In Macbeth, compare and contrast Macbeth, Banquo and Macduff.Please give approriate quotes.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The characters of Macbeth and Macduff actually have a number of similarities between them, which mark them out as being separate from Banquo, who is actually presented as a somewhat more sensitive character. Note how Macbeth is introduced in Act I scene 2 before the audience even meets him:

For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name!--

Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel

Which smoked with bloody execution...

From the very start of this play the audience associates Macbeth with slightly over-zealous pugnacity, as is shown through this description, coupled with the deal of how he "unseamed" the traitorous Macdonald "from the nave to th'chops." In a similar way, Macduff, although a soldier of honour (and in this sense completely unlike Macbeth), shows his violence through his bloodthirsty pursuit of Macbeth in Act V:

My voice is in my sword, though bloodier villain

Than terms can give thee out.

The audience is shown that Macduff is consumed with his desire for revenge and willing to commit murder in order to achieve that goal, which strikes an interesting similarity between his character and Macbeth's character. Banquo, however, is shown to be of a very different ilk. He is shown to be different from Macbeth in the way he responds to the witches as shown in Act I scene 3. He, rather than act on his suspicions of Macbeth's treachery like Macduff, resolves to quietly flee and escape. He is presented as rather a weak character compared to the machinations of Macbeth and the strident zealous desire for revenge of Macduff.

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