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Literature Study GuidesMacbethAct 3 Scene 3 Summary

Macbeth | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Macbeth Study Guide." August 10, 2016. Accessed May 27, 2023.


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Act 3, Scene 3

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Act 3, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth.

Macbeth | Act 3, Scene 3 | Summary



Macbeth's hired murderers prepare to ambush Banquo and Fleance along a darkened road. They attack and kill Banquo when the two arrive, but Fleance escapes. The murderers set off to inform Macbeth.


Even though Macbeth has initiated forceful action to try to stop Banquo's offspring from taking the throne, Fleance's escape allows the witches' prophecy to remain possible. The outcome of Macbeth's attempt illustrates that he cannot "trammel up the consequences," as he had longed to in Act I; that is, he cannot control all that happens as a result of his fateful act of regicide. Fleance's escape also suggests that perhaps the witches' prophecies originate from a supernatural force that Macbeth cannot control.

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