In Macbeth Act Three, Scene 3, what happens during the ambush?

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lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Act III, Scene 3 Macbeth's hired murderers execute their plan to ambush Banquo and Fleance.  The father and son approach, and Fleance carries a torch.  As Banquo comments about possible rain, the first murderer springs into action, saying aloud "Let it come down" (14).  The first murderer snuffs out Fleance's torch, plunging the lane into darkness while the other two murderers leap upon Banquo to kill him.  Banquo cries out for Fleance to "fly, fly, fly, fly! Thoust mayst revenge" (15). 

Fleance is able to escape in the dark, leaving the murderers to blame each other about their lack of success in completing the job.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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In Act Three, Scene 3, three assassins who are hired by Macbeth meet to murder Banquo and his son, Fleance, near the palace at night. As Banquo and Fleance enter the scene holding a torch, the murderers attack Banquo, who screams for his son to flee. During the attack, the torch goes out, and Banquo dies from his wounds. However, Fleance is able to escape the attack and remain alive. Following the attack, the murderers realize that they have failed at their mission by only killing Banquo. In the next scene, the assassins break the news to Macbeth that they were unable to kill Fleance. Although Macbeth is happy that Banquo is dead, the fact that Fleance is alive worries him. Macbeth is concerned about the prophecy regarding Banquo's descendants coming true and realizes that Fleance can carry on the legacy of kings because he has escaped. 


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