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

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Act 3, Scene 2: Lady Macbeth and her husband talk about the present state of affairs in the palace.  Macbeth is restless even though King Duncan is dead-he feels that Banquo is a serious threat to his sovereignty.  Lady Macbeth is surprised by his plans to kill Banquo and Fleance, and thinks that these additional murders are unnecessary.  Macbeth, however, tells her that they cannot enjoy their newfound royal status unless Banquo is dead.  He tells her to be calm and act like a charming hostess to all of the guests.  Whereas in Act 2 Lady Macbeth had to orchestrate the whole crime and assume a manlier role, Macbeth is now fully enveloped in his role as the evil and powerful king.  He is much more courageous in crime than he ever was in virtuous deed.
Act 3, Scene 3: The murderers stealthily await Banquo and Fleance's carriage one mile from Macbeth's gate.  The father and son decide to walk the remaining distance to the castle and are suddenly attacked by the murderers.  Although Banquo tragically dies, Fleance manages to escape.  Thus, the murderers must report to Macbeth with only half of their job done.  This nonliterary scene is considered the climax of the play.  Macbeth is doomed because Banquo's posterity-Fleance-still lives.

 

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