Macbeth Act 3 Discussion Questions

Instructor: Alicia Taylor

Alicia has taught students of all ages and has a master's degree in Education

These discussion questions delve into the way each scene of Act III develops the overall themes of 'Macbeth' while also ensuring that students catch important plot points as they arise.

Questions about Scene I

Themes

  • Who is suspicious of whom in this scene? What causes these suspicions?
  • Compare and contrast the view of fate held by Banquo, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth.

Plot

  • Compare and contrast the attitudes and actions shown in Act III, Scene 1 with those of Act I, Scene 6.
  • How does Macbeth convince the murderers to kill Banquo?

Character

  • Macbeth makes a choice after worrying about the witches' prophecy that Banquo's sons will be kings. What is this choice? What makes this decision ironic?
  • In this scene, Macbeth makes himself the host of Banquo by inviting him to dinner. What kind of host is Macbeth?

Questions about Scene 2

Themes

  • Macbeth ends this scene with the line, ''Come seeling night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day.'' Why does Macbeth want it to be night? What does Macbeth hope the night will bring?

Plot

  • How does Lady Macbeth's role in Act III, Scene 2 differ from her role in the previous scenes?

Character

  • How do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel about their position? What do the phrases, ''doubtful joy'' and ''sorriest fantasies'' reveal about their moods?
  • Lady Macbeth says, ''Naught's had, all's spent, Where our desire is got without content.'' What does this line mean? Why is it significant for her character?

Questions about Scene 3

Themes

  • What happens to the sun and the torch in this scene? How does this develop Macbeth's theme of darkness?

Plot

  • How does the outcome of the murderers' efforts relate to the witches' prophecy about Banquo?

Questions about Scene 4

Themes

  • What unnatural activities occur during this scene? What unnatural activities are mentioned by the characters? How does Lady Macbeth's instruction that the guests ''stand not upon the order of [their] going'' relate to the theme of natural disorder?
  • What does Lady Macbeth recommend to her husband as the cure for his troubles?

Plot

  • How do the guests react to Macbeth's outburst upon seeing Banquo's ghost? How does Lady Macbeth explain his behavior?
  • What does Macbeth decide to do following the visit from Banquo's ghost?

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