Macbeth (Act 3 Scene 2): ISC Class 12 workbook answers

Macbeth Act 3 scene 2
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Get summary, workbook solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the drama/play “Macbeth” Act 3 Scene 2 by William Shakespeare which is a part of Class 12 English syllabus for students studying under ISC.


Lady Macbeth is disillusioned as the crown has not brought her happiness. She feels it’s better to die than live in doubt. When Macbeth enters, she asks why he is distant and obsessed with wretched thoughts and memories. She tells him to put the past behind, saying “What’s done is done.”

Macbeth replies that while they “scotch’d the snake” by killing Duncan, it still lives and may yet rise against them. But he is determined not to let that happen. They killed Duncan for power but now find he is at peace while they suffer turmoil. Nothing can disturb his eternal rest.

Lady Macbeth advises Macbeth to hide his distress before their guests at the banquet. Macbeth agrees and asks her to honour Banquo. Lady Macbeth tells him not to obsess about the past.

Macbeth then confesses his bitterness that Banquo and Fleance still live. Lady Macbeth remarks that their lease of life is not eternal, consoling Macbeth. He hints that a terrible deed will be done before nightfall but does not give details, saying she need not know till it is done.

He then poetically calls on night to close the eyes of compassionate day so it cannot look upon the coming deed of darkness. He concludes that further crimes may strengthen his position gained by earlier crimes.

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Workbook answers

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

1. Lady Macbeth feels that they have

a. gained everything after killing Duncan b. gained nothing after killing Duncan c. attained great peace after killing the King d. have exposed their guilt after killing the King

Answer: b. gained nothing after killing Duncan

2. Macbeth fears that they

a. needn’t fear anymore b. have scorched the snake but not killed it c. will see better days d. will have peaceful nights

Answer: b. have scorched the snake but not killed it

3. Lady Macbeth advises Macbeth to

a. be bright and jovial b. pay attention to Banquo c. be aloof and unfriendly with the guests d. avoid attending the banquet

Answer: a. be bright and jovial

4. Macbeth is disturbed because

a. Banquo and his son Fleance live b. Lady Macbeth lives c. he does not want to attend the banquet d. he did not go for a ride with Banquo

Answer: a. Banquo and his son Fleance live

5. Macbeth addresses the night to

a. to sew up the eye of day b. not come at all c. kill all the deadly creatures d. to bring rain so that Macbeth can wash away his sins.

Answer: a. to sew up the eye of day

Context questions

1. Lady Macbeth: Nought’s had, all’s spent
Where are desire is got without consent;
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy.
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
How now, my lord! Why do you keep alone.

a. Why does Lady Macbeth feel that they have gained nothing and whatever they have done has been pointless?

Answer: Lady Macbeth feels they have gained nothing because, despite attaining their desires (the crown), it’s without contentment. She expresses a sense of despair and disillusionment, feeling it’s safer to be the victim than live in doubtful joy as a result of their deeds.

b. What do you learn about Macbeth’s behaviour from the lines that follow?

Answer: Macbeth is portrayed as consumed by fear and guilt. His preoccupation with the consequences of their actions, particularly the murder of Duncan, dominates his thoughts, reflecting a state of anxiety and paranoia.

c. What is Lady Macbeth’s attitude towards their deed of murdering Duncan?

Answer: Lady Macbeth’s attitude is one of regret and a sense of futility. She questions the worth of their actions, suggesting that the murder of Duncan has brought them more turmoil than triumph.

d. Give the meaning of the following words:

i. sorriest fancies

Answer: Deeply regretful or mournful thoughts.

ii. doubtful joy

Answer: Happiness that is uncertain or questionable.

e. What change is found in Lady Macbeth’s behaviour when compared to what she was in the beginning of the play?

Answer: Initially, Lady Macbeth was the instigator and more ambitious. Now, she exhibits despair and doubt, a significant shift from her earlier determination and ruthlessness.

2. Macbeth: But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead
Whom we, gain our peace, we have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy

a. Explain the first four lines of the extract.

Answer: Macbeth expresses his willingness to endure the collapse of the natural order and the world’s suffering rather than live in constant fear and be haunted by terrible nightmares. His words reflect a preference for absolute chaos over his current torment.

b. What is the image related to danger that Macbeth has used just before this extract?

Answer: Just prior to this extract, Macbeth uses the image of a wounded snake to symbolise the danger they are in. He suggests that they have only injured the snake (their threat), not killed it, implying that the danger can revive and harm them.

c. In what way does Macbeth envy Duncan who lies in his grave?

Answer: Macbeth envies Duncan’s peace in death, contrasting it with his own restless and tormented state. He sees Duncan as free from the treacheries and worries of life, peacefully resting, untouchable by any further harm.

d. Why does Macbeth want to be with the dead?

