Macbeth: Novel Summary: Act 2, Scene 4-Act 3, Scene 1

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Act 2, Scene 4: An old man tells Ross that he has never before seen a stranger night.  Although it is technically day, the country is still covered with darkness.  The shrieks of ominous creatures pervade the land.  Macduff enters and tells Ross that the Norwegians are the main suspects for the murder.  He thinks that they are trying to wreak revenge on Macbeth for defeating them in battle.  He also thinks that Malcolm and Donalbain consorted with the Norwegians, which is why they quickly fled Inverness after the crime was discovered.  Macduff also tells Ross that Macbeth has been named the new king and is traveling to Scone to be ordained.  Ross plans to travel with Macbeth to Scone while Macduff goes to Fife.

Act 3, Scene 1: Banquo is troubled by the fact that all of the witches' prophecies have come true.  He thinks that Macbeth is king because of some foul play on his part.  He also wonders now if it is true that his posterity will be the future monarchs of Scotland.  Macbeth and his wife enter and announce that they will be having a supper that night and that everyone, especially Banquo, is cordially invited.  Banquo, however, explains that he and Fleance will be delayed because he has duties to attend to that night.  After Banquo leaves, Macbeth says to himself that now Banquo is his greatest enemy.  His royal nature, valor and shrewd mind all pose threats to Macbeth's monarchy.  In addition, Macbeth fears that the witches' prediction that Banquo's posterity will be heirs to the monarchy will come true.  Thus, he plots to kill Banquo and Fleance while they travel through the forest at night.  He hires two murderers to do the deed.  Macbeth tells them that Banquo is the reason that they are so poor.  Enraged, the murderers agree to kill Banquo and Fleance and later meet up with Macbeth during the banquet.

 

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