• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is the importance of Banquo in Shakespeare's play Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...


What is the importance of Banquo in the Shakespeare's play Macbeth? Banquo is an important character in the play Macbeth. He plays a person of integrity, honour and a man who has high morals to uphold. Although Banquo may appear a minor character in the play as he dies early through the plot, he plays an influential part throughout the rest of the story. Some might say that when Banquo dies, he plays the part of Macbeth's conscience. William Shakespeare wrote this play for King James I in 1606. William wrote this play for James I because he knew that he would be very interested and amused by the play. James I was interested in witchcraft and killed more "witches" than any other king. The play Macbeth is deemed unlucky because the spells in the story are true. They were taken from a book called 'Demonology' which was written by King James I. The character Banquo was based on a supposed descendant of James I, but all of his qualities are based on James. At the beginning of the story, Banquo is seen as an equal to Macbeth, both valiant warriors and both honourable, courageous Thanes. ...read more.


At first he is not in favour of doing the deed to someone so honourable as King Duncan, but Lady Macbeth convinces him it is the right thing to do if he is to fulfil his ambitions. Once he kills Duncan, he frames the guards outside Duncan's quarters, and he even kills them himself in front of everyone to make the illusion that he is innocent. This shows he will even risk lives of other people to cover himself up. When all of the people find out about Duncan's death, Banquo's suspicion grows even stronger, how can the witches speak true? Banquo's suspicion is shown in the following quote "Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all what the weird women promis'd; and I fear, Thou play'dst most foully for't" This quote shows that Banquo is now suspicious of Macbeth, suspicious that the prophecies have not come true on their own, the have accumulated with the help of Macbeth. Even though Banquo knows about the witches, he doesn't tell anybody. There could be a number of reasons for this, one would be he is afraid of association with the witches, and if he told anyone, they may think he is crazy. ...read more.


This sends Macbeth into hysterics, he seems overcome by the sight of Banquo, but is it really Banquo? Or Macbeth's guilty conscience? Towards the end of the story, Macbeth finds out that there are more prophecies, he cannot be killed by a man born of woman, and his reign will end when the wood of Dunsinane Hill comes towards him. After hearing this Macbeth feels immortal, unbeatable, as he has not looked far enough into the prophecies, this will bring the end of him. Firstly Macduff arrives to bring his reign to an end, as a shield, his army cut down the trees of Dunsinane and used them as a disguise. When Macbeth saw this, he froze, the prophecies were once again correct, his reign will end when Dunsisnane comes to him. But never the less, Macbeth is prepared to defend himself. In the final fight scene, Macbeth fights with Macduff, feeling immortal to the prophecies, he does not realise how Macduff was born. He was born of caesarean, and not born of woman. Now knowing this, Macbeth's ambitions are destroyed, and he is killed by Macduff. The major part of this is that Banquo has the 'last laugh' as he is presented as the hero whilst Macbeth is shown as the villainous man he was. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This writer has referred to the text in some detail and has put quotes in context. At times they have commented on language but I would have liked more of this.

Marked by teacher Paul Dutton 20/03/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How far can the audience sympathise with Lady Macbeth?

    4 star(s)

    been from his youth...the fit is momentary; upon a thought he will again be well." She remains totally calm and in control during the scene - again showing us how much power she has over her own emotions, or indeed suggesting whther she has any emotions at all.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    In what ways does Shakespeare make the Banqueting scene dramatic?

    3 star(s)

    to create sympathy for Macbeth and tries to put across a message. As we learn that Macbeth's does not have a strong character, we find out he is easily led into things. His weak character guides him to mischief. Macbeth did not want to kill these people; however, his ambition to become king had grown.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Characters of Macbeth and Banquo

    He shows a more restrained and thoughtful character, ' Win us honest trifles, to betray's / In deepest consequence. ' Macbeth lies to cover up his thoughts, plans and actions, for example when Macbeth is planning the murder of Duncan and is having second thoughts about it, Lady Macbeth tell

  2. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    a lot more respect for Lady Macbeth who seems to control Macbeth unlike Lady Macduff who is completely unaware of her husbands actions and whereabouts. Finally a modern audience would probably be able to identify with Lady Macbeth more as she is a strong and confident woman who has a

  1. Deception in Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth implies that Macbeth is being cowardly by not going after what he wants. She preys upon her husband's pride to remind him of his ambitions. Once she has schooled her husband in the art of deception, she must help him uphold this image and the lies.

  2. Macbeth: Hero or Villain?

    Macbeth writes ahead to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her all that has happened. Macbeth did not know the effects that ambition would bring to him who lacks strength of character. I classify Macbeth as evil, but his weak character separates him from Shakespeare's great villains- Iago in Othello, Richard

  1. Compare and contrast Banquo and Macbeth looking particularly at the first meeting with the ...

    Macbeth says that "the greatest is behind", meaning that all he has to achieve now is to become king. He makes another mention of Banquo's children being kings and the idea seems to affect him. By this point Macbeth and Banquo's relationship has changed, as at first they were very

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    ?Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear. Things that do sound so fair?? This suggests that the witches? revelation was of Macbeth?s innermost thoughts, his dark hidden desire to become King. However, unlike Macbeth, Banquo sees no reason to fear the witches, indicating a strong sense of integrity and justice in him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work