Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Compare and contrast the murders of Banquo and Duncan in Macbeth.

In Macbeth, Duncan and Banquo's murders take place at night, are executed to secure Macbeth's position as king, negatively affect Macbeth's mindset, and were influenced by the witches' prophecies. Lady Macbeth plays a major role in Duncan's murder but is not involved or aware of Banquo's murder. Macbeth also kills Duncan by himself but hires murderers to execute Banquo. Macbeth also experiences hallucinations before Duncan's assassination but sees Banquo's ghost at a feast following the murder.

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Macbeth has serious reservations about killing King Duncan and only follows through with the murder after speaking to his nefarious wife. Lady Macbeth is highly involved in King Duncan's murder and forces her husband to follow through with it. She manipulates her husband by criticizing his manhood and awakening his ambition. During Banquo's murder, Lady Macbeth does not know her husband's plans or influence him to kill his former friend.

King Duncan's murder also takes place in Macbeth's castle, and Macbeth and his wife pretend to be shocked and appalled by the bloody crime. Their performance is very convincing, and Lady Macbeth even faints in front of the men. Banquo's murder takes place in a park outside of the castle. The Scottish thanes do not get to see his deceased body and think that he has simply missed the celebratory feast. King Duncan is also sleeping when he is killed, while Banquo is awake after his nightly ride. Macbeth also stabs King Duncan himself but hires assassins to kill...

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Macbeth has many doubts that he could kill King Duncan and doesn't think he will be able to live with the guilt of assassination while the king is staying at the same palace. It makes him emotional-scarred in his heart and was confused and bewildered about what to do. I think Macbeth has a high sense of honor and moral integrity and to murder the king would be too great him for him without outside party help in assisting. It shows that he is not all pure evil and he stills has some conscience in his heart compared to Lady Macbeth

The situation changes 360 degrees in the murder of Banquo where Macbeth behavior took an complete change. There was no outside help from Lady Macbeth and all the decisions are Macbeth only. When he was king, his mind is still filled with power-hungry ambitions to control the whole empire and he felt that Banquo was the obstacle towards his success, so murdering him was a necessity. He became a cold-blooded and inhumane monster who would do any despicable things just to get his way. He was very low to appoint hidden assassins to sneak to his room to kill him, showing that he was a lowly-count coward who would do anything just to realize his mighty ambitions. This behavior of this completely contrasts his behavior and emotions during the murder of Duncan. The power of money and success surely got to his brain and make him power-crazy.