Character Analysis Banquo


Banquo's role in the original source for Macbeth was as Macbeth's co-conspirator. In Shakespeare's play, he is depicted instead as Macbeth's rival; the role of fellow plotter passed to Lady Macbeth. Like Macbeth, Banquo is open to human yearnings and desires: He is, for example, just as keen to hear what the Witches have in store for him in Act I, Scene 3. He is kept from sleep by his dreams of the Witches (Act II, Scene 1). And in his soliloquy at the start of Act III, Scene 1 — "Thou hast it now . . . " — there is more than a hint of resentment and, possibly, of the same naked ambition that leads Macbeth astray. Nevertheless, Banquo is a sympathetic figure for several reasons. First, he is ignorant of what the audience knows concerning the murder of the king and of his own impending doom. Second, he is a father whose relationship with his son is clearly an affectionate one.