Get summary, workbook solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the drama/play “Macbeth” Act 3 Scene 4 by William Shakespeare which is a part of Class 12 English syllabus for students studying under ISC.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are hosting a royal banquet at their castle to celebrate Macbeth’s coronation as the new King of Scotland. All the important thanes and noblemen are in attendance.
As gracious hosts, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth welcome their guests warmly and have them seated according to rank. Lady Macbeth commands the room with dignity as she sits on her throne. Macbeth plays the charming host as he mingles with the guests.
Meanwhile, Macbeth is constantly on the lookout for the two murderers he had hired to kill his friend Banquo, who he saw as a threat. Soon Macbeth notices the murderers waiting discretely at the door to speak to him. Macbeth anxiously pulls them aside to inquire in hushed tones whether they succeeded in murdering Banquo and his son Fleance.
The first murderer proudly assures Macbeth that they have killed Banquo brutally, recounting how they inflicted multiple deadly wounds on his head. However, he delivers the disappointing news that Banquo’s son Fleance managed to escape in the darkness. This news greatly disturbs Macbeth as Fleance’s survival means the witches’ prophecy of Banquo’s sons gaining the throne may still come true.
After dismissing the murderers, Macbeth composes himself and returns to play the perfect host, proposing a toast to the health of all those present. As he goes to take his seat, Macbeth is frozen in horror to see the ghost of the brutally slain Banquo occupying his chair. Though no one else can see it, a guilt-ridden Macbeth visualizes the bloody ghost glaring menacingly at him.
Macbeth loses his mind and starts shouting hysterically at the ghost to go away, betraying his deep guilt. The guests are shocked at this peculiar behaviour. Lady Macbeth immediately tries to handle the situation by claiming her husband is afflicted by a harmless fit of fear he has had since childhood. She advises the guests to discreetly ignore his ravings.
Just as Macbeth appears to regain sanity, the ghost reappears. This drives Macbeth into an even greater frenzy, and he yells at the ghost. Fearing Macbeth’s erratic actions will reveal their dark secrets, Lady Macbeth abruptly ends the banquet and sends the bewildered guests away.
Alone with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth reprimands him for nearly exposing them, but Macbeth is consumed by paranoia, vowing to visit the witches again to eliminate threats against his crown. The scene vividly depicts Macbeth’s unravelling psyche as his guilt, fear, and paranoia override his reason for coveting the crown through murder. Lady Macbeth is seen desperately trying to keep up appearances, though they head towards doom.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. The Banquet is thrown by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
A. to celebrate the victory over the Norwegians B. in honour of Macbeth’s coronation as King C. to mourn the death of Duncan D. to plot against Banquo
Answer: B. in honour of Macbeth’s coronation as King
2. Macbeth sees during the Banquet
A. Lady Macbeth’s true nature B. the ghost of Banquo C. a vision of his future D. the witches
Answer: B. the ghost of Banquo
3. The ghost as it looks at Macbeth
A. smiles menacingly B. shakes its gory locks C. points a finger at him D. disappears
Answer: B. shakes its gory locks
4. Macbeth is disturbed about
A. the prophecy of the witches B. Macduff not attending C. Banquo’s ghost D. his guilt
Answer: B. Macduff not attending
5. Macbeth decides to go and
A. confront Lady Macbeth B. visit the witches C. leave Scotland D. seek forgiveness
Answer: B. visit the witches
1. Macbeth: See, they encounter thee with their hearts thanks.
Both sides are even: here I’ll sit i’th’ midst.
Be large in mirth, anon, we’ll drink a measure
The table round.
a. What is the occasion? How have the guests been welcomed?
Answer: The occasion is a banquet thrown by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to honor Macbeth’s coronation as King. The guests, who are nobles of the realm, have been welcomed warmly and are seated according to their ranks. Macbeth, as the host, is seated among the guests, indicating a hospitable and inclusive atmosphere.
b. Who does Macbeth see at the door after the extract?
Answer: After the extract, Macbeth sees one of the murderers at the door.
c. Why has the person come to meet Macbeth? What does Macbeth whisper to the person?
Answer: The murderer has come to inform Macbeth about the assassination of Banquo. Macbeth whispers inquiries about the murder, ensuring that Banquo is dead.
d. What does the person assure Macbeth of what he has just done?
Answer: The murderer assures Macbeth that Banquo is dead, lying in a ditch with twenty wounds on his head.
e. What disturbing news does the person give to Macbeth?
