Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Macbeth, what purpose does act 2, scene 1 and the conversation between Macbeth and Banquo serve? What evidence is there that Banquo is suspicious of Macbeth?

In Macbeth, the purpose of act 2, scene 1 and the conversation between Macbeth and Banquo is to illustrate their diverging paths and altered friendship. The scene also depicts Macbeth's desire to commit regicide in order to fulfill the prophecy. Banquo reveals that he is suspicious of Macbeth by refusing to lose his honor or tarnish his conscience by promising his unflagging loyalty to Macbeth.

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One purpose that this scene serves is to show that Banquo is a threat to Macbeth's plans. This relationship is complicated. One one hand, they are friends. In fact, when Banquo questions who is approaching him in the darkness, this is how Macbeth identifies himself.

Yet the tension is growing here. They meet in darkness, serving as a metaphor for Macbeth's current state of mind, and Banquo's first reaction when he hears someone approaching is to draw his sword. This physical reaction is not unwarranted considering Macbeth's plans.

The beginning of this scene also serves as a reminder that Banquo is a threat. He knows of the prophesies of the "three weird sisters," which prophesy both Macbeth's rise to become King. The audience realizes that Banquo knows too much. If Duncan is murdered, Banquo could become suspicious. The mention of the three weird sisters also serves as another reminder: Banquo will never become King, but his descendants will. Banquo's mention of the prophesies sets the stage,

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