Macbeth Reading Notes ACT III

(Not a summary but an analysis of a few things I felt were important for the ACT and the movement of the play in general.)

Banquo’s Monologue:

BANQUO Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
  As the weird women promised, and, I fear,
  Thou play’dst most foully for’t: yet it was said
  It should not stand in thy posterity,
  But that myself should be the root and father 5
  Of many kings. If there come truth from them–
  As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine–
  Why, by the verities on thee made good,
  May they not be my oracles as well,
  And set me up in hope? But hush! no more. 10

Right here is what I consider the crowning moment of Banquo, when he finally realizes the power he can have over Macbeth. And what I think Shakespeare is doing here is setting up an interesting dynamic. On one hand we have Macbeth who literally killed a man (definitely under the influence of his wife) that at the time would have been considered the King of Scotland because of Divine Right while in the other we have Banquo who is ambitious and wanting for power but almost doesn’t seem to want to go such extreme lengths as Macbeth did (although he doesn’t know about that, but see line 3 because I think he suspects Macbeth may have been behind it), because at the forefront he knows he won’t become a king, but his offspring will. So it sets off what could have been an interesting power struggle or even power vacuum but Banquo’s untimely death ends that relatively quickly but the threat of his son Fleance and his potential claim to the throne.

Scene 1 Soliloquy:

If you haven’t clicked it yet, the link for Macbeth’s soliloquy in scene one is posted above in turquoise!

Macbeth’s soliloquy in scene 1 is truly an important glimpse into Macbeth’s state of mind as well as interesting development within the play. And this is where we as the audience can say and began to back up that Macbeth is getting paranoid as his mental wheels start turning. It is almost as if he realizes that to become King, he killed a King, and now if Banquo were to act on the Witches prophecy Banquo’s offspring would become King. Interestingly enough, this is one of the first times Macbeth seems to put stock into the Witches Prophecy, because up to this point he seemed a bit skeptical.

We also get a clever allusion to one of Shakespeare’s “earlier” plays, and by earlier I mean written a few years before not an early attempt at playwriting, Julius Caesar. In it he mentions, “as Mark Antony’s was by Ceasar“.


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