The Victorious Banquo of Shakespeare's Macbeth

1723 WordsJul 11, 20187 Pages
The Victorious Banquo of Macbeth The audience sees in Shakespeare's Macbeth that the one who ends up victorious, the one whose family will provide kings for the kingdom, is the innocent, spiritually inclined Banquo. It is he about whom this essay will deal. A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy explains the main interest in the character of Banquo: The main interest of the character of Banquo arises from the changes that take place in him, and from the influence of the witches upon him. And it is curious that Shakespeare's intention here is so frequently missed. Banquo being at first strongly contrasted with Macbeth, as an innocent man with a guilty, it seems to be supposed that this contrast must be continued…show more content…
On that fateful night, Banquo has a strange sense of foreboding: A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers, Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in repose! (2.1) Banquo's spiritual awareness and sensitivity make him a recipient of portents, it would seem. Meanwhile, Macbeth feels the pressure of the impending "bloody business" and thereby has a vision of the murder instrument: "Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? / Come, let me clutch thee." In Act 2, Scene 2, Lady Macbeth confesses to her husband that could not perform the murder because "Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done't." So Macbeth follows through with the killing. Soon Macbeth goes to Scone to be "invested" in his kingly office. Then in soliloquy Macbeth gives the rationale behind his planned murder of Banquo: For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind; For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd; Put rancours in the vessel of my peace Only for them; and mine eternal jewel Given to the common enemy of man, To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! (3.1) Meanwhile the queen is lamenting the state of "doubtful joy" in which the royal couple is living. Both she and he are nightly afflicted by "terrible dreams," and his mind is "full
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