In William Shakespeare's, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth is a noble warrior who had to kill the king, Duncan, in order to take the crown due to prophecies he was told by the witches. After the murder many people were suspicious of Macbeth including his friend Banquo. Macbeth knows the prophecy of Banquo as well, he shall be father of kings, and since Macbeth is king he has to do something about that. He hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. The audience is supposed to accept Banquo's ghost as a fantasy representing Macbeth's guilty conscience.
i. 1-3). At this point, despite the fact that Banquo knows Macbeth had a part in the murder of Duncan, his loyalty remains with Macbeth as he accepts the invitation to the formal banquet graciously. Banquo truly displays his wit as he is the only character that comprehends Macbeth’s foul actions. In addition, Banquo does not have a reason to be paranoid, as he did not attempt to murder the king in order to complete the prophecy foretelling that his offspring would be royalty.
To further emphasize, the ghost, which Macbeth fears, is not of Duncan but instead, it is of Banquo. This shows Banquo’s significance in Macbeth as it demonstrates Banquo’s greater impact to Macbeth compared to Duncan. Duncan was his king, whom Macbeth was loyal to at the beginning, however, he betrayed him by murdering him to get the crown. On the other hand, Banquo was his partner in hardship, whom Macbeth trusted and was close to. Similarly, he sent murderers to kill him as he was fearful of the loss of his kingship.
First is the prophecy that the three witches proclaim to him and Banquo in the forest. This occasion is what starts the entire debate of possessing power or not through violence. Next is Lady Macbeth for the reason that she is thinking of the benefits being the queen will have. Lastly, Macbeth’s own ambition of gaining power and seeking the love he does not wish to be lost from his wife compels him to accomplish the cowardly act of murdering King Duncan while he is asleep. So far, Shakespeare wanted the audience to not necessarily villainize Macbeth, but see him in a bad
/So all hail Macbeth and Banquo.” Banquo doubts them, and the prophecy is fulfilled regardless of his inaction (1.3.65-66). The prophecies that tempt Macbeth into violence are not self-fulfilling, as the example of Banquo shows. The ideas for murder all come from Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth plans the killing of Duncan, “Only look up clear; / To alter favour ever is to fear. / Leave all the rest to me”, and urges her husband to kill him, Macbeth is unable to resist (1.6.71-73).
However, the fourth apparition with Banquo strips away all this confidence. The endless line of Banquo’s descendants is torturing to Macbeth as “thy crown does sear mine eyeballs”, he can almost feel the pain as Macbeth is forced to come to terms with the inheritance of the throne. In doing so, the guilt of killing Banquo returns to him as he notices that Banquo is “blood-bolstered” but still he “smiles”. The matting of blood in Banquo’s hair and the presence of his eight heirs creates a horrific, haunting image mocking the stability of Macbeth’s throne. However, despite Macbeth’s initial feelings of dejection and the “pernicious” effect of the apparition he continues to pursue his plans and descend further into evil.
Banquo hears he will be lesser than Macbeth, but greater, that his line should be happier than him; “That thou shalt get kings though thou be none/ So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! (I. iii. 69-70).” They leave after they encounter the witches to meet with the king. A few moments later Macbeth discovers that he has become the Thane of Cawdor. Thereby planting ideas in Macbeth’s head of what he can do to ensure his reign.
Macbeth, easily controlled by his ambitions, loses his noble and heroic title in fear of losing his power. Unlike Macbeth, Banquo, from the beginning of this encounter, continues to doubt the witches, “I’th’name of truth are ye fantastical, or that indeed which outwardly ye show?” (1.3.51-52) Banquo didn’t believe what the witches were saying, he questions their intentions and accuses them of raising Macbeth’s hope. Throughout this whole encounter, Banquo continues to protect Macbeth while staying loyal. He never once acted on his prophecies, he simply disregarded what the witches were saying and remained the noble man he is. Even to his death, Banquo has not once acted without honour and
Throughout Act 3, Macbeth has essentially lost all moral direction, reasoning, and self control, thus signifying the escalating eventuality of his demise. Moreover, in Act 3 Scene 4, after Macbeth kills and then hallucinates Banquo, he states to Lady Macbeth ‘I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as to go o’er’. The use of grotesque hyperbole communicates the unnatural occurrences that represent moral corruption, and the symbolism of blood links to Macbeth’s guilt as a stain on his conscience. This also conveys that though Macbeth is aware that his own actions have resulted in the disintegration of his sanity, he remains willing to continue to commit crimes and take immoral action to ensure he maintains power. Macbeth is now enduring the repercussions of his actions, and by attempting to alter the future by murdering Banquo, he has become tormented and anguished, and his guilt has begun permeating every aspect of his life.