Banquo says that the prophecy has come true for Macbeth. He would like the prophecy the Witches made about his sons to come true also. Banquo feels that he must appear loyal to Macbeth, yet he does not trust him.
Macbeth questions Banquo as to his schedule for the day and says to Banquo to be sure and join them at the banquet that evening. Banquo and his son plan to go out riding for the day. Macbeth is worried that the prophecy of Banquo’s sons being kings will come true. His reign will be barren if his sons do not succeed him Macbeth hires two men to murder Banquo and Fleance.
Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth as to his plans, but he does not inform her of the plan to kill Banquo and Fleance. She encourages Macbeth not to think about Banquo or the events that have taken place. Macbeth tells her not to worry.
A third murderer joins the two Macbeth had hired in the previous scene. They wait along the path that Banquo and his son travel. As they approach, walking their horses, the murderers jump out. Banquo is killed, but Fleance is able to escape.
At the banquet, Macbeth learns that the murderers have not been entirely successful. They killed Banquo, but Fleance was able to escape. Macbeth takes joy in learning that Banquo is dead, because he cannot produce any more sons. He says he will deal with the matter of Fleance later.
As Macbeth is seated at the banquet table, the ghost of Banquo appears. This startles Macbeth and he responds to the vision. No one but Macbeth can see the ghost. Lady Macbeth assures her guests that Macbeth has had these attacks since he was a child and it will soon pass. She urges Macbeth to resume his role as host. As quickly as he offers his apology to his guest, the ghost appears again. Macbeth loses control and Lady Macbeth fears he will confess to the murder of Duncan. She asks her guest to leave quickly. The ghost disappears and Macbeth questions why Macduff did not attend the banquet. Macbeth feels he must consult with the Witches again to gain information about the future.
Hecate is another Witch that Shakespeare introduces to the audience. Hecate is upset because the other Witches did not consul her before they spoke to Macbeth. Hecate assures them she will conjure a spell that will lead Macbeth to a disastrous fate. She sends them to cast the spell and prepare the charm, as Macbeth plans to visit them soon.
Lennox says to a Lord that he feels it is a pity that Banquo was killed. He goes on to imply that Macbeth is responsible for both Duncan’s and Banquo’s deaths; even though the general consensus is that Fleance killed
his own father, as did Malcolm and Donalbain. Lennox does not believe either had anything to do with the deaths of their fathers. Macbeth has stolen Malcolm’s birthright to be king and Malcolm is in England trying to secure an army to gain his birthright back. Macduff has gone to join in his effort. Lennox and the Lord hope that Malcolm will be successful in restoring peace to Scotland.