At the beginning of the play, Banquo is depicted as a valiant, loyal soldier who is a fierce warrior on the battlefield. In act 1, scene 2, King Duncan asks his Captain if Macbeth and Banquo were frightened when the Norwegian forces entered the battle. The Captain responds by elaborating on Banquo's courageous performance by saying:
Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorize another Golgotha (1.2.35–40)
Shortly after receiving the seemingly favorable prophecies from the Three Witches, Banquo displays his discerning, cautious nature by questioning the witches' intentions. Banquo recognizes that the witches may be malevolent and not necessarily have their best interests in mind. Banquo then tells Macbeth:
That, trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange.
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s
In deepest consequence (1.3.122–128)
In act 2, scene 1, Banquo reveals that he is a morally upright man with integrity. When Macbeth promises to reward Banquo for his service and loyalty once he becomes king, Banquo demonstrates his honorable nature by saying:
So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
I shall be counselled (2.1.27–30)
In act 2, scene 3, Macbeth assassinates King Duncan, and the Scottish thanes are appalled to hear the news of Duncan's death. Banquo is heartbroken and upset at the news but reveals his determined, resolute nature by instructing the thanes to meet in hopes of discovering the murderer. Banquo says:
...And when we have our naked frailties hid,
That suffer in exposure, let us meet
And question this most bloody piece of work,
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us.
In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
Against the undivulged pretense I fight
Of treasonous malice (2.3.124–130)
Overall, Banquo is depicted as a loyal, morally upright man with integrity who exercises caution when interacting with the Three Witches, and he becomes a victim of Macbeth's tyrannical reign.