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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: ACT 3
Literary Analysis
SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY: DRAMATIC IRONY
Dramatic irony is the contrast created when the audience knows more about a situation than
the character knows. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to build suspense.
Directions: Skim Act Three for remarks that create dramatic irony. Record the scene and
line numbers in the first column of the chart. Then tell what the characters think or say in the
second column. In the third column, explain what the audience knows in each situation.
Copyright by McDougal Littell, a division of Houghton Mifflin Company
What Characters Think or Say
What Audience Knows
How does dramatic irony in Macbeth help to create suspense?
Unit 2
British Literature
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: ACT 3
Scene, Lines
Answer Key
The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act III
Responses will vary. Possible answers are given.
Scene 2, lines 29–34
Macbeth tell his wife to pay special attention to
Banquo at the banquet.
Macbeth has had Banquo killed.
Scene 4, lines 41–44
Macbeth publicly wishes for Banquo’s company,
knowing he is dead.
Banquo’s ghost sits at Macbeth’s place at the table.
Scene 4, lines 53–58
Lady Macbeth tells the guests that her husband suffers from a
strange malady.
Macbeth is hallucinating because he is riddled with guilt.
Scene 4, lines 90–92
Macbeth toasts Banquo and wishes he were present.
The ghost has returned to the hall.
Scene 4, lines 120–121
Lennox wishes Macbeth better health.
Macbeth is really hallucinating over guilt, not illness.
Students may say that dramatic irony keeps the audience a
step ahead of the characters. It creates suspense by hinting
at Macbeth’s ultimate fall and making the audience wonder
what will happen next.
Copyright by McDougal Littell , a division of Houghton Mifflin Company.
Literary Analysis