William Shakespeare’s Macbeth- Act 3, Scene 4.

Characters in order of appearance:

Macbeth
Lords
Lady Macbeth
First Murderer
Lennox
Ross

Time: Night

Summary:
At the dinner party, the couple welcomes their guests. When the first murderer enters as everyone is being seated, Macbeth quickly goes to see him, and the murderer says he has killed Banquo but Fleance has escaped. Macbeth re-enters the room, then, Banquo’s ghost shows up but because the ghost is silent, he gets to creep around before anyone notices. While the guests are busy having a good time, Macbeth raises a toast and calls special attention to Banquo’s absence. He hopes Banquo is just running late or being rude and that nothing bad has happened to him, this is quite ironic as Banquo’s ghost is in the room. Again Macbeth is invited to sit on the spot where Banquo’s ghost is sitting. Macbeth goes into a hysterical fit, and the lords all take notice. Lady Macbeth excuses her husband for these “momentary” fits he has had since childhood. She urges them to keep eating, and then corners Macbeth, who is still hysterical. Lady Macbeth asks if Macbeth is a man because he’s not acting like one so much as he is acting like a sissy. She tells him to get it together—there’s nothing but a stool in front of him. This “ghost” business is all in his head. Meanwhile, Macbeth is discoursing with the ghost that only he sees, and then it disappears. He swears to Lady Macbeth that the ghost was there, and then laments that it used to be that when you dashed a man’s brains out he would die. Everything is just getting back to normal when the ghost reappears. Again Macbeth calls out a toast to the missing Banquo (he’s just asking for it now). When he sees that the ghost has returned, Macbeth screams at him for being so spooky. He says if Banquo were to appear in any physical form—even a Russian bear—Macbeth would take him on, no problem. The ghost leaves again and Macbeth tells everyone to stay put.  Lady Macbeth lets him know that he’s killed the mood. It’s pretty clear the party’s over.  Macbeth tries to recover, and he even questions everyone else asking how they can be so calm in the face of such horrible sights. Um…what sights? they want to know. Lady Macbeth tells the concerned lords to leave immediately. Pronto. NOW. After they exit, Macbeth philosophizes that blood will have blood. In other words, this ain’t over yet. Morning is now approaching, and Macbeth points out that Macduff never showed at the party. He lets out that he has had a spy in Macduff’s house. He promises to go to the witches the next day and says that he’s so far into this bloody business that there’s no turning back now. Lady Macbeth suggests that maybe he just needs a good night’s sleep, and so they go off to bed.

 

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