In Act III scene 6 of Macbeth, what is Lennox saying in this speech and what does he actually mean?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well done for spotting the gap between appearance and reality in this speech, and the sarcasm of Lennox as he comments upon recent occurrences in the kingdom of Scotland! As Lennox is seen talking to a Lord, he discusses his suspicions of what has happened and the true nature of events. However, although he reports the known facts, if we look carefully and what he says and how he says it, we can see that he is being incredibly ironic, and he does not actually mean what he says at all. Note his comment on Macbeth and his actions in killing Duncan's two henchmen:

So that, I say,

He has borne all things well, and I do think,

that, had he Duncan's sons under his key

(As, and't please Heaven, he shall not), they should find

What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.

Clearly, Lennox does not believe Macbeth has done "all things well," as he believes that if Macbeth had access to Duncan's sons and to Fleance that they would soon meet the fate of others that Macbeth has had close contact with. Throughout this entire speech, Lennox is discussing his suspcions of Macbeth, ironically underlining the difference between Macbeth's actions and his real motives.

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