Macbeth Act 4 Scene 3: ISC Class 12 workbook answers

Macbeth Act 4 Scene 3
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Get notes, workbook solutions, summary, questions and answers, and pdf of the drama/play Macbeth (Act 4 Scene 3) by William Shakespeare, which is part of ISC Class 12 English. However, the notes should only be treated as references, and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.


In this scene, Macduff meets Malcolm in England and tries to persuade him to return to Scotland and overthrow Macbeth. Malcolm is initially suspicious of Macduff, thinking he may be an agent sent by Macbeth to lure him into a trap. To test Macduff’s loyalty, Malcolm pretends to be a worse tyrant than Macbeth, claiming he would be full of lust, greed, and other vices if he became king.

Macduff is shocked but still urges Malcolm to return, saying Scotland has enough wealth to satisfy his desires. He argues that Malcolm’s goodness will outweigh any faults. However, Malcolm continues to exaggerate his wickedness, saying he lacks all the kingly virtues and would destroy peace and goodness if he ruled.

Macduff finally despairs for Scotland, lamenting that the rightful heir to the throne is cursed by his own admission of evil. He prepares to leave, his hopes shattered. At this point, Malcolm drops the pretense and reveals he was just testing Macduff. He says Macduff’s integrity has removed all his doubts. Malcolm then shares that the English king has already provided thousands of troops led by Siward to help him reclaim the Scottish throne.

As they talk, a doctor appears and describes how the English king miraculously cures sick people with his touch. Malcolm confirms he has witnessed this himself and adds that the king also has the gift of prophecy.

Just then, Ross arrives from Scotland with news of the terrible suffering under Macbeth’s rule. Macduff asks about his own family and grows uneasy at Ross’s hesitant replies. When Ross finally reveals that Macbeth has had Macduff’s wife and children brutally murdered, Macduff is consumed by grief and guilt for leaving them unprotected.

Malcolm urges Macduff to turn his sorrow to anger and seek revenge against Macbeth. Macduff resolves to confront the tyrant in person, even if it costs him his own life. Malcolm says this is a manly response and declares that Macbeth is ripe for defeat. He invites Macduff to join him in returning to Scotland with their English allies to liberate their suffering homeland from the evil king’s reign.

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Workbook answers

Multiple Choice Questions/Fill in the blanks

1. At the first instance, Malcolm considers Macduff to be

a. a traitor b. a flatterer c. a time-server d. a well-wisher

Answer: a. a traitor

2. Fill in the blanks in the extract:

Angels are bright still, though the…………….. fell.
Though all things……would wear the ..… Yet………must still look so.

Answer: Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell. Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, Yet grace must still look so.

3. Malcolm feels that Scotland suffers under the burden of tyranny because……..

Answer: of Macbeth’s rule.

4. Malcolm confesses that if he were to be King, he would cut off the nobles for their……and this other’s house.

Answer: lands, desire his jewels

Context questions

1. Macduff: Let us rather
Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
Bestride our downfall birthdom. Each new morn,
New idols howl, new orphans cry; new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yell’d out
Like syllable of dolour.

a. Who is the speaker? Who is he speaking to?

Answer: The speaker is Macduff. He is speaking to Malcolm.

b. What is the speaker’s main concern?

Answer: The speaker’s main concern is the suffering of the people in Scotland under Macbeth’s tyrannical rule.

c. What is the person’s attitude who is spoken to? Why has the person adopted such an attitude?

Answer: Malcolm is initially suspicious of Macduff, thinking he may be Macbeth’s agent sent to lure him to his destruction. Malcolm adopts this attitude to test Macduff’s sincerity.

d. What does the person accuse the speaker of? How does he justify the reason for doing so?

Answer: Malcolm accuses Macduff of possibly being treacherous like Macbeth. He justifies this by saying that a good person may falter when given power and responsibility.

e. Explain the lines: Each new morn….. syllable of dolour.

Answer: Each new morning brings fresh cries of grief from new widows and orphans. The cries of sorrow strike the heavens until it resounds as if the heavens themselves felt Scotland’s pain and yelled out with the same anguished tone.

2. Malcolm: But Macbeth is,
A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose;
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.

a.What are Malcolm’s apprehensions regarding the credibility of Macduff?

Answer: Malcolm is apprehensive that Macduff may be working for Macbeth to lure Malcolm into a trap.

b. What does Malcolm say about virtue? Which example from the Bible does he give?

Answer: Malcolm says that even a virtuous person may falter when given imperial power. He gives the example of Lucifer, the brightest angel, who fell from grace.

c. What pertinent question does Malcolm ask Macduff regarding the latter deserting his family?

Answer: Malcolm asks Macduff why he left his wife and children unprotected in Scotland when he came to England.

d. How does Macduff react to Malcolm’s question?

Answer: Macduff is taken aback by Malcolm’s question and begins to lose hope that Malcolm will help save Scotland.

e. Why does he bid farewell to Malcolm?

Answer: Macduff bids farewell to Malcolm out of despair and a sense of betrayal. After Malcolm portrays himself as being full of vices and unfit to rule Scotland—claiming to be more harmful than Macbeth—Macduff is disheartened.

3. Malcolm: With this, there grows
In my most ill- composed affection such
A staunchless avarice, that, were I King,
I should cut off the nobles for their lands;
Desire his jewels, and this other’s house
And my more- having would be as a sauce
To make me hungry more; that I should forge
Quarrrels unjust against the good and loyal,
Destroying them for wealth.

a. What personal drawbacks of himself does Malcolm apprise Macduff of?

