13 Facts About Banquo


In Chronicles Banquo is an accomplice to Macbeth in the murder of the king, rather than a loyal subject of the king who is seen as an enemy by Macbeth.

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Holinshed portrays Banquo as an historical figure, who is an accomplice in the murder by Mac Bethad mac Findlaich of Donnchad mac Crinain (King Duncan) and plays an important part in ensuring that Macbeth, not Mael Coluim mac Donnchada (Malcolm), takes the throne in the coup that follows.

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Why Shakespeare's Banquo is so different from the character described by Holinshed and Boece is not known, though critics have proposed several possible explanations.

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Banquo is in a third of the play's scenes, as both a human and a ghost.

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Banquo remains sceptical after the encounter, wondering aloud if evil can ever speak the truth.

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Banquo warns Macbeth that evil will offer men a small, hopeful truth only to catch them in a deadly trap.

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Banquo offers his respects to the new King Macbeth and pledges loyalty.

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Banquo appears again to Macbeth in a vision granted by the Three Witches, wherein Macbeth sees a long line of kings descended from Banquo.

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Whereas Macbeth places his hope in the prediction that he will be king, Banquo argues that evil only offers gifts that lead to destruction.

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Banquo steadily resists the temptations of evil within the play, praying to heaven for help, while Macbeth seeks darkness, and prays that evil powers will aid him.

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Scholars have interpreted this to mean that Banquo has been dreaming of murdering the king as Macbeth's accomplice to take the throne for his own family, as the Three Witches prophesied to him.

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Several performances of the play have even ignored the stage direction to have the Ghost of Banquo enter at all, heightening the sense that Macbeth is growing mad, since the audience cannot see what he claims to see.

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In Roman Polanski's 1971 adaptation, Banquo is played by acclaimed stage actor Martin Shaw, in a style reminiscent of earlier stage performances.

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