What are the diffrences between Banquo's and Macbeth's character?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth and Banquo are quite different.  Banquo has good morals, while Macbeth has few.  When the witches give Macbeth his first prophecies in Act 1, sc. 3, Macbeth and Banquo are startled, but both are also somewhat pleased with such good prophecies.  Macbeth, when he learns that he is indeed now the Thane of Cawdor, immediately thinks about what it would take to fulfill the other prophecy - becoming the king: "Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act / Of the imperial theme."  In Act 2, sc. 1, when Macbeth encounters Banquo late at night before Macbeth murders Duncan, Macbeth tells Banquo that he'd like to talk to him about an important matter.  Banquo says he'll talk as long as he can do so and keep his conscience clear and his loyalties clear (to Duncan). So far, Banquo has been free from any flaw.  In Act 3, sc. 1, in the scene's opening words however, Banquo shows an ambitious side when he says he suspects Macbeth of foul play in getting the crown, but he's still hopeful that the crown won't stay in Macbeth's family as the witches predicted.  Macbeth then shows his ambitious, cold-blooded,  and paranoid state when he has Banquo murdered because he is worried that Banquo suspects him of Duncan's murder and he hopes to stop the chance of Banquo's heirs becoming kings by wanting Fleance killed, too.  Macbeth is much more ambitious than Banquo and is more easily manipulated than Banquo.