What is one internal conflict shown for each Lady Macbeth, Macbeth and Banquo and what act/scene are they shown in from Macbeth?

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tresvivace eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have received an excellent answer already, but I would like to point out even more internal conflicts.

While Lady Macbeth's greatest internal conflicts are shown near the end of the play, she begins to show the signs of her internal distress in Act 3, Scene 2:

Naught’s had, all’s spent, Where our desire is got without content. 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
Similarly, while I agree with dstuva that we see much internal conflict in Macbeth earlier in the play, he has an introspective moment in Act 5 Scene 3 revealing regret for what he has let his life become:
My way of life Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 28 I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath

Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.


And while it is true that Banquo reveals his internal conflicts in Act 3 just before he is killed, he also shows his concerns about Macbeth's dishonorable intentions almost from the first moment the two hear the witches' prophecies.  In Act i Scene 3, Banquo and Macbeth discuss the great prophecies they have just heard.  While Banquo would love to believe that his "children" (descendants) will be king, he is conflicted because he believes the witches might be evil spirits trying to trick men into performing evil deeds:


That trusted home Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, 128 Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange; And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s 132

In deepest consequence.


Learn more about the external and internal conflicts in this play at the sites noted below.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Internal conflicts are prevalent in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth feels tremendous guilt for her part in the blood bath her husband creates.  She manipulates her husband and convinces him to follow through with assassinating Duncan, but she doesn't have any part in the murders of Banquo and Macduff's family.  By Act 5, the blood that she so easily dismisses when it's on Macbeth's hands in Act 2.2, is now torturing her.  She feels guilt for the part she was directly involved in, but also for the part that she wasn't.

Macbeth is conflicted in the beginning of the play, rather than later like his wife.  He wants to be king, but he doesn't want to be the one to kill Duncan.  He worries about getting caught, about spiritual consequences, and about Duncan having treated him so well and having been such a just king (Act 1.7). 

Banquo is conflicted because he suspects Macbeth of treachery, but he doesn't have poof and Macbeth is his friend.  Banquo is also conflicted because his heirs are predicted to be kings, and he would like to see that happen (Act 3.1).