Character Sketch of Banquo in Macbeth

Initially, Banquo is a brave and noble friend of Macbeth. He is an equally brave soldier as they valiantly fought together in the battle against Norway. While greeting them after the battle, Duncan acknowledges Banquo’s bravery as no less deserving of praise than Macbeth. However, since the very beginning Banquo has been overshadowed by the accomplishments of Macbeth. The audience get a subtle glance at Banquo’s own desires and ambition. He too asks the witches for a prophecy and is pleased to learn that his children will someday become the kings of Scotland. But Banquo is smart enough to consider the possibility that the witches might only be tricking them. When the prediction about Macbeth becoming Thane of Cawdor comes true, both Macbeth and Banquo are surprised. Macbeth is too pleased with the news and begins contemplating about the second prophecy of him becoming king. However, Banquo says to Macbeth that

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray
In deepest consequence
.

He means that the witches might be trying to win their trust through small truth only to later betray them in some big way. He implies that just because the Witches told the truth does not mean that they are not evil. Nevertheless, Banquo is suspicious of Macbeth and thinks that Macbeth might have engaged in foul play in order to make the prophecy come true. When the murderers come to kill him, he cries to his son to fly to safety and take revenge for his murder. This shows that he may have faith in the prophecy that his son, Fleance, will someday rule Scotland.

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