Answer: Macbeth desires to be with the dead because he believes it would bring him peace, a stark contrast to his current state of fear, guilt, and anxiety. He envies the dead for their tranquillity and escape from the troubles of the living.

e. Give the meanings of:

i. malice domestic

Answer: Internal treachery or evil within one’s own household or country.

ii. foreign levy

Answer: An army or force raised in a foreign country, or a tax or levy imposed by a foreign power.

3. Macbeth: Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come …….night,
Scarf up the tender…….. of………Day
And, with thy…..and …hand,
Cancel and tear to pieces, that great bond
Which keeps me ………….!

a. Who is Macbeth addressing as ‘dearest chuck’? How has the relationship of Macbeth changed with his ‘dearest chuck’?

Answer: Macbeth addresses Lady Macbeth as ‘dearest chuck’. The relationship has changed significantly; Macbeth, once open and reliant on Lady Macbeth’s counsel, now keeps her in the dark about his plans, indicating a growing distance in their relationship.

b. What deed of Macbeth will the person spoken to applaud? What does this statement show about the change in Macbeth?

Answer: Macbeth refers to the planned murder of Banquo, expecting Lady Macbeth to applaud it once done. This statement shows Macbeth’s increasing independence in decision-making and his assumption that Lady Macbeth will support his further descent into violence.

c. What does Macbeth invoke the night to do?

Answer: Macbeth invokes the night to conceal the deed he plans to commit, asking it to cover the eye of day and provide a cover of darkness for his murderous act.

d. Fill in the blanks in the extract given above.

Answer: The extract should be filled as follows: “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!”

e. Give the meaning of the following words:

i. seeling

Answer: Blinding or closing (often used in the context of falconry where a hawk’s eyes are sewn shut temporarily).

ii. scarf up

Answer: To envelop or wrap up.

f. What does Macbeth utter after the extract that makes Lady Macbeth wonder as to what he means to say?

Answer: After the extract, Macbeth speaks of a ‘deed of dreadful note’ that is to be done, which puzzles Lady Macbeth as she is unaware of his exact intentions. This statement further signifies the growing secrecy and divergence in their relationship.

Essay type questions

1. What is the significance of the conversation between Macbeth and his wife before the murder of Banquo?

Answer: The conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth reveals how far the two lives are drifting apart. Lady Macbeth discovers the depths of her own soul that her crown is gemmed with bloody drops. She sends for Macbeth, believing his mental agony is akin to hers, and tries to ease his nerves as before. However, Macbeth has started on a new path Lady Macbeth is unaware of. Lady Macbeth now trembles at their past crimes, as criminality is no longer in her nature. She who had called Macbeth “infirm of purpose” now recoils from murder. Macbeth is surprised at the change in Lady Macbeth as much as she is at the change in him. When Macbeth compares himself to her, he finds she appears more like a child who is not to be told of men’s doings. He does not feel the need to consult her anymore, affectionately calling her “dearest chuck,” and does not tell her of his intentions to kill Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have grown so far apart they no longer share their secrets. They have become two separate entities under one roof having little or nothing to do with each other.

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4. How does Lady Macbeth unknowingly give Macbeth the idea that Banquo and Fleance can be killed?

Answer: When Lady Macbeth offhandedly remarks that Banquo and his son Fleance do not have an eternal lease on life, this chance comment planted an insidious idea in Macbeth’s mind. In observing that “nature’s copy” meaning Banquo’s line of succession is not everlasting, Lady Macbeth unwittingly suggests to her husband that his rival and friend need not be a permanent obstacle. Where before Banquo’s existence was an unchangeable fact generating frustration and envy in Macbeth, now he sees a newly opened possibility – the opportunity to forcibly shorten Banquo’s mortal tenure. Lady Macbeth, herself squeamish about further murder, does not realise the implication of what she has said. But to Macbeth, she has unintentionally indicated that Banquo and Fleance can be eliminated, leading him to declare them “assailable.” Her idle musing on natural lifespan thus directly spurs Macbeth to begin planning the assassination of his friend and his friend’s heir. Through this innocuous-seeming comment that Banquo will not live forever, Lady Macbeth inadvertently sets in motion the next stage of her husband’s violent machinations to clear all perceived obstacles to his rule.


1. What is the overall mood of Lady Macbeth in the opening lines of the scene

Answer: Lady Macbeth’s mood in the opening lines is one of despair and disillusionment. She feels that she and Macbeth have “gained nothing” from their crimes and that they now “dwell in doubtful joy.” This reveals that she is beginning to deeply regret their deeds and is unhappy with their situation.

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6. How does Macbeth say the night should act upon the day?

Answer: Macbeth wants the night to “scarf up” and close the eyes of the pitiful daylight, cancelling out its ability to see his evil deeds. He wants darkness to blind the light so his crimes go unseen.

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