Macbeth Act 3 Short Summary

Scene 1

In the palace at Forres, Banquo is wondering about the truth in the prophecies of the three witches which became true in the case of Macbeth. He is ambitiously speculating whether his bloodline will be comprised of kings.

Macbeth, Lady Macbeth enter as the king and the queen to invite Banquo for the feast that night. Macbeth talks about Malcolm and Donalbain and tries persuading Banquo into the idea that away from the state they might be plotting against his crowning.

Macbeth in a soliloquy expresses his fear for Banquo. If the prophecies of the witches are to be true then he is a king without an heir. He decides against Banquo and meets two murderers and convinces them of all the wrongs Banquo has done. He makes them promise that they’ll kill Banquo and his son Fleance along with him.

Scene 2

Lady Macbeth enters with a servant and asks for Macbeth. Together, they agree with their doubts about Banquo. Lady Macbeth asks him to be merry around Banquo in order to give him a false sense of security.

Scene 3

Three murderers gather and discuss while waiting for Banquo and his son. They kill Banquo while he asks Fleance to flee the scene and avenge his death someday. Fleance escapes and the three murderers leave to convey the progress to Macbeth.

Scene 4

Macbeth with Lady Macbeth and others attend the banquet. Murderer 1 delivers the message of Banquo’s murder and Fleance escaping the scene which sends him into another crisis. When he returns to the table and sees Banquo’s ghost which makes him hysterical.

Lady Macbeth tries saving the situation while rebuking Macbeth. The ghost vanishes only to reappear which sends Macbeth into another burst of hysteria which reveals his deep inner insecurities. All of them leave except Macbeth and lady Macbeth where she takes him to sleep and consoles him from his fears.

Scene 5

The three witches gather at a heath to meet Hecate who is considered as the goddess of witchcraft. She chides them for not including her in this plan. She tells them to use their trick to send him into further confusion while filling him with the deception of security.

Scene 6 

Lennox is talking to another Lord. Together they start doubting Macbeth. That Lord says of the son of Duncan and how he has taken refuge in the English court of King Edward to ask for his help. Together they hope that Macduff and Malcolm come with such aids and save their suffering country from the tyranny of Macbeth.