A park near the palace.
Enter three Murderers
First Murderer
But who did bid thee join with us?
Third Murderer
Macbeth.
Second Murderer
He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers
Our offices and what we have to do
To the direction just.
First Murderer
Then stand with us.
The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:
Now spurs the lated traveller apace
To gain the timely inn; and near approaches
The subject of our watch.
Third Murderer
Hark! I hear horses.
BANQUO
[Within] Give us a light there, ho!
Second Murderer
Then 'tis he: the rest
That are within the note of expectation
Already are i' the court.
First Murderer
His horses go about.
Third Murderer
Almost a mile: but he does usually,
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate
Make it their walk.
Second Murderer
A light, a light!
Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE with a torch
Third Murderer
'Tis he.
First Murderer
Stand to't.
BANQUO
It will be rain to-night.
First Murderer
Let it come down.
They set upon BANQUO
BANQUO
O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
Thou mayst revenge. O slave!
Dies. FLEANCE escapes
Third Murderer
Who did strike out the light?
First Murderer
Wast not the way?
Third Murderer
There's but one down; the son is fled.
Second Murderer
We have lost
Best half of our affair.
First Murderer
Well, let's away, and say how much is done.
Exeunt

A few miles from Macbeth's palace the two hired assassins stood waiting in the forest. They knew the route Banquo and Fleance would take and they stood patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity. They heard footsteps crack the branches on the ground. They hadn’t expected Banquo and his son so soon, but it wasn't Banquo. The man they encountered was a stranger to them but his attire and manner indicated he too was a ruffian.

 

“Who told you to join us?” asked the first murderer.

 

“Macbeth.”

 

“He has no reason to distrust us. He gave us our orders down to the last detail,” said the second murderer.

 

“Then stand with us,” said the first murderer. “The western sky is streaked with the last glimmers of day. Now travellers spur their horses hoping to reach an inn. The man who is the subject of our watch must be getting closer.”

 

“Listen!” said the new man. “I can hear horses.”

 

They patiently stood listening to the sounds getting nearer. The horses seemed to be slowing. They heard the riders dismount.

 

“Give me a light there, Fleance.”

 

“It's Banquo!” said the second murderer. “The others are already at the feast.”

 

“He's tied up the horses,” said the first murderer.

 

“That's usual - everyone does. They leave the horses here and walk to the palace gate.” said the third murderer.

 

They heard Banquo and Fleance approach them. Between the trees they saw the first flickers of their torches.

 

“Look, a light.”

 

“That's him!”

 

“Get ready!”

 

Each hid behind a tree. They could see and hear their victims clearly. Banquo passed them.

 

“Looks like rain tonight,” Banquo said to Fleance.

 

“Let it come down!” the first murderer said as he struck the torch from Banquo's hand.

 

The other two murderers sized Banquo and stabbed him repeatedly with their daggers.

 

“Treachery! Run, Fleance, run, run, run. You must avenge me. Oh....”

 

His voice trailed off. In the darkness the murderers couldn't find Fleance.

 

“Who put out the light?” asked the third murderer.

 

“Wasn't that the plan?” asked the first murderer.

 

“We've only killed one. The son got away!” said the third.

 

“We've failed in the main part of the task,” said the second.

 

“Let's get out of here and tell Macbeth what happened,” said the first.