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Act 3 Scene 4 – Key Scene
In this scene, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth host a banquet for the Scottish thanes. A murderer tells Macbeth that he has been successful in killing Banquo, but that Fleance escaped. During the banquet, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo sitting at his place at the table. He is horrified. Lady Macbeth reassures the guests that it is a momentary fit and tells Macbeth to stop. The ghost disappears and Macbeth is calm. However, moments later, the ghost appears again. Macbeth is so distressed that Lady Macbeth tells the thanes to leave. Macbeth decides to visit the witches the next day.
You can take a look at the scene here. Using the following steps, remember to look at it line by line and if you’re looking at the scene for the first time, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything at once.
Take a look at the scene. What stage directions are there in the text? Who speaks the most? Actors at the RSC often put the language into their own words to help them understand what they are saying. We’ve added some definitions (in black), questions (in red) and paraphrased some sections (in green) to help with this. You can click on the text that is highlighted for extra guidance.
You, Banquo’s ghost, cannot accuse me of killing you.
What do you think Ross and the thanes think about Macbeth’s unexpected behaviour?
If you make a fuss of him, you will make things worse.
This question is directed at Macbeth. How public do you think this question is? How could you stage this question and the conversation that comes afterwards, without the thanes overhearing?
Ridiculous! This is all imaginary. This is exactly like when you had a vision of a dagger before you killed Duncan.
This feeling is completely unreal in comparison to real fears.
A fairy tale.
Macbeth is responding to the ghost’s movements. What do you think the ghost is doing? Can the audience see the ghost or is it all in his imagination?
If buried bodies rise, there will be no bones left in the graves - like in the stomach of a bird of prey.
Have you completely lost sense of who you are as a man, with your silliness?
- Listen Read the scene aloud. Are there any words or lines that really stand out? What do you think are the key moments in this scene? What does it reveal about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as characters?
Play scene in performance
Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost in the 1952 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost in the 1946 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost in the 1955 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost in the 1938 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost in the 1996 production of Macbeth.
Greg Hicks as Macbeth and Louis Hilyer as Banquo's ghost in the 2004 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth and Banquo's ghost in the 2007 production of Macbeth.
Christopher Eccleston as Macbeth and Raphael Sowole as Banquo's ghost in the 2018 production of Macbeth.
Macbeth and Banquo's ghost in the 2011 production of Macbeth.
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Macbeth - Act 3, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Act 3, scene 4.
As Macbeth’s banquet begins, one of Banquo’s murderers appears at the door to tell Macbeth of Banquo’s death and Fleance’s escape. Returning to the table, Macbeth is confronted by Banquo’s ghost, invisible to all but Macbeth. While Lady Macbeth is able to dismiss as a momentary fit Macbeth’s expressions of horror at the ghost’s first appearance, the reappearance of the ghost and Macbeth’s outcries in response to it force Lady Macbeth to send all the guests away. Alone with Lady Macbeth, Macbeth resolves to meet the witches again. He foresees a future marked by further violence.
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Hallucination 2: Banquos ghost
When Macbeth arrives to dinner he finds out that all of the seats are full, and one person points out a seat which is empty, this seat was Banquo’s. At this same time Macbeth is notified that Banquo has just died . Prithee see there! ehold! look! lo! How say you? “Why, what care i? If thou canst nod, speak too. If charnel houses and our graves must send Those that we bury back, our monuments Shall be the maws of kites. “ This quote is reminding Macbeth that he has killed a former friend. The apparition of Banquos ghost clearly exemplifies that Macbeth is reaching insanity. It exemplifies it because Macbeth is unable to control himself from the apparition when he is at the middle of dinner. Macbeth even says to the ghost to fight against him. When Banquo’s ghost appears Macbeth says to him “ Thou canst say I did it. Never shake/Thy gory locks at me”. In this quote Macbeth is saying to Banquo that he didn’t had participation in his death besides knowing that he was the one who gave the order When all of this happends Lady Macbeth dismisses all of the persons who are at dinner. The hallucination also reminds Macbeth that he has murdered a good friend of his, but besides that it reminds him of guilt. Macbeth is now able to kill anyone that comes through his path.
One thought on “ hallucination 2: banquos ghost ”.
Mr Magana great job with post 2 because it has the perfect combination between the communication and interpretation of the information. Evidently, for Macbeth, Banquo’s death was notable event in his life because of the friendship they had. Also, I enjoyed your analysis about how this hallucination shows Macbeth’s insanity. Obviously, the hallucinations in Macbeth had a crucial role in the development of the story and without this blog I am sure I would had never noticed their importance
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