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Who is the third assassin at Banquo's murder in "Macbeth"? Macbeth, act 3

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mano789 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 17, 2008 at 8:09 AM via web

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Who is the third assassin at Banquo's murder in "Macbeth"?

Macbeth, act 3

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suman1983 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 20, 2008 at 2:16 AM (Answer #2)

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The above commentator rightly argues that the third assassin knows Banquo well, but there is no suggestion provided by Shakespeare to deduce that he may be Macbeth’s servant. Macbeth sends him entirely to help the other two murderers and he appears just before the murder is committed. Without him it would have been difficult for them to identify Banquo and understand Banquo’s general activities. It should be noted in this regard that it is the third murderer who first identifies Banquo: [“Hark! I hear horses” (line: 9) and “’Tis he” (line: 14)]

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 17, 2008 at 1:44 PM (Answer #1)

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The identity of the Third Murderer is debatable.  However, the text suggests that he is familiar with Banquo and his habits and has been sent to make sure that the two hired killers complete their assigned task. The Third Murderer could be Macbeth's servant, who has joined the other two at his request, as the dialogue suggests.

First Murderer "But who did bid thee join with us? 

Third Murderer Macbeth. 

Second Murderer He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers  Our offices and what we have to do  To the direction just. 

First Murderer Then stand with us.  The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:  Now spurs the lated traveller apace  To gain the timely inn; and near approaches  The subject of our watch. 

Third Murderer Hark! I hear horses. BANQUO Within 

Second Murderer Then 'tis he: the rest  That are within the note of expectation  Already are i' the court. 

First Murderer His horses go about. 

Third Murderer Almost a mile: but he does usually,  So all men do, from hence to the palace gate  Make it their walk".

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