Banquo

1269 WordsOct 10, 20136 Pages
Banquo is a character in William Shakespeare's 1606 play Macbeth. In the play, he is at first an ally to Macbeth and they are together when they meet the Three Witches. After prophesying that Macbeth will become king, the witches tell Banquo that he will not be king himself, but that his descendants will be. Later, Macbeth in his lust for power sees Banquo as a threat and has him murdered; Banquo's son, Fleance, escapes. Banquo's ghost returns in a later scene, causing Macbeth to react with alarm during a public feast. Shakespeare borrowed the character of Banquo from Holinshed's Chronicles, a history of Britain published by Raphael Holinshed in 1587. In Chronicles Banquo is an accomplice to Macbeth in the murder of the king, rather…show more content…
If Macbeth, rather than Malcolm, is Prince of Cumberland then Macbeth would be next in line to the throne and no coup would be needed, effectively removing this ambiguity from Banquo's character. Role in the play Banquo is in a third of the play's scenes, as both a human and a ghost. As significant as he is to the plot, he has fewer lines than the relatively insignificant Ross, a Scottish nobleman who survives the play. In the second scene of the play, King Duncan describes the brave manner in which Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, and Banquo bravely led his army against invaders, fighting side by side. In the next scene, Banquo and Macbeth, returning from the battle together, encounter the Three Witches, who predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, and then king. Banquo, skeptical of the witches, challenges them to predict his own future, and they foretell that Banquo will never himself take the throne, but will beget a line of kings. Banquo remains skeptical after the encounter, wondering aloud if evil can ever speak the truth. He warns Macbeth that evil will offer men a small, hopeful truth only in order to catch them in a deadly trap. When Macbeth kills the king and takes the throne, Banquo—the only one aware of this encounter with the witches—reserves judgment for God. He is unsure whether Macbeth committed regicide to gain the throne, but muses in a soliloquy that "I
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