Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does Macbeth and Banquo's relationship change in Macbeth? How has their relationship changed from the beginning of the play to act 3, scene 1? Any help appreciated! 

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When the play begins, Macbeth and Banquo are close friends and comrades in arms. They have just fought together to vanquish Duncan's foes. They are both equally surprised by the witches' prophecies, although Macbeth reacts more strongly to the witches' words than Banquo.

By Act III, scene 1, their relationship has changed dramatically. Once Macbeth becomes king, he and Banquo can no longer be bosom buddies, but worse than that, each has growing suspicions of the other. Banquo increasingly fears that Macbeth murdered Duncan. Macbeth increasingly fears Banquo knows too much. As Macbeth becomes harder-hearted and more disappointed in the way kingship has turned out to be not all he had thought it would be, he grows increasingly resentful of his former friend. Macbeth feels he has taken all the risks to get the crown, but the witches' prophecy states that Banquo's descendants will sit on Scotland's throne. That doesn't seem fair to Macbeth. At this point, it is easy for him to order his former...

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