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Similarities And Differences Between Macbeth And Banquo English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1140 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The main character in this play is Macbeth. In act 1 scene ii we find out that Macbeth is a great warrior. The scene starts off with a battle against the king and Macbeth. With Macbeth's strength and wise judgment he won the battle. As described by the captain (I, 2, "but all's too weak"). Macbeth was a really brave nobleman and a Scottish general in the king's army which deserves the name,

Disdaining Fortune, with his

brandish'd steel,

Which smok'd with bloody execution,

Like Valor's minion carv'd out his passage

Till he faced the slave; Which nev'r shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,

Till he unseam'd him from the nave to th' chops,

And fix'd his head upon our battlements (I.i.15-23).

From this we can tell that Macbeth fought bravely against Macdonald's army and that he can handle a sword like it was an extension of his own body.

Banquo is another character in the play Macbeth. He was a friend to Macbeth at first. Banquo lead Duncan's army fighting side by side with Macbeth. On their way back they encounter three witches. The witches stated that Macbeth will be king and Banquo will never be king but he will construct a line of kings. The only way to make sure that Macbeth could be king of Scotland is to kill the king himself. Immediately Macbeth informed his wife (Lady Macbeth) about the witches. She then persuaded him and accused him of being a coward if he doesn't kill the king (Duncan). Macbeth might have backed down if Lady Macbeth didn't convince him. Although he knew it was all wrong from the beginning he didn't want his wife to think of him in that way, so he accepts to kill Duncan. Even though he accepts to kill the king, Macbeth does care about morality and religions. He demonstrated in his soliloquy (I, IV, 12-28) where he lists the three reasons why he should not kill Duncan: he is "his kinsman," "his subject" and "his host." Macbeth adds that "Duncan hath born his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels".

They didn't know how to kill Duncan until he arranged a visit to the castle which was a great sign. So they came up with a plan which was to drug the groom's drinks so that it would make them sleep heavy so Macbeth could kill Duncan with a dagger and put it next to the grooms.

After the king's death, Macbeth regretted what he had done and with all the hesitation he also killed the drunken guards. This shows that Macbeth is plagued by a guilty conscience.

Methought, I heard a voice cry, 'Sleep no


Macbeth doth murther Sleep,' --the innocent Sleep,

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care . . .

Still it cried 'Sleep no more!' to all the


'Glamis hath murther'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor

Shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more!'(II.II.32-41).

Already being king, Macbeth couldn't sleep easily and feared Banquo because he knows what the witches prophesied and he felt that Banquo was a threat to him in his future as a king. At that moment Macbeth was terrified and will do anything to keep what he has. As of now, Macbeth becomes a cold-blooded killer so he hires three murderers to kill Banquo and his children. After a couple of days Banquo was found dead but his son Fleance managed to escape.

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After the death of Banquo lady Macbeth and Macbeth arranged a banquet and invited all the highest people in the country at that time. The feast was going well till Banquo's ghost appeared. Macbeth went crazy because he was the only one that could see the ghost. Everyone started to think of who killed Duncan. In the end lady Macbeth proved herself in the scene and committed suicide as of Macbeth, he went to war with Duncan's sons which he lost and was killed.

Many people look at Banquo as the foil of Macbeth. It's true because Macbeth agrees with the three witches' prophecy and helps it along. On the other hand, Banquo doubts the prophecies and views it as evil creatures. Macbeth got excited that he will be king so he aided that idea. Banquo kept on arguing that evil often offers gifts which will lead to betrayal and destruction. He also was praying to heaven for help while Macbeth agrees with the witches' offer of darkness.After Banquo sees Duncan to bed, he says: "There's husbandry in heaven, / their candles are all out" Act II. This premonition of the coming Darkness is repeated just before he is killed: "it will be rain tonight", Banquo tells his son Fleance.

Banquo shows a different reaction to the prophecy. Their reactions are described in their words when they first see the witches. It seems that Macbeth takes them more seriously. Banquo keeps his morals, but ends up being killed. He is brave and ambitious, but this is tempered by intelligence. He is one of Macbeth's best friends, but after what they encounter Macbeth fears Banquo because it was prophesied that Banquo's offspring would be kings.

At the beginning Macbeth and Banquo seem equal. Both are generals in Duncan's army, both have done good service in the wars against Norway and were gifted by Duncan for this. Of course both have an interest in the witches' prophecy on the other hand Macbeth may be king but Banquo will be the one to produce a line of kings. This creates a spark and will obviously cause envy and jealousy between them, one for immediate success and one for long-term gain.

Even beyond the grave Banquo continues to work for the truth, returning as an unforgiving ghost to haunt Macbeth's conscience and force him to admit what he has done.

The major change that their relationship went throughout play was from the death of Banquo to the beginning. The friendship of Macbeth and Banquo was crushed by their strong differences but they had similarities at fist which made them close enough. One may say that many of their characteristics life affected their outcomes.

In my opinion Banquo thinks ambitious thoughts, but he does not translate those thoughts into action. In a way, Banquo's character stands as an opposite of Macbeth, since he tried to lead him in the right path but Macbeth didn't take it. Banquo has been a loyal friend and to his king. I liked the fact that Banquo's ghost appeared instead of the king. I really enjoyed reading the play which taught me a lot of things. I hope my research was good enough to compare and contrast between Macbeth and Banquo.

This research is about the similarities and differences between Macbeth and Banquo. At the begging they seem equal till they encounter three witches which flips the play upside down. It all starts with friendship and ends up with betrayal and death.


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