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Banquo - Macbeths co-conspirator.

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Introduction

Robin Spacie 10N Banquo The historical Banquo, or Lochquhaber, was Macbeth's co-conspirator in Duncans regicide. It is also interesting to know that Holinshead describes Duncan not as a mature, strong King but a weak-willed young man unequal to the task of governing Scotland. However, Shakespeare radically changed the mythical Banquo (Historians seriously doubt his existence.) because he was an ancestor of James I, the ruling king when Macbeth was produced. In Macbeth Banquo is a loyal and honourable Scottish nobleman who is an impressive warrior in the King's army and Macbeth's best friend. The audience first hears of Banquo in I:2 when Duncan asks if Banquo is dismayed at the Norwegians advantage in the battle that is being fought. Dismay'd not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo? This question portrays Macbeth and Banquo as brave, valiant fighters, an image which Macbeth loses throughout the play. A Sergeant replies As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. showing peoples high regard of Banquo, and also Macbeth at this stage, in that they compare them to lions and eagles: the mightiest of animals. Banquo enters the play when he and Macbeth meet the witches in I:3. Both men hear their prophecies, Banquo is to be Lesser than Macbeth, and greater... ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth makes a very jilted remark at the news of Duncans death What! In our house? To which Banquos remark is very honest, and also shows a disdain for what lady Macbeth has just said, Too cruel anywhere. Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself, And say it is not so. The second half of Banquo's speech is very short, plain and honest because he is genuinely shocked, unlike Macbeth whose flowery verse seems out of place so soon after a dreadful event. Banquo begins to suspect Macbeth after Duncan's murder when Macbeth crowns himself King because he is the only person, apart from Macbeth, who knows of the witches prophecies. I fear, Thou play'dst most foully for 't If Banquo had lived, Macbeth may have been caught earlier before he could commit so many murders. However, Banquo cannot live because Macbeth is too jealous of him. Macbeth has got what he initially wanted but now he wants his descendants to be heir to the throne instead of Banquo. Macbeth lies to Banquo throughout the scene, saying things such as Here's our chief guest... If he had been forgotten, It had been a great gap in our great feast... (Ironic when Banqous ghost fills the space left by Banquo's body) ...read more.

Conclusion

The interpretation below was used in the 1955 Stratford production. Banquo does not tell anyone of his suspicions because he is waiting to see how the prophecy unfolds. If the witches were right then his descendants will be Kings. . In II:1, as Banquo encounters the seething Macbeth before the murder, Banquo seems to guardedly agree with Macbeth by saying I shall be counsell'd. (II:1 29) At the end of III:3, Macbeth enters to observe (and, indeed, to some extent frighten off) the fleeing Malcolm and Donalbain. Then, as he goes into the hall he meets Banquo. Nothing is said but a look passes between the two; a moment of complicity. The director even wrote that [Banquo] is the first person, I think, to suspect the truth about the murder of Duncan, but he says nothing. Why?.... I think his silence about the Witches is mostly on account of his own interest in the future of the Crown.... I don't think that it is possible to believe that he remains silent only out of friendship for Macbeth; & if it is fear that prevents him from telling the truth, & he is completely honest, then he could leave the country. Of course he is not a villain but is not a simple honest man either. He has his own particular form of ambition." Sources: www.delawaretheatre.com www.learn.co.uk Letts Explore: Macbeth ...read more.

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