Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare's Macbeth, how does the killing of Banquo compare and/or contrast with the murder of Duncan? What change in Macbeth's character do any differences  emphasize?

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We can also compare and contrast the actual staging of the murders as symbolic of the change in Macbeth's character. Before Duncan's murder, Macbeth is apprehensive and reticent to go forward with the plan. Then, the murder takes place off-stage, and we only see Macbeth's reaction to it: he is horrified by what he's done, so much so that he mistakenly brings the murder weapons from Duncan's bedroom and refuses to return them (an action necessary to frame the chamberlains and deflect guilt from the Macbeths). We, the audience, can likely still empathize with this man. Yes, he's committed a truly terrible act, but he is absolutely full of remorse afterward. The fact that we don't actually see him stabbing his friend makes it easier for us to focus on his emotional response rather than the brutality of the act he's committed.

Banquo 's murder, on the other hand, takes place on the stage. More than that, it also involves the attempted murder of a child. We see Macbeth plotting the murder with the...

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