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Banquos principles have been deeply compromised and we justifiably feel that he is not the innocent solider who met the Witches and scorned their prophecies.

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Introduction

?The Banquo Macbeth has killed is not the innocent soldier who met the witches and scorned their prophecies, nor the man who prayed to be delivered from temptation. He is a man whose principles have been deeply compromised.?Discuss. ?All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing?. Edmund Burke, the Irish politician warned of the over-reaching powers of governments and powerful men that have been allowed to get out of control. His words remain true to this day and they entirely capture the situation that Banquo found himself in with Macbeth?s meteoric rise to power and subsequent abuse of that power. Banquo was a good man. He was the noble and loyal soldier and friend that fought for king and country. However he is most notable by the end of Shakespeare?s play for having done nothing to stop Macbeth becoming a tyrant. Banquo was once the innocent soldier and a wise ally to Macbeth however it cannot be denied that he was suspicious of Macbeth after Duncan?s murder. Rather than conforming to his apparently righteous nature he chooses inaction and at no point tries to avert the tragedy that eventually happens. Therefore there is no doubt, I believe, that Banquo died a man morally compromised and whose principles had been strained to breaking point. ...read more.

Middle

He knew of the witches prophecy, he suspected Macbeth was up to something and he knew the King was vulnerable in Macbeth?s castle. However he was weak. He was as loyal to Macbeth as he was to the King. He would not confront his friend just as he would never question King Duncan. It is ironic that the combination of some of Banquo?s good qualities, loyalty, friendship etc, cause him to hesitate and compromise his principles. Banquo chooses inaction over doing the right thing. Had Banquo remained a morally righteous character in Shakespeare?s play the end result would have been very different. He never shared Macbeth?s ambition but that is not to say he never had allusions of grandeur and advancement. He quickly recognises that evil is at work in the background-?can the devil speak true??- but, rather than choosing to actively fight against it, Banquo waits to see what he might gain from the workings of the witches. I think Banquo realised his mistake during the aftermath of Duncan?s Murder. He is suspiciously quiet when Duncan is found dead the castle is thrown into chaos. He begs Macduff to ?contradict thyself and say it is not so?. No doubt, he is grieving but there is most definitely recognition of his own fault in his words. Again he tries to soothe his aching conscience by claiming he will fight for the forces of good and bring Duncan?s murderer to justice. ...read more.

Conclusion

He fears Banquo?s goodness now that he himself has lost his soul but Banquo?s soul was not unaffected by the evil of the witches. Perhaps at some point he would have come to his senses and fought back against his former friend had he been given the opportunity. As it was, Macbeth had him cut down at what can only be described as his darkest hour, without morals or principles and tempered with the knowledge of his failures. When we first meet Banquo he appears keen, observant and above all impervious to the temptation that the Witches represent. However, in the course of the play, Banquo?s principles have been deeply compromised and we justifiably feel that he is not the innocent solider who met the Witches and scorned their prophecies. Lord Acton famously stated that ?power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?. This statement is entirely true for Macbeth who was absolutely corrupted by power. And just as Banquo was a foil to Macbeth the antithesis of this statement is true for Banquo. It is my belief that weakness tends to corrupt just as much as power. Banquo was weak and he allowed this weakness to define him. We see a man who once saw the world in black and white, good v evil, right v wrong however because of his weakness Banquo ignobly finds the middle ground. As Albus Dumbledore put it in JK Rowling?s Harry Potter series: ?we all must make the choice between what is right and what is easy?. Banquo chose the easy option. ...read more.

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