say you? (M to LM) the times have been / That, when the brains were out, the man would die / And there an end; but now they rise again / With twenty mortal murders on their crowns / And push us from our stools. (Macbeth) Can such things be…. when now I think you can behold such sights / And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks. (Macbeth to LM)

17 Quotes act 3 / 4 What sights, my lord? (Ross to M) I pray you, speak not, he grows worse and worse…. At once, good night / Stand not upon the order of your going / But go at once. (LM to nobles) It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood: (Macbeth) There's not a one of them but in his house / I keep a servant fee'd. I will to- morrow / And betimes I will, to the weird sisters / More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know / By the worst means, the worst. (Macbeth) For mine own good / All causes shall give way: (Macbeth) I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more / Returning were as tedious as go o'er: (Macbeth) Strange things I have in head, that will to hand / Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd. (Macbeth) You lack the season of all natures, sleep. (LM) My strange and self-abuse / Is the initiate fear that wants hard use: / We are yet but young in deed. (Macbeth)

18 Quotes act 3 / 5 This scene is largely irrelevant and is considered by most commentators to be a later addition to the play – some modern performances leave it out altogether. It’s not necessary to dwell on it.

19 Quotes act 3 / 6 My former speeches have but hit your thoughts / Which can interpret further: only, I say / Things have been strangely borne. (Lennox) (Malcolm) From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth / Lives in the English court, and is received / Of the most pious Edward…(Lord) Thither Macduff / Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid / To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward (Lord) we may again / Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights / Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives / Do faithful homage and receive free honours: / All which we pine for now. (Lord) Some holy angel / Fly to the court of England and unfold / His (Macduff’s) message ere he come, that a swift blessing / May soon return to this our suffering country Under a hand accursed! (Lennox)


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