How does Shakespeare present the relationship between Macbeth and Banquo in act 3, scene 1 of Macbeth?

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Macbeth and Banquo have always been firm friends and partners, though Banquo is very much the junior partner. The witches, however, hit on something fundamental when they hail Banquo as "lesser than Macbeth, and greater." In the battle at the beginning of the play, Banquo is everyone's second thought, his name tacked on to that of Macbeth. Duncan, greeting them both, says that Banquo has "no less deserved." A less magnanimous man than Banquo might think that he certainly has "less received," since Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his service while Banquo was given nothing. When Banquo and Macbeth talk to the witches, however, Macbeth deigns to traffic and parley with them, while Banquo treats them with the aristocratic contempt one would expect of a high nobleman and a great warrior.

In act 3, scene 1, Banquo has finally come to suspect and distrust his old friend. He is not specific about what he thinks Macbeth has done, but he is afraid that he has played "most foully"...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1229 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 15, 2020
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 15, 2020