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banquo in macbeth

By shuixianshijie Oct 12, 2014 431 Words
Many scholars see Banquo as a foil and a contrast to Macbeth. Macbeth, for example, eagerly accepts the Three Witches' prophecy as true and seeks to help it along. Banquo, on the other hand, doubts the prophecies and the intentions of these seemingly evil creatures. Whereas Macbeth places his hope in the prediction that he will be king, Banquo argues that evil only offers gifts that lead to destruction. 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. This is visible in act two; after Banquo sees Duncan to bed, he says: "There's husbandry in heaven, / Their candles are all out".[14] This premonition of the coming darkness in association with Macbeth's murders is repeated just before Banquo is killed: "it will be rain to-night",[15] Banquo tells his son Fleance.[16] Banquo's status as a contrast to Macbeth makes for some tense moments in the play. In act two, scene one, Banquo meets his son Fleance and asks him to take both his sword and his dagger ("Hold, take my sword ... Take thee that too"[14]). He also explains that he has been having trouble sleeping due to "cursed thoughts that nature / gives way to in repose!"[17] On Macbeth's approach, he demands the sword returned to him quickly. Scholars have interpreted this to mean that Banquo has been dreaming of murdering the king as Macbeth's accomplice in order to take the throne for his own family, as the Three Witches prophesied to him. In this reading, his good nature is so revolted by these thoughts that he gives his sword and dagger to Fleance to be sure they do not come true, but is so nervous at Macbeth's approach that he demands them back.[18] Other scholars have responded that Banquo's dreams have less to do with killing the king and more to do with Macbeth. They argue that Banquo is merely setting aside his sword for the night. Then, when Macbeth approaches, Banquo, having had dreams about Macbeth's deeds, takes back his sword as a precaution in this case.[19] Macbeth eventually sees that Banquo can no longer be trusted to aid him in his evil, and considers his friend a threat to his newly acquired throne. Thus he has him murdered.[2] Banquo's ability to live on in different ways is another oppositional force, in this case to Macbeth's impending death. His spirit lives on in Fleance, his son, and in his ghostly presence at the banquet.[20]

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