Answer: The disturbing news given to Macbeth is that Fleance, Banquo’s son, has escaped.
2. Macbeth Thanks for that – There the grown serpent lies;
the worm, that’s fled, hath nature that in time will venom breed,
No teeth for th’ present.
a. Why does Macbeth thank the person?
Answer: Macbeth thanks the murderer for confirming Banquo’s death, relieved that his immediate threat is eliminated.
b. What assurance has Macbeth got from the person?
Answer: Macbeth has been assured that Banquo is dead but learns that Fleance, Banquo’s son, has escaped.
c. Who are the ‘serpent’ and the ‘worm’?
Answer: In this context, the ‘serpent’ refers to Banquo, and the ‘worm’ refers to his son, Fleance.
d. Why is Macbeth not worried about the serpent? Why is the ‘worm’ a great source of worry for Macbeth?
Answer: Macbeth is not worried about the ‘serpent’ (Banquo) as he is already dead. However, the ‘worm’ (Fleance) is a great source of worry because he has the potential to threaten Macbeth’s power in the future.
e. After the extract what duties does Lady Macbeth remind her husband of?
Answer: After the extract, Lady Macbeth reminds Macbeth of his duties as a host and the need to be attentive and cheerful to their guests at the banquet.
f. What shock does Macbeth encounter just when he is about to sit at the table?
Answer: Just as Macbeth is about to sit at the table, he encounters the ghost of Banquo sitting in his place, which shocks and disturbs him greatly.
3. Ross: Gentlemen, rise; His Highness is not well.
Lady Macbeth: Sit, worthy friends. My Lord is often thus,
And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat;
the —–is momentary; upon a thought he will be well again.
a. What strange behaviour of Macbeth causes Ross to remark that ‘His Highness is not well’?
Answer: Ross comments that ‘His Highness is not well’ due to Macbeth’s alarming reaction and apparent conversation with the invisible ghost of Banquo at the banquet. Macbeth’s behavior is erratic and disturbed, causing concern among the guests.
b. What word is to be filled in the blank of the extract by which Lady Macbeth justifies her husband’s strange behaviour? Explain.
Answer: The word to be filled in the blank is “fit,” by which Lady Macbeth refers to Macbeth’s strange behaviour as a temporary ailment or a sudden fit that he has experienced since his youth.
c. What has Macbeth seen for him to behave in such a strange manner?
Answer: Macbeth behaves strangely because he sees the ghost of Banquo sitting in his place at the banquet table. This apparition is invisible to others, making his reaction seem irrational and alarming to the guests.
d. What advice does Lady Macbeth give to the Lords on how to react towards Macbeth?
Answer: Lady Macbeth advises the Lords to ignore Macbeth’s strange behavior, suggesting that drawing attention to it might worsen his condition. She implies that his fit will pass quickly if they simply continue with the banquet as if nothing unusual is happening.
e. How does Lady Macbeth chide her husband’? What answer does he give to her?
Answer: Lady Macbeth chides her husband by questioning his manhood and suggesting that his visions are mere hallucinations, akin to a woman’s story at a winter fire, authorized by her grandmother. She implies that his fear is irrational and unbecoming of a king. In response, Macbeth acknowledges the strangeness of his behavior and asserts that the vision, although it cannot be real, is indeed terrifying. He wishes that the bloodshed required for his ascent to power had ended with Duncan’s death, reflecting on the continuous nature of his violent deeds.
4. Macbeth: Avant! And quit my sight!
Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou has no speculation in those eyes, which thou dost glare with.
a. Who is Macbeth talking to? Why is he so shocked?
Answer: Macbeth is talking to the ghost of Banquo. He is shocked because he sees the ghost of his murdered friend, which no one else at the banquet can see. This ghost is a manifestation of his guilt and fear.
b. How does Lady Macbeth justify Macbeth’s distressed condition?
Answer: Lady Macbeth justifies Macbeth’s distressed condition by telling the guests that he often has such fits, which are merely momentary. She implies that they are nothing to worry about, as he has had them since his youth.
c. How does Lady Macbeth try to calm Macbeth down?
Answer: Lady Macbeth tries to calm Macbeth down by dismissing the vision as a mere hallucination, questioning his manhood, and urging him to compose himself and pay attention to his guests.
d. In which context does Macbeth refer to the rugged Russian bear, the arm’d rhinoceros, and the Hyrcan tiger?
