Macbeth I need a quote for my essay that explains why macbeth fells the need to murder Banquo

Expert Answers
e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because I attribute Lady Macbeth with the actual motivation for the murder, I would quote her for proof that this crime was inevitable. She makes him feel that he should commit the murder. She plays Macbeth against his own ambition, describing his honor and virtues as weakness here:

...thou wouldst be great,

art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,

thou wouldst holily; wouldst not play false,

and yet would wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis,

That which cries "Thus thou must do', if thou have it,

And that which rather thou fearst to do,

Than wishest should be undone.

In these lines Lady Macbeth suggests that Macbeth has the aim to usurp power, but not the will-power to commit the act that would actually give him power. If it were done for him, he wouldn't undo it. Yet, he doesn't have the guts to do it himself, because he always wants to act "holily".

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At one point in Act 3, scene I of Macbeth, Macbeth comments about Banquo as follows:

Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear'd: 'tis much he dares;
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety. There is none but he
Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said,
Mark Antony's was by Caesar.

In other words, Macbeth plans to have Banquo killed for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Banquo seems kingly almost by nature and thus seems, to Macbeth, a potential rival
  • Banquo is both brave and wise and might again, for those reasons, prove a rival to Macbeth
  • Banquo's kingly qualities inspire nervousness in Macbeth
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act III scene i, Banquo notes that the witches' prophesies have come true for Macbeth, and that it is therefore possible that the predictins that Banquo's children will be kings may well be granted also-

BANQUO: Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised, and I fear
Thou play'dst most foully for't: yet it was said
It should not stand in thy posterity,
But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings. If there come truth from them—
As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—
Why, by the verities on thee made good,
May they not be my oracles as well
And set me up in hope?

His comments remind Macbeth that his own success could be fleeting if his friend is allowed to live.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, Scene 3, Banquo tells Macbeth,

New honors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use. (159-161)

Having been with Macbeth when the witches offer their prophecies, Banquo is aware of their affect upon Macbeth. Therefore, he is the one especially who understands Macbeth's motivations and actions.  As the witness, Banquo is a true threat to Macbeth in his bloody path of ambition.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another quote by Macbeth which explains why he needed to kill Banquo is:

Know Banquo was your enemy.

While Macbeth is speaking to the murderers, one can easily interpret that quote to say: you know Banquo is MY enemy.

Macbeth is trying to give the murderers a good reason to kill Banquo. Given that Macbeth is now king, they will listen to him. Therefore, it is that Macbeth sees Banquo as his own enemy that he decides he must die.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
From Banquo's perspective. 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. (scene 3). Since the play is about premonition and predeterminism, this quote from Banquo shows that he is intelligent and aware.
Zac Egs | Student


We can suggest that Macbeth feels the need to murder Banquo because Macbeth has a kind of "tragic flaw" that we call hamartia. Macbeth has a strong proclivity to murder his rival (Banquo) who can be viewed as a Christ-like figure. Furthermore, at the basis of any "good" tragedy there is a process of transgression i.e. Macbeth should be admired and hated because of this transgression. I think that if there is no murder there is no transgression and there is no tragedy.


Zac Egs

wanderista | Student

I think the common theme in this discussion is 'Banquo'. I would use this quotation:

New honors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use. (159-161)

Good luck!

madihaa | Student

please mention ur question fully first then anyone can tell you about Macbeth according to ur question... .there are many aspects in macbeth so i dont know what u want to know so mention aspect or ur idea fully  thanx :)

just-s | Student

if this is why macbeth wants to kill banquo ,

what observations does banquo make of macbeth?