How Does Macbeth Convince The Murderers To Kill Banquo

How does Macbeth try to convince the murderers to target Banquo?

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Macbeth is, at this point, utterly convinced by the witches' prophesies and he fears mostly their prediction that Banquo's issue would be the future kings of Scotland. It is for this reason that both Banquo and his son, Fleance, should be assassinated. For this purpose he has summoned these murderers, not killers or assassins in the normal sense, but soldiers who have killed many in battle.

Macbeth had consulted with the assassins the previous day and now uses very persuasive and direct language to convince them to carry through his instructions. Macbeth tells them:

"Know
That it was he in the times past which held you
So under fortune, which you thought had been
Our innocent self:"

He tells them that Banquo had withheld their promotion. The men were probably entitled to a higher rank, but had been denied by Banquo's refusal. Macbeth says that the men had believed that he (Macbeth) had been responsible for this injustice, but that he was innocent.  The men had been misled and Banquo was the one...

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