In Act 3 of Macbeth, what is revealed about conditions in Scotland?
In Act III of Macbeth, a number of things are revealed about conditions in Scotland, and how the conditions came to be. Banquo's words from Act III, Scene I set the the mood from the very start. He enters by himself, and begins to speak,
Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised, and I fear
Thou played’st most foully for ’t. (1-3)
In Act III, Scene II Macbeth reflects upon the terrible acts he has already committed and shows that he remains paranoid,
We have scorched the snake, not killed it.
She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, (15-23)
Here Lennox speculates that they "may say" that Fleance killed his father, showing that he doesn't believe that is what happened. Neither does he believe that Malcolm and Donalbain killed their father. He facetiously cites Macbeth's "grief" which led to Macbeth killing the guards out of "pious rage." Again, Lennox no longer believes this is what actually happened. Nor does he believe that any of Macbeth's actions, since the quelling of the rebellion, were done nobly.And the right-valiant Banquo walked too late,
Whom, you may say, if ’t please you, Fleance killed,
For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.
Who cannot want the thought how monstrous
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
To kill their gracious father? Damnèd fact!
How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight
In pious rage the two delinquents tear
That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too,
For ’twould have angered any heart alive
To hear the men deny ’t.
The Lord then clarifies both the forces that are mustering against Macbeth as well as the reason why the opposition is growing:
Is gone to pray the holy king upon his aid
To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward,
That by the help of these—with Him above
To ratify the work—we may again
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives, (29-35)
In Act III, Scene VI, a discussion takes place between Lennox and another Lord. They are discussing the fact that Scotland, under Macbeth's rule is suffering. The country is ruled by a tyrant, and Lennox is hopeful, as he says in this passage, that Malcolm, with the help of the English King, can take the throne away from Macbeth reclaiming it for the rightful heir, Malcolm.
Lennox: ...that well might
Advise him to a caution to hold what distance
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel
Fly to the court of England and unfold
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
May soon return to this our suffering country
Under a hand accurs'd!(Act III.VI)