Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Macbeth, how do the characters of Macbeth and Banquo contrast?

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Macbeth and Banquo are both soldiers and noblemen.  However, Macbeth is ambitious while Banquo is more reflective.

When the story begins, there is little difference between Macbeth and Banquo except that Macbeth has recently had great victory in battle.  They are both strong and brave, and they seem to be friends.  When the witches give them prophecies, they seem to imply that Baquo is both lesser than Macbeth and greater, because he won’t be king and Macbeth will, but his sons will be king and Macbeth’s won’t.

Their reaction to the witches is very different.  Banquo is immediately confused, suspicious, and somewhat amused.  He describes them as looking “not like the inhabitants” of Earth, yet on it.

 Live you? …. You should be women,

And yet your beards forbid me to interpret

That you are so. (Act 1, Scene 3, p. 12)

Macbeth wants to know more immediately.  When he hears the prophecies, he wants to know how they can be true.  He jumps to the logical questions behind what they...

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