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Banquo is the noble, brave general in Duncan's army

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Banquo is the noble, brave general in Duncan's army. He is one of the positive characters in the play, and his goodness is used to emphasize Macbeth's contrasting evil. We know little of him except that he has a young son called Fleance Banquo, as Macbeth admits, is "truly royal in nature." He possesses the qualities of a king without any of the outward symbols, such as the crown. Proof of his honesty and loyalty lies in his reluctance to commit any evil deeds to make his share of the prophecy come true. We sense stability in his presence in the manner in which he takes control of the situation after Duncan's death, urging the people to compose themselves and sort out the matter rationally. ...read more.


He is instead cautious and never reveals his innermost thoughts concerning this matter. Although Banquo is as courageous as Macbeth on the battlefield, he is often overshadowed by his colleague, as can be seen by Duncan's extravagant praise for Macbeth's bravery against the invaders, and his brief address to Banquo as an afterthought. Yet Banquo does not show any envy. His reaction when Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor shows that he is not in the least envious. His speech in response to Duncan's praise is also short, respectful, and sincere; in his straightforward way, he even makes a little joke. Being morally upright himself, Banquo does not even consider that he may become victim to Macbeth's evil ambition, especially as Macbeth feels that "his genius is rebuked" by Banquo." ...read more.


It is Banquo's children, not Macbeth's, who will inherit the Scottish throne, if the witches are to be believed. Like Macbeth, Banquo tends to think ambitious thoughts, as he himself admits in Act II, scene I, that he is losing sleep over "these cursed thoughts." However Banquo does not translate his "cursed thoughts" into action, and prefers to leave things up to fate and God. At the end of the play, although Fleance does not inherit the throne as yet, it is likely that he will do so in the future. It makes sense, then, that Banquo came back after his death to haunt Macbeth. He stands as a rebuke to Macbeth, symbolizing the path he chose not to take: the path where prophecies and heart-felt desires may be fulfilled without evil deeds and clever crimes. ...read more.

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