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The banquet scene shows just how tormented Macbeth is with guilt, for during the scene Banquo's ghost manifests itself and beguiles Macbeth in front of everyone, and everyone does notice his actions and what he says, but it must be noted that at this time no one, except Macbeth and the assassins, know of Banquo's assassination, so one could conjecture that many of the guests assume that Macbeth is being haunted by King Duncan's ghost, for it was a well known fact during this era, that a man who was haunted by a ghost was suffering from guilt for having murdered that person.
But the scene also reveals just how cunning Lady Macbeth is, for she is able to distract the guest's attention from Macbeth with some very clever lines; first she tells the guests that
"My lord is often thus / And hath been from his youth" (III. iv. 53-54).
Then later, she insists that
"He grows worse and worse / Question enrages him"(III. iv. 118-119).
Obviously, the guests are curious and want to ask questions, but Lady Macbeth is able to cut them off at the pass, with her clever excuse for Mabeth's manic outburst, which she describes as a "fit," and insists that they all leave, which they do.
The banquet scene is quite intriguing, for it reveals just how tormented Macbeth is and just how deceptive Lady Macbeth is, but it also suggests that people will be talking about Macbeth, for what they witness there is quite unnerving.
This very important scene, filled with flashback, symbolism, imagery, and irony, takes place in the banquet hall of the palace, and opens with King Macbeth entering with his queen, nobles, lords, and attendants. In the beginning, all seems a picture of perfect order.He welcomes everyone at once, saying,
"at first n last a hearty welcum to all.!
As he passes among the guests, the king spies the first murderer, who has just entered the hall. Macbeth tells him, "There's blood upon thy face."fter Macbeth praises the murderer for this work, the king learns that Fleance has escaped.He pales at the news and says,
"Then comes my fit again,"
a foreshadowing of the real "fit" he is about to display in the banquet hall. The king tries to regain his composure saying that at least the "grown serpent" (Banquo) lies dead, and the smaller serpent (Fleance) is too young to fear today. But the news has visibly shaken Macbeth.Macbeth is so busy playing the good host that he doesn't notice the ghost. No one else sees the ghost, either, because it's invisible to everyone except Macbeth. Ironically, Macbeth now chooses to comment about Banquo's absence from the banque. As he salutes his guests, Banquo's ghost enters the hall, unnoticed by Macbeth, and sits in his chair. When it is time to seat himself, Macbeth sees there is not an empty place for him and says,
"The table's full."
Matters grow worse when Macbeth points to the ghost and asks, "Which of you have done this?" Then he openly incriminates himself by denying his guilt: "Thou canst say I did it,"
Lady Macbeth covers for her husband. She asks everyone to stay seated, and explains that Macbeth is often like this, and has been ever since he was young. He'll recover in a moment, she says, but if they stare at him, it will only make him worse, so they should just eat and pretend that nothing has happened.The guests do as they are told, and Lady Macbeth takes her husband aside. As she did early in the play, Lady Macbeth challenges her husband's manhood.He tries again to regain his composure and cover up his damage by taking up his wife's story to the guests.He then goes forth with a toast to all, but the ghost reappears to taunt him.Lady Macbeth turns on her husband again and chastises him for spoiling the party: "You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting." Then she turns to the guests and dismisses them, telling them to go out in any order. The well-planned, orderly banquet has dissolved into total chaos.
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