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Compare and Contrast the Characters of Macbeth and Banquo

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Compare and Contrast the Characters of Macbeth and Banquo Macbeth and Banquo share many similar characteristics: they are both courageous and valiant leaders on the battlefield, widely respected by the men they and lead and they are both loyal to the King and patriotic to Scotland. Shakespeare introduces the two men through the Captain who describes their courage and heroic performance in the face of the enemy, ' ...Like Valour's minion carved out his passage / Till he faced the slave... ' (Act 1, Scene 2). Macbeth has killed rebels, captured the traitor, obtained the ransom money for his King and negotiated a peace treaty; he is a ruthless yet honourable man with a capacity for humanity. Macbeth and Banquo meet the Weird Sisters, who foretell that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and Glamis, and King of Scotland and that Banquo's descendants will be Kings. When Macbeth finds out he will be Thane of Cawdor his character begins to change, we see the beginning of Macbeth's ambition - the tragic flaw in his personality. ...read more.


' Macbeth lies to Banquo about his thoughts and ambitions and hides this from him. Banquo however, see that Macbeth is taken with the idea of becoming King, ' Look how our partner's rapt. ' Banquo does not want to do anything dishonourable but suspects Macbeth might do something bad to achieve his aim. Banquo conscientiously fights any evil thought he might have, ' Restrain in me... ' demonstrating that Banquo was very aware that something bad was about to happen. He cannot accept this because of his strong sense of what is right and his loyalty towards Duncan, although he does nothing to prevent the tragedy. When Duncan announces Malcolm to be the heir to the throne, Macbeth is angry and disgusted, ' ...Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires... ', and realises that this might prevent him becoming King. Macbeth is very easily manipulated, especially by Lady Macbeth, ' ...When you durst do it, then you were a man... '. Lady Macbeth is accusing him of cowardice and lack of manliness, she plays on Macbeth's pride by saying when he kills Duncan he will become manlier. ...read more.


In his soliloquy in Act 1, scene 7, we hear his inner thought as he struggles with the evil in him. However unlike Banquo, he ignores his inner good voice and goes on to commit murder even though he knows this to be wrong. The idea of upsetting the natural order of humanity was very important in Elizabethan times; as soon as anything bad took place, such as murder, it upset God's will and the way things were meant to be. They believed when this happened God would catch up with them and the murderer would lose everything, be humiliated, and die a horrible death. The Aristotlean Conventions of Tragedy implies for this to be cathartic for the audience: they are to leave the play thing what is both right and wrong. The characters of Macbeth, led astray by his ambition and Banquo, the honourable man provides the contrast between good and evil. Macbeth is a tragic hero; he has the nobility and respectability but has tragic flaw in his character, his ambition, which leads to his downfall. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tom Gunn 05 March 2006 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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