Banquo s Killer

May 15, 2010 by Post Team 

Banquo s KillerBanquo s Killer:Banquo is a character in William Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth. Banquo is at first an ally to Macbeth, his co-captain in the battle against the rebels, and they are together when they meet the Three Witches. After prophesying that Macbeth will become king, the witches tell Banquo that he will not be king himself, but that his descendants will be. Later, Macbeth sees Banquo as a threat to his lust for power and has him murdered; Banquo‘s son Fleance escapes. Banquo‘s ghost returns in a later scene, causing Macbeth to react with alarm.

Shakespeare borrowed the character of Banquo from Holinshed’s Chronicles, a history of Britain published by Raphael Holinshed in 1587. In Chronicles Banquo is an accomplice to Macbeth in the murder of the king, rather than a loyal subject of the king who is seen as an enemy by Macbeth. Shakespeare may have changed this aspect of his character in order to please King James I, who was said to be a descendant of the real Banquo.

Banquo is often interpreted as a foil and a contrast to Macbeth, resisting evil where Macbeth embraces it. His motives are unclear and some critics question his purity. He does nothing to accuse Macbeth of murdering the king, even though he has reason to believe Macbeth is responsible. This can be interpreted as Banquo being a silent accomplice to Macbeth’s early crimes. Banquo also tells his son at one point that he is having dark dreams, leading some scholars to wonder whether he has dreamed of killing Macbeth in order to take the throne and fulfill the Witches’ prophecy.

The character has been played by a variety of actors on the stage and on film, including Canada Lee, Minoru Chiaki, and Martin Shaw. Performances of the play on film and television have used a variety of means to portray his role as a ghost, taking advantage of camera tricks and special effects to heighten the supernatural feel of the play.


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