Go to Knowledge4Africa.com

William Shakespeare


Act 3, Scene 4:
Easier questions to cut your teeth on!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 23 January 2014
Contact the English4Africa Subject Coordinator

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of Knowledge4Africa, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.


The lords of Scotland assemble for a feast at Macbeth's castle. During the celebration, Macbeth learns that his plan to murder Banquo and Fleance has misfired. Fleance has escaped.

Macbeth, clearly shocked, is immediately confronted by the ghost of Banquo, returned from the dead to haunt him.


Macbeth's mind is certainly troubled. First, the mysterious dagger. Now he sees the ghost of Banquo.

Perhaps it is natural to see ghosts. After all, Macbeth has given orders that Banquo and Fleance must be killed. He had no real reason to do this.

But there, of course, lies the rub! What man would murder his own best friend?

Macbeth is busy entertaining his guests at a sumptuous feast when the news is brought to him.

He is horrified to find that Fleance -- his real threat -- has survived. Is it the shock of the botched murder that shakes his mind?

On the other hand, it might be the sum of all that has happened thus far that is troubling him. After all, even before Duncan's murder he was seeing visions of ghostly daggers.

Killing his king certainly distressed him deeply. Now he has murdered his own dear friend.

If you were a guest at this feast, what would you think?

And note that one very important guest is boycotting the feast: Macduff. What will Macbeth make of this? If you were Macbeth, what would you do next?

Macbeth decides that he must pay one more visit to the three sisters so as to enquire more fully about Macduff.

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

"Then comes my fit again: I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air:
But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears."
  • Why is Macbeth holding a celebration? (2)

[Need help?]

  • Why is Macbeth so upset when the murderer tells him that Fleance has escaped? (3)

[Need help?]

"There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
hath nature that in time will venom breed;
no teeth for the present."
  • Who is the "grown serpent"? (1)

[Need help?]

  • What does Macbeth mean when he says that the worm "hath nature that in time will venom breed" but has "no teeth for the present"? (4)

[Need help?]

"To feed were best at home;
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it."
  • What does Lady Macbeth mean when she says, "To feed were best at home"? (2)

[Need help?]

  • What advice is Lady Macbeth giving her husband? (4)

[Need help?]

"Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
Thy gory locks at me."
  • Is there a real ghost? Explain. (5)

[Need help?]

"I will to-morrow,
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:
More shall they speak."
  • Why does Macbeth decide to visit the witches again? (4)

[Need help?]

Try another worksheet?

See also:
This document is copyrighted. No part of it may be reproduced in any form whatever without explicit permission in writing from the author. The sole exception is for educational institutions which may wish to reproduce it as a handout for their students.

Contact the English4Africa Subject Coordinator