Act III Scene I, Macbeth. In his soliloquy, what suspicion and hope does Banquo reveal?  

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of act 3, scene 1, Banquo speaks to himself regarding Macbeth's new title as King of Scotland and the possibility of his sons becoming future kings. When Banquo discuss Macbeth's new title, he says

" . . . I fear Thou played’st most foully for ’t." (Shakespeare, 3.1.2-3)

Essentially, Banquo is suspicious that Macbeth played a role in King Duncan's murder. Banquo also reveals his hope that the witches' prophecy concerning his descendants will also come true. However, Banquo is careful not to reveal his concern about Macbeth's role in Duncan's murder in front of him.

Macbeth then enters the scene before Banquo goes riding with his son. After Banquo leaves, Macbeth mentions that he plans on having assassins murder Banquo and Fleance in order to protect his legacy. Unfortunately for Macbeth, Fleance escapes from the murderers, which makes it possible for Banquo's descendants to inherit the throne. Macbeth then becomes tortured with guilt for murdering his friend and even begins to see Banquo's ghost. 

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Banquo's soliloquy that opens Act III of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Banquo fears that Macbeth "...Play'dst most foully" to obtain the crown of Scotland.  He suspects Macbeth of treachery, of assassinating Duncan.

At the same time, Banquo hopes that since the prophecies in Act I came true for Macbeth (he was named Thane of Cawdor and crowned king), that the prophecies that related to his heirs might also come true.  Banquo hopes that "...[I] myself should be the root and father/Of many kings."  He says:

Why, by the verities on thee made good,

May they not be my oracles as well

And set me up in hope?...

Banquo asks that if Macbeth's prophecies came true, might the prophecies about his heirs come true, also.



lit24 | Student

Act III Sc. 1 opens with a soliloquy by Banquo. In Act I Sc.3 Macbeth and Banquo were both met by the three witches who prophesied that Macbeth would become King of Scotland and that Banquo although he would not become King of Scotland, his children would: "Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none."

Now in Act III Sc.1 Banquo in his soliloquy suspects that Macbeth has used foul means to usurp the throne, at the same time he hopes that since the prophecy came true for Macbeth the prophecy spoken for him  should also come true:

and, I fear,
Thou play'dst most foully for't: yet it was said
It should not stand in thy posterity,
But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings. If there come truth from them--
As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine--
Why, by the verities on thee made good,
May they not be my oracles as well,
And set me up in hope?