Banquo in Macbeth


Banquo is another general in King Duncan's army and Macbeth's best friend. While both men have ambitious thoughts, Banquo is more cautious and does not resort to murder to get what he wants.

Banquo is aware that the Witches' predictions may be tricking Macbeth into evil actions and is the first to suspect Macbeth of murder. He dies while protecting his son, Fleance, and comes back as a ghost to haunt Macbeth.

Banquo, featuring labels that highlight him as questioning and noble
How is Banquo like this?EvidenceAnalysis
NobleBanquo is in many ways Macbeth's opposite. He is kind and caring, loyal and trustworthy. Like Macbeth he fights bravely for King Duncan but does not involve himself with the murder plot. When he and Fleance are attacked his first thought is to keep his son safe. Banquo displays all the character traits that go to make up someone who would be regarded as a truly noble person.Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be feared. 'Tis much he dares, / And to that dauntless temper of his mind, / He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour / To act in safety. There is none but he / Whose being I do fear. (Act 3 Scene 1)Macbeth considers what it is about Banquo that gives him cause for concern. He states that Banquo has a 'royalty of nature' or nobility about him which actually makes Macbeth afraid of him. He also acknowledges that Banquo has 'valour' (bravery) and 'wisdom' without feeling the need to take unnecessary risks.
QuestioningBanquo seems far less ready to believe the Witches than Macbeth and is suspicious of their motives. He realises that the things they predict/suggest may cause his friend to come to harm. Although, like Macbeth, he is ambitious, he thinks more carefully about the consequences of any action.That, trusted home, / Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, / Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange, / And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, / The instruments of darkness tell us truths; / Win us with honest trifles, to betray's / In deepest consequence. (Act 1 Scene 3) Having listened to the Witches' predictions, Banquo recognises that Macbeth has been given the spark that will have lit up his ambitious streak ('enkindle'). He also realises that the predictions are temptations which only reveal part of the truth ('honest trifles'). This is in order to set a trap for something of greater significance ('to betray's in deepest consequence').