Macbeth-Who is the third murderer who appears in Act III, scene iii?

Essay by crunchieHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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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...

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