Banquo is a brave, noble general like Macbeth. Early in the play, he is commended by Duncan for his bravery in leading his army against invaders. He is with Macbeth when they meet the witches whose prophecies claim his children will inherit the throne. Unlike Macbeth, he does not become consumed by the prophecies. He actually is a bit skeptical as he views the witches as evil and wonders if they could speak the truth. In Act 1 Scene 3 he even warns Macbeth that evil will offer men a small, hopeful truth only in order to catch them in a deadly trap. Unlike Macbeth, he chooses not to take action to see that his claimed destiny is fulfilled. He resists the evil temptations. After Macbeth kills the King, Banquo is unsure of Macbeth’s involvement but doesn’t say anything. He even pledges his loyalty to the new King Macbeth. However, Banquo is viewed as a threat by Macbeth as he worries Banquo’s descendants and not his own will come to rule Scotland and he grows suspicious that Banquo could blame him for Duncan’s death. Therefore, Macbeth hires assassins to kill Banquo and his son. Banquo is killed but his son does escape. While Banquo no longer seems a threat to Macbeth, he actually is as he appears to Macbeth as a ghost. The ghost of Banquo weighs heavy on Macbeth’s conscience. The ghost of Banquo is a reminder to Macbeth of the violent choices he made to secure the witches prophecies on his future.
Analysis by Brendan Blees