How might Banquo's hopes for the future make him forget his promise in Macbeth?Act III scene 3 : "In all great hand of God...

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In Act 2, Scene 3, Banquo vows to avenge the murderer of King Duncan.  However, at the time he does not realize it is Macbeth.  There are two reasons he may not keep his promise.  First, he is Macbeth’s friend and he will not act until he is sure.  Second, Macbeth suspects him of knowing what happened and kills him before he can act.

After Duncan is found murdered, there is an uproar.  During this time, Banquo gets very upset and makes a proclamation.

Fears and scruples shake us:

In the great hand of God I stand, and thence

Against the undivulged pretence I fight

Of treasonous malice.(150) (Act 2, Scene 3)

Banquo basically makes a vow before God to fight the treason that took place.  He is very emotional, because his king has just been killed.  He does not suspect Macbeth at this point.  However, it is not long before he does.

Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou play'dst most foully for't: (Act 3, Scene 1)

Banquo is beginning to suspect that Macbeth, at whose house the king was murdered, is not fully innocent.  He believes Macbeth might have been the murderer, but he has no proof at this point.  He also wonders if the prophecies about him are true, and his sons will indeed be kings.  This might give Banquo another reason not to kill Macbeth, because he would directly benefit and he might be suspected too.

Banquo also does not get to keep his promise because Macbeth begins to suspect him.

Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou play'dst most foully for't: (Act 3, Scene 1)

Macbeth decides that he cannot risk Banquo knowing what happened, or Banquo’s sons becoming king.  He decides to kill both Banquo and his son to be safe, and Banquo is not able to keep his promise.

Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear'd. (Act 3, Scene 1)

Throughout the play, Banquo remains noble.  He seems to care deeply about Macbeth and try to keep him on the straight and narrow, but Macbeth is not under his influence.  The Weird Sisters have poisoned his mind, and power is all he can think about.  Thus, while Banquo has always been loyal to Macbeth, he pays the price.

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