Shakespeare: Banquo’s Letter

I have left you this letter to help to protect you. As you know from reading this letter, I am no longer in this world. Remember please that I love you, and I am trying to protect you with this letter, so read it with great care.

You should know that Macbeth and I were very close friends, but we drifted apart after our victory against Norway.

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It started on the battlefield after the war, we met three witches. I am not a superstitious man, but Macbeth is, and because I knew this I thought that he might believe what they said. They said “all hail, Macbeth, Thane of Glamis”, after the battle he already had that title, so that made sense. But then they said “all hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor” and “all hail Macbeth, who shalt be king hereafter”. This puzzled me because me because Macbeth only had the first title, and he couldn’t have any of the others because Duncan and the Thane of Cawdor were still alive.

Not long after our meeting with the witches, Rosse and Angus arrived and told us the news. The captain had called Macbeth brave, and said that Macbeth should have that title. Macbeth was to be Thane of Cawdor as the last Thane was trusted by the king, but was executed for he had a traitor’s title. Macbeth was puzzled at first, for he thought that the Thane still lived, Then, once we had heard that he was a traitor, I saw a gleam in Macbeth’s eyes. I knew that he was taking the witches prophecies seriously. He said that he would become king, because the first two prophecies of the witches came true so he believed that the last would also come true. I knew then to be careful of Macbeth, for if he did become king then he would be suspicious of me, because the witches also said that my sons would become king after Macbeth.

Poor foolish Duncan trusted Macbeth, and Macbeth was loyal to Duncan, for a while. Duncan trusted Macbeth so much, it was if he were his own son. Later on Macbeth turned on Duncan, because Macbeth wanted to be king,

The night that Duncan went to Macbeth’s castle, I was worried. I was worried because I thought that Macbeth might thing about the witches, and their prophecies. I tried to warn him not to let the traitor’s title (Thane of Cawdor) take over him, I didn’t want him to take the title traitor. When I tried to do so he changed the subject, this made me even more suspicious of him.

In the morning Rosse and Lenox discovered our loving and loyal king Duncan dead. I had total them to go early to check up on Macbeth, for I was concerned for the kings safety. By the time they had arrived it was too late. When I saw them again it was before I met with you. They told me that the guards had killed Duncan, and Macbeth had killed the guards. They said that Macbeth had acted very strangely when Duncan’s body was found. Lenox said that Macbeth cried ‘I do repent me of my fury that I did kill them’.

Macbeth said that he killed the guards because his love for the king was so strong, that the king’s death caused him to kill those who betrayed his beloved king. He also addressed the sons about their father’s death by: firstly how great and noble he was, and secondly by saying that he was stabbed several times, and at last saying how Duncan’s murder drove him to kill the guards. I think he was lying, the guards didn’t kill Duncan, Macbeth did. He framed the guards for Duncan’s murder, and then killed the guards so they couldn’t argue with Macbeth’s word.

Fleance, after reading this letter you must destroy it immediately. You must never go anywhere alone, Macduff is the only person you can trust. You can trust Macduff because he is true to the rightful king. Whenever Macbeth does anything, like banquets, then he stays away. This shows that he believes what I am saying, and so should you.

By now Macbeth will be looking for you, so be aware of this new danger. I shall leave this world with a thought of you in my mind. Follow my words carefully Fleance, as you read earlier my sons shall be king, as the witches prophesised. Be careful of the witches word Fleance, do not take then too seriously.

Remember Fleance, those who live by the sword die by the sword.

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Shakespeare: Banquo’s Letter. (2017, Oct 13). Retrieved from