Macbeth, Banquo, and Macduff; Is There a Hero?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 209
  • Published: January 12, 2009
Read full document
Text Preview
William Shakespeare since the year 1590 has been considered one of the best -if not the best- writer in history. His plays touch on the emotions that have warped humans brains since the beginning of our creation. Macbeth, considered to be one of his finer productions, is no exception. In this tragic tale we find our main character so trapped in his own guilt and self pity that he ends up secluding himself from everyone around him, going insane, and eventually getting murdered. Macbeth has gone down in history as a very infamous character in literature, but he isn’t the only one that makes the story worth reading. For example, we have Banquo; vastly considered Macbeth’s contrast. He’s the “good guy” in a sense, but falls victim to Macbeth. We also have Macduff. He’s a very proud, strong, and noble man who has the highest respect for his king and very little for the tyrant Macbeth. We think we know from the beginning who our villain is, but does Macbeth have a hero?

When the audience first meets Macbeth he is joined at the hip with Banquo. Obviously, the two are close, having suffered battle together. But their friendship is tested and ultimately destroyed when the two meet the three witches and have the prophecies put above their heads. Macbeth embraces the witches foreshadowing words but Banquo is less easy to convince. He challenges the witches to predict something for him. They tell him in twisted rhymes that he will be less happy than Macbeth but he will still be the father of kings. Banquo, more or less, laughs the whole thing off, unlike Macbeth, who desperately wants it to be true. Banquo sees this in his friend and doesn’t like it. He begins fearing for Macbeth and at one point even warns him to take heed of the witches words, that it could possible be a trick.

Though Banquo could very much be considered an all around good guy, there’s one thing that has troubled scholars and readers since Macbeth has been around. Banquo is honestly the only one that truly knows the witches prophecies straight from the lips and therefore, when King Duncan is murdered, Banquo has more than a small suspicion that it was Macbeth, yet he does nothing. Does that ultimately make our good guy a coward? Or is he just staying loyal to Macbeth? If it is loyalty, it is lost on Macbeth because as soon as Banquo is out of Macbeth’s sight he hires hit-men to finish his friend off. Even Though Banquo becomes the victim of this tale, before his murder, he was having disturbing dreams about the three witches and was praying to God to give him the strength to resist the witches temptations. Banquo remains stronger than Macbeth, true; but that doesn’t stop the evil of greed from consuming his thoughts just as they consumed his good friend.

With Banquo ultimately out of the picture, Macduff is the other righteous contrast to Macbeth. He’s extremely loyal to King Duncan and is a Scottish noblemen. Macduff has a very acute knowledge of what is right and what is wrong in his book. He considers Macbeth becoming king after Duncan’s death is a suspicious and extremely wrong thing to do and so, in response, heads to England where he begins to build his own army to overthrow King Macbeth. At first, Macduff’s motives are honestly meant for the greater good. He wants Malcom, King Duncan’s son, to be king because he is the rightful heir. But, when Macbeth murders his wife and son, Macduff’s motives only seem to be driven by revenge.

One similarity -and probably the only similarity- between Macduff, Banquo, and Macbeth is their revenge. Macbeth kills Banquo and later Banquo comes back to haunt him. Macduff, not wanting to take part in Macbeth’s tyrant rule, steals away to England to overthrow him. In response, Macbeth kills Macduff’s wife and children. Macduff, anger and resentment running through his veins, is the only person at the end that can send Macbeth to his grave … and send he does. The three of them have many differences; Macbeth is very easily...
tracking img