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Macbeth Who Is The Third Murderer Who Appears In Act Iii, Scene Iii?

1038 words - 4 pages

Write an analysis of the identity of the third murderer in Macbeth and why he appears in Act III, scene iii. With close reference to the text, you need to support your choice as to whom you believe Shakespeare intended that extra person to be.Through carefully reading the text, I believe it is up to the individual's imagination to determine who the third murderer is. Shakespeare is not clear on this issue and I have a few theories on why the third murderer appears in Act III, scene iii.My first theory is that there is a third murderer because throughout the whole play, everything is done in 'three's'. There are three witches, three people that Macbeth kills Duncan, Banquo and Lady Macduff) that we hear about, and three murderers. This keeps a general flow going. The number three was also considered bad luck in those days and Shakespeare may have possibly needed an explanation for Fleance's escape, so maybe if Shakespeare had only gone with two murderers, then Fleance wouldn't have escaped as there would be no bad luck involved. My other theory is that it is probably just a dramatic technique to create curiosity and suspense or that is possibly an error in an earlier manuscript or that the third murderer was placed in the play to satisfy Shakesperare's need for a third person to speak and take part in the action.Since I was not at all sure who the third murderer was, I used a method of elimination to find a character that fit into the picture with the most certainty:The first suspect I eliminated was Lady Macbeth. On the night of the murders, Lady Macbeth is at the castle meeting with her guests. She wouldn't have the time to get into a murderer's costume, go to the woods, help to murder Banquo and Fleance, clean herself, get back into her formal clothes, and rejoin the party. Besides, she would be missed by the Thanes if she had left the party, as she is after all, the hostess. Also, Macbeth refused to tell his wife about the plans to kill Banquo, and this is shown in Act III, scene ii, line 45, when Macbeth tells his wife, "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck" which basically means that Lady Macbeth knows nothing. Macbeth hinted to his wife about the night's upcoming events, but no more, so Lady Macbeth did not know what Macbeth was planning. Macbeth mentioned to the first and second murderers that they must ensure to kill Fleance, and right after the murder of Banquo, the third murderer says "There's one but down; the son is fled" (Act III, scene iii, line 23), therefore obviously knowing that Macbeth had intended to kill Fleance, which was an important part of the 'mission'. There is no way Lady Macbeth would have known it was Macbeth's plans to kill Fleance, as Macbeth never told her.The second character I ruled out was Macbeth himself. Firstly, as is the case with Lady Macbeth, he would have been missed at the party as he is the...

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