Consider the nature and significance of the relationship
The relationship between Macbeth and Banquo is a short one but never the less is still an important one. When we first meet Macbeth and Banquo we see their friendship in full strength although during the play we see their relationship drastically change.
The first time we meet Macbeth in the play he is with Banquo, and the two have come back from battling and we can see that they are both good friends. We know that the two had been battling bravely together, from the reports given by captain in act 1 scene 2, “So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.” When we first meet them, it is at the time of hearing their prophecies from the witches, their reactions to the witches differ somewhat, and this shows their different characters, and it also shows how well they know each other,
“Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear things that do sound so fair” this shows that the two share things between each other, and that their open as Banquo can detect Macbeth’s shock on hearing the news that he will one day be king.
Whilst Macbeth is shocked and alarmed from hearing his prophecies, Banquo on the other hand is interested, and wants to know more, “Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favours nor your hate.”
On hearing that Macbeth is now Thane of Cawdor, we immediately start to see Macbeth and Banquo’s relationship change. Banquo is still open with Macbeth, and warns him that the witches predictions may lead to evil.
“The instruments of darkness tell us truths;
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.”
Where as we start to see Macbeth using asides, and instead of being open to Banquo Macbeth is being secretive, and does not want Banquo to know his thoughts.
Just before Macbeth is going to kill the king, we still see signs of Banquo’s loyalty and openness, as he tells Macbeth of his bad dreams involving the witches,
“I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters;
To you they have showed some truth.”
And in reply to this Macbeth lies to Banquo with, “I think not of them.” This shows how much the prophecies have changed Macbeth, he is now thinking of evil thoughts, and is lying to someone who was once his good friend. Banquo is obviously troubled, and the witches are on his mind, this show signs of Banquo’s realization. In act3 scene 1, we finally see that Banquo has himself realized the situation between the two of them. It is Banquo’s first soliloquy, showing that Banquo himself is being secretive from Macbeth, he also states that Macbeth and his friendship, has turned to rivalry.
“But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings, If there come truth from them-
As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine-”
Also the line “Thou has play’st most foully for’t” also suggests that Banquo knows that Macbeth was behind Duncan’s murder.
In Act 3 scene 1, we see Macbeth and Banquo’s relationship turn to betrayal, and jealousy. Macbeth is jealous of Banquo, as he was told by the witches “Thou shall get kings, though thou be none”, which means Banquo’s descendants will become king, of coarse Macbeth is unsettled by this because he wants his own descendants to become king, “To be thus is nothing, But to be safely thus.” Not only is Macbeth now jealous of Banquo, but he also sees him as a threat, and is frightened of Banquo,
“There is none but he,
Whose being I do fear; and under him
My genius is rebuked, as it is said
Mark Antony’s was by Caesar”
Macbeth sees Banquo as a threat, not only for his children becoming future kings, but also for the fact that Banquo is the only other person (except Lady Macbeth) who knows about the witches prophecies. Ultimately, Macbeth decides to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. We now see Macbeth’s character change further. This time it is not he who does the murder, but paid Murderers, and this time he is doing all the plotting, not Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is also losing his openness with his wife, as she does not even know about Macbeth’s plans.
When Macbeth is having his Banquet in Act 3 scene 4, Banquo’s ghost appears in Macbeth’s seating place, this obviously disturbs Macbeth, and the fact that he is seeing the ghost proves that. This also proves that Banquo’s murder is on his mind, and his seeing the ghost further proves Macbeth’s change in character, he is starting to go insane, and he is making a mockery of himself upon important people. Which in tern makes them think twice about Macbeth.
Macbeth and Banquo’s relationship in the play is important, as it shows the differences between the two of them. Banquo is seen as a loyal, true person, and we see Macbeth turn from being seen as a hero, to seen as a traitor. The relationship is important also, because the two of them at the start of the play are of the same rank and position, but it all changes when ambition gets in the way, and the witches change everything for Macbeth.