What is the difference between Banquo and Macbeth?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, there is one large difference between Macbeth and Banquo. While both men see the promise and fortune that the crown will bring to them and their families, Banquo does not take matters into his own hands to insure the prophecy comes true.

Macbeth decides that, given the prophecy, he must do whatever it takes to possess the crown.  Macbeth, therefore, decides to take fate into his own hands and do what he must to obtain the crown.

Banquo, instead, trusts in the prophecy enough to stand aside and let fate take its course.  Banquo chooses not to force the crown for his children.

This is, perhaps, the most striking difference between Banquo and Macbeth.