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What quotes can be used to discuss the significance of Banquo's character in Macbeth?

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cassandralivi... | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:03 PM via web

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What quotes can be used to discuss the significance of Banquo's character in Macbeth?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:13 PM (Answer #1)

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Banquo is an important character because he has Macbeth’s best interests at heart, but Macbeth spends the majority of the play obsessing over him—even after he kills him.

Banquo seems to have been a good friend.  He was there to hear the witches’ prophecy, but he was skeptical of it.  He questioned the witches’ motives, and tried to advice Macbeth against taking what they said to heart.

In an aside to Macbeth after he finds out about his promotion, Banquo tells Macbeth to be cautious.

But ’tis strange;

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray's(135)

In deepest consequence—

Cousins, a word, I pray you. (Act 1, Scene 3)

Banquo does not want the kingship to himself, as Macbeth thinks. He is disturbed by the witches, and would rather not think about what they say any further.  He tries to tell Macbeth no good will come of it, but Macbeth is already full of ambition and dreaming of the day he is king.

When Macbeth kills Duncan, Banquo suspects something.  He is concerned that the witches are poisoning his friend’s mind, and his friend is up to no good.

Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou play'dst most foully for't: (Act 3, Scene 1)

He is actually right to be worried.  Macbeth is concerned that Banquo now stands in his way.  Duncan and then Malcolm stood in his way before, and he killed one and framed the other into exile.  He has to get rid of Banquo too in order to secure his throne.

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