Answer: Macbeth refers to the rugged Russian bear, the arm’d rhinoceros, and the Hyrcan tiger in the context of asserting his bravery. He claims he would prefer to face these formidable creatures rather than the ghost of Banquo.
e. What is the relevance of this scene in the play? How does Macbeth betray his thoughts?
Answer: This scene is relevant as it dramatically illustrates Macbeth’s descent into madness and guilt. Macbeth betrays his thoughts by reacting visibly to the ghost of Banquo, revealing his inner turmoil and guilt over the murders he has committed. His behaviour is a stark contrast to his earlier bravado, exposing the psychological impact of his actions.
5. (And bedtimes, I will) to the Weird Sisters: More shall they speak; for now
I am bent to know, by the worst means, the worst;
for mine own good, All causes shall give way;
I am in blood stepp’d so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er:
Strange things have I in head, that will to hand,
Which must be acted ere they may be scann’d.
a. State two reasons why Macbeth wants to know the worst. What are the ‘worst means’ he talks about?
Answer: Macbeth wants to know the worst to prepare for and confront any forthcoming dangers and to secure his position as king. The ‘worst means’ he refers to are likely his willingness to continue using violence and other immoral methods to maintain his power and learn about his fate.
b. What is Lady Macbeth’s response to the above lines?
Answer: Lady Macbeth does not respond directly in this particular part of the scene. Her reactions to Macbeth’s increasing ruthlessness and paranoia are generally of concern and an attempt to calm him.
c. Explain the following lines in their context: “for mine own good, all causes shall give way”, “tedious”, and “scann’d”.
Answer: In “for mine own good, all causes shall give way”, Macbeth implies that he will let nothing stand in the way of his self-interest and security. “Tedious” refers to the idea that going back from his bloody path is as difficult as continuing with it. “Scann’d” means that actions must be carried out before being thoroughly considered or understood.
d. What strange things does Macbeth have in his head which the hand will perform?
Answer: The ‘strange things’ in Macbeth’s head likely refer to further acts of violence or treachery he is planning to secure his position, possibly including more murders or manipulations.
e. Show how Macbeth, though being a “secret man of blood”, gives himself away repeatedly in this scene?
Answer: Despite his attempts to be a “secret man of blood”, Macbeth inadvertently reveals his guilt and turmoil through his erratic behavior, hallucinations, and his dialogue, which often hints at his dark deeds and intentions. His inability to hide his inner conflict becomes increasingly evident.
Essay type questions
1. Describe the key events and characters in the Banquet scene.
Answer: The Banquet scene depicts a feast held to celebrate Macbeth’s coronation as king. The nobles of Scotland are in attendance, seated according to rank. Lady Macbeth appears as queen for the first time. During the feast, Macbeth is informed by the murderers he had sent that they killed Banquo but his son Fleance escaped. Upon returning to the feast, Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost in his seat, causing Macbeth to speak and act erratically. Lady Macbeth tries to dismiss his behavior to the guests, especially Ross who grows suspicious. She ends the Banquet quickly before Macbeth reveals anything incriminating about their crimes. The key characters are Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, the murderers, Banquo’s ghost, and the Scottish nobles like Ross. The scene shows Macbeth’s unraveling conscience and guilt for his misdeeds.
1. Who appears at the door during the banquet?
A. Duncan’s ghost B. One of the murderers C. Macduff D. Ross
Answer: B. One of the murderers
16. Why does Macbeth say “But now they rise again”?
A. The guests are leaving B. He keeps seeing Banquo’s ghost C. The dead are coming back to life D. His victims haunt him
Answer: D. His victims haunt him
Extra Questions and Answers
1. What is the reaction of the guests when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost?
Answer: The guests are initially confused and concerned about Macbeth’s behavior. They observe him speaking and acting erratically, not realizing he is seeing Banquo’s ghost, which leads them to question his mental state.
12. What is the significance of the motif of blood in “Macbeth”?
Answer: The motif of blood in “Macbeth” is significant in symbolising guilt, violence, and the consequences of the characters’ actions. Blood is repeatedly associated with the acts of murder and betrayal, serving as a visual reminder of the characters’ culpability. For Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, blood becomes a symbol of their inescapable guilt, haunting them with reminders of their deeds. This motif underlines the play’s exploration of the moral implications of violent ambition and the inability to escape the repercussions of one’s actions.
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