Answer: Malcolm reveals his excessive greed and insatiable desire for more, admitting that if he were king, he would unjustly take the lands of nobles, covet their wealth, and engage in further greed-driven actions that would harm the good and loyal for personal gain.

b. Why is Malcolm degrading himself in front of Macduff?

Answer: Malcolm degrades himself in front of Macduff to test Macduff’s loyalty and intentions. By presenting himself as worse than Macbeth, he aims to discern whether Macduff is genuinely opposed to tyranny or if he seeks to use Malcolm for his own ends.

c. How does Macduff’ show his desperation towards Malcolm? What does he say to Malcolm regarding the satisfaction of the latter’s greed?

Answer: Macduff shows his desperation by challenging Malcolm’s self-degradation, arguing that Scotland can offer enough to satisfy Malcolm’s stated greed without harming the good and loyal, thereby attempting to mitigate Malcolm’s concerns about his own suitability as king.

d. How does Malcolm go on to further degrade himself?

Answer: Malcolm further degrades himself by claiming he lacks the king-becoming graces such as justice, verity, temp’rance, and others. He admits to an abundance in the division of each several crime, suggesting he would bring greater harm to Scotland than Macbeth.

e. How does Macduff show his frustration towards Malcolm in the succeeding lines of the extract?

Answer: Macduff expresses his frustration and despair for Scotland’s future under Malcolm’s described leadership by questioning Malcolm’s fitness to govern and lamenting the state of a nation that might be led by someone who perceives himself as so deeply flawed and tyrannical.

4. Malcolm: Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip’ d the black scruples reconcil’d my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devillish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over credulous haste: but God above
Deal between thee and me!

a. What aroused the ‘black scruples’ in Malcolm’s mind against Macduff?

Answer: Malcolm’s ‘black scruples’ or doubts about Macduff were aroused by his suspicion of Macduff’s intentions, fearing that Macduff, who once supported Macbeth, might be a spy or traitor sent by Macbeth to lure Malcolm into a trap.

b. What made Malcolm remove the ‘black scruples’ regarding Macduff?

Answer: Malcolm’s doubts were removed by Macduff’s display of genuine passion and integrity, particularly Macduff’s reaction to the prospect of Malcolm being a worse ruler than Macbeth.

c. What does Malcolm tell Macduff in the succeeding lines of the extract about himself? How does he justify his credibility?

Answer: Malcolm reveals that his previous claims of vice and unworthiness were a test of Macduff’s loyalty, not true reflections of his character. He assures Macduff of his virtue, stating he has not been involved in the vices he claimed, thus restoring his credibility.

d. What good news does Malcolm give to Macduff? What does Macduff tell Malcolm that shows that he is wary of Malcolm now?

Answer: Malcolm shares that the English king has already dispatched an army of ten thousand soldiers led by Siward to invade Scotland. Macduff is wary, saying it’s hard to reconcile such welcome and unwelcome news at once.

e. Who enters the scene? What light does the person throw about the King of England?

Answer: A doctor enters the scene. He highlights King Edward’s miraculous healing abilities, describing how the King cures the “evil,” a disease thought incurable, through his divine gift.

5. Macduff: See, who comes here.
Malcolm: My countrymen; but yet I know him not.

a. Who comes here’? What news has the person brought about the terrible condition prevailing in Scotland at that time?

Answer: Ross enters, bringing news of the terrible conditions in Scotland under Macbeth’s rule. He says Scotland is like a grave where people are dying before their time.

b. What does Macduff ask the person that makes the person answer with a note of hesitation?

Answer: Macduff asks how his wife and children are doing.

c. What does the person tell Macduff which arouses the latter’s fears?

Answer: He, without providing a definite answer to Macduff’s queries, said that his wife and son were well at peace when he had left them, which aroused Macduff’s fears.

d. How does Macduff react to the sad news?

Answer: When Ross reveals that Macduff’s entire family has been brutally murdered, Macduff is overwhelmed with grief and anguish. He blames himself for leaving them unprotected.

e. How does Malcolm stir in Macduff the determination to take revenge on Macbeth?

Answer: Malcolm urges Macduff to turn his grief to anger and seek revenge on Macbeth. He says this is the only medicine to cure Macduff’s pain. Macduff resolves to confront the “fiend of Scotland” directly and kill Macbeth or die trying.

Extra/additional MCQs

1. Where does Macduff find Malcolm to urge him to attack Macbeth?

A. In Scotland B. At the English court C. In France D. At Macbeth’s castle

Answer: B. At the English court

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18. What emotional response does Macduff have to the murder of his family?

A. Resignation B. Relief C. Fury and sorrow D. Indifference

Answer: C. Fury and sorrow

Extra/additional questions and answers

1. Why does Macduff flee Scotland to seek Malcolm at the English court?

Answer: Macduff flees from Scotland partly from fear of the tyranny of Macbeth and partly to expedite reactionary forces against him.

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18. What is Malcolm’s reaction upon hearing about the fate of Macduff’s family, and how does he counsel Macduff?

Answer: Upon hearing the news of Macduff’s family being murdered, Malcolm is merciful and counsels Macduff – “Be comforted. Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge to cure this deadly grief.” He advises Macduff to convert his grief into a desire for vengeance against Macbeth.

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