Banquo is an important character and plot device in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” as an obstacle to Macbeth’s rise in power; his early death and the later appearance of his ghost is give way for Macbeth’s loss of moral perspective. Banquo’s character emphasises the darkness of Macbeth’s by illustrating the contrast between them and mirroring Macbeth and thereby highlighting his flaws for example in Act 2.1 where Banquo discusses his suspicions regarding the witches to Macbeth, while the latter lies about his. This contrast of character emphasises the theme of good and evil that runs throughout the play in a way that is accessible allowing it to be performed in different settings, such as Roman Polanski’s 1971 classic version of “Macbeth” and the Rupert Goold’s modern take on it in 2010.
In 2.1, Banquo tells his son, Fleance that “a heavy summons lies like lead upon (him)”. This confidence in his son illustrates they have a strong and loving relationship. In Goold’s adaptation, when Banquo asks, “How goes the night boy?” he sits the table with his son, which illustrates the familiarity of their relationship. Although affectionate gestures are absent in Polanski’s version, Banquo shows Fleance a protectiveness, illustrated when Macbeth approaches the two and Banquo steps between the former and Fleance, as if he is defending Fleance from Macbeth. The dim lighting around Macbeth emphasises this by reflecting Banquo's suspicion of Macbeth's evil intentions. Banquo’s protectiveness is also demonstrated in the Goold version. He curtly dismisses Macbeth, saying “At your kind’st leisure” as he calls Fleance away from Macbeth when he tries to sit next to his son, suggesting he is scared Macbeth will hurt him.
Banquo’s protectiveness illustrates his suspicion of Macbeth, in both films he looks closely at Macbeth’s face saying, “I dreamt last night of the three weïrd sisters”; initially this seems naïve, however in both films Banquo’s focus on Macbeth’s face suggests he is...
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