In his soliloquy, what suspicion and hope does Banquo reveal in act 3, scene 1 of Macbeth?

In his soliloquy in act 3, scene 1 of Macbeth, Banquo reveals the suspicion that Macbeth murdered his way to the throne. At the same time, he also reveals the hope that the witches' prophecy will come true and that the crown of Scotland will go to his descendants.

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In act 3, scene 1, Banquo voices his suspicion that Macbeth played a role in King Duncan's death to fulfill the witches' prophecy. In Banquo's soliloquy, he begins by reiterating the titles Macbeth has acquired, which correspond to the witches' prophecies in act 1, scene 3. He...

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In act 3, scene 1, Banquo voices his suspicion that Macbeth played a role in King Duncan's death to fulfill the witches' prophecy. In Banquo's soliloquy, he begins by reiterating the titles Macbeth has acquired, which correspond to the witches' prophecies in act 1, scene 3. He acknowledges that Macbeth is now the King of Scotland and Thane of Cawdor, just like the Weird Sisters predicted. However, Banquo expresses his suspicion that Macbeth "played’st most foully for ’t."

Even though he has no evidence to prove it, Banquo suspects that Macbeth played a role in King Duncan's assassination. Banquo then reflects on the remainder of the witches' prophecies by stating that it was predicted that the throne would go to his descendants. He muses on the possibility that this prophecy will also come to fruition.

Banquo has good reason to assume that his prophecy will come true, given Macbeth's divined accomplishments. He is hopeful for his descendants and does not seem as wary about the prophecies as before. Initially, Banquo responded with caution upon hearing the prophecies and acknowledged the possibility that the witches were agents of evil, manipulating them through seemingly favorable predictions.

Banquo abruptly ends his soliloquy before Macbeth, his wife, and the other Scottish thanes enter the scene. It is obvious that Banquo does not want Macbeth to discover his suspicions or overhear him musing on the possibilities of his future. Banquo seems intelligent enough to realize that the prophecy concerning his descendants is a threat to Macbeth's legacy, which is one explanation as to why he conceals his thoughts.

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In his soliloquy at the beginning of act 3, scene 1, Banquo's suspicion is that Macbeth has "play'dst most foully" for the crown he has acquired. In other words, Banquo suspects—correctly, of course—that Macbeth has had a hand in the murder of the previous king.

The witches predicted that Macbeth would become king, and this has come to pass. The witches also told Banquo that he, Banquo, "shall get kings," meaning that Banquo's descendants would become kings after Macbeth. In his soliloquy in act 3, scene 1, Banquo allows himself to hope that this might also come to pass.

Implicit within the suspicion and hope noted above is also Banquo's suspicion and hope that the witches might be omnipotent, or omniscient. This is a fearful suspicion because witches were generally considered to be evil and agents of the devil, meaning that if they were omnipotent or omniscient, then evil would be a much more significant and powerful force in the world than anyone might like to think. This is also, however, a selfish hope for Banquo, albeit only fleetingly, because if the witches really are omniscient, then this means that he will prosper as the father and grandfather of future kings.

At the very end of his soliloquy, Banquo exclaims "But hush! no more." Banquo could here be telling himself to "hush" because he hears the trumpets signaling Macbeth's arrival, but he is perhaps also telling himself to "hush" because he is ashamed to entertain the self-interested hope that the witches might really be omniscient.

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In act 3, scene 1 of Macbeth, Banquo reflects upon the fact that Macbeth now has it all; he has everything that the witches prophesied he would have. They said he would be Thane of Cawdor, and he is. They said he would be Thane of Glamis, and they were right about that, too. And, most importantly of all, they said he would be king, and sure enough, that's exactly what he now is.

But Banquo suspects that there's a lot more than just prophecy at work here:

I fear / Thou played'st most foully for 't (31.2–3).

In other words, Banquo suspects, quite rightly, that Macbeth had something to do with Duncan's death. One can understand, then, why he might be starting to feel a tad frightened of Macbeth. If he could murder Duncan and turn against the man to whom he owed such loyalty, then there's no telling what he might do next. Banquo may be Macbeth's friend, but if Macbeth thinks that Banquo represents any kind of threat to his power, then he won't hesitate to destroy him.

All the same, the witches' prophecy also had something in it for Banquo—or, to be more precise, his descendants. The Weird Sisters prophesied that Banquo's descendants, though not Banquo himself, will one day take the crown of Scotland.

Given the apparent success of the witches' prophecies concerning Macbeth, Banquo has every reason to hope that they've got it right once again.

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At the beginning of act 3, scene 1, Banquo speaks to himself regarding Macbeth's new title as King of Scotland and the possibility of his sons becoming future kings. When Banquo discuss Macbeth's new title, he says

" . . . I fear Thou played’st most foully for ’t." (Shakespeare, 3.1.2-3)

Essentially, Banquo is suspicious that Macbeth played a role in King Duncan's murder. Banquo also reveals his hope that the witches' prophecy concerning his descendants will also come true. However, Banquo is careful not to reveal his concern about Macbeth's role in Duncan's murder in front of him.

Macbeth then enters the scene before Banquo goes riding with his son. After Banquo leaves, Macbeth mentions that he plans on having assassins murder Banquo and Fleance in order to protect his legacy. Unfortunately for Macbeth, Fleance escapes from the murderers, which makes it possible for Banquo's descendants to inherit the throne. Macbeth then becomes tortured with guilt for murdering his friend and even begins to see Banquo's ghost. 

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In Banquo's soliloquy that opens Act III of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Banquo fears that Macbeth "...Play'dst most foully" to obtain the crown of Scotland.  He suspects Macbeth of treachery, of assassinating Duncan.

At the same time, Banquo hopes that since the prophecies in Act I came true for Macbeth (he was named Thane of Cawdor and crowned king), that the prophecies that related to his heirs might also come true.  Banquo hopes that "...[I] myself should be the root and father/Of many kings."  He says:

Why, by the verities on thee made good,

May they not be my oracles as well

And set me up in hope?...

Banquo asks that if Macbeth's prophecies came true, might the prophecies about his heirs come true, also.

 

   

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