Homework Help

What does Act 3, Scene 2 reveal about Macbeth as a person and ruler in Macbeth?

user profile pic

lukeshelton | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM via iOS

dislike 1 like

What does Act 3, Scene 2 reveal about Macbeth as a person and ruler in Macbeth?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:05 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Act 3, Scene 2 demonstrates that Macbeth is selfish as both a ruler and a person.

Once Macbeth has the throne, he is focused only on losing it.  He has killed Duncan and been crowned king, but instead of trying to be a king and helping his people, he is paranoid about losing the crown.

We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it.(15)

She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice

Remains in danger of her former tooth. (p. 45)

He assumes that there is a threat facing him.  Worried about maintaining the throne, he makes plans to kill Banquo and spy on his other nobles.  Anyone who might be able to stand in the way of his continued kingship is suspect.  Macbeth has commented that he fears Banquo because he has heard the prophecies and because his sons seem to be next in line to be king.

Macbeth’s focus on himself, to the detriment of the kingdom, demonstrates that he wanted to be king not because he thought he would be a successful ruler, but because he wanted power.  Once he has that power, all he can think about is losing it.  At no point in the play does he ever express an interest in the county or its people.





Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes