Macbeth And Banquo Relationship

Describe the relationship between Macbeth and Banquo in Macbeth. Does the relationship change during act 1?

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Michael Del Muro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Throughout the play, Banquo acts as a foil for Macbeth. The two characters begin the play as the best of friends, but when the Weird Sisters make their initial prophecy to both characters, they set the two against one another by telling Macbeth he'll be the king but that Banquo will be the father of kings. Their reactions set them apart, as Macbeth desires what the witches promise him, but Banquo replies, "The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us with honest trifles, to betray [u]s / In deepest consequence."

Throughout the first part of the play, Macbeth's ambition is highlighted by Banquo's humility. In act 3, scene 1, after Macbeth has gained all that the Weird Sisters prophesied, Banquo is tempted to wish for their prophecy about him to come true but then tells this hope, "But hush! no more." This immediately contrasts with Macbeth's fear of the witches' prophecy about Banquo's sons, and so Macbeth's ambition drives him to order the murder of his friend and his friend's son to...

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