The Banquet Scene in Macbeth

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Topics: Macbeth
But it is, perhaps, most noteworthy for the light it casts upon Macbeth's state of mind he has had strength of mind and self-control enough to push forward to his objectives and to hide from public view the bloody means by which he has obtained them. In this scene, however, we see a fatal collapse of his powers. In the banquet scene, after one feeble effort to play his part, he loses consciousness of the witnesses and speaks to the ghost as if they were alone together. Confronted by the spectre of his murdered victim he loses all self-control, and before the assembled nobility breaks out into speeches which must inevitably betray his guilt. 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 to the royal hall of Scotland with the banquet ready celebrating Macbeth’s coronation. In the beginning, all seems a picture of perfect order. The table is prepared, and Macbeth tells everyone to sit according to their rank from the top of the table downward. He then tells Lady Macbeth to stay seated in order to welcome the guests while he mingles with them. He seems a man in perfect control (an appearance that is in stark contrast to the reality of his inner being).
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." The murderer replies that it belongs to Banquo. After Macbeth praises the murderer for this work, the king learns that Fleance has escaped. It is Macbeth's undoing. 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.
The

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