In Act 1 Scene 3 and elsewhere in the play, Macbeth is presented as being; smart, greedy, evil, mysterious, and overly ambitious. Banquo is also presented as; under-appreciated, reliable, calm, and brave. However after Macbeth’s predictions he starts getting curious and jealous. In the paragraphs that follow I have shown examples of both characters Macbeth and Banquo and how they change in their own individual way.
For example Banquo becomes cautious of Macbeth and Macbeth feels that power is the only thing he needs and this is shown by Macbeth not caring about the death of his wife. Throughout the Play “Macbeth” Macbeth is shown to an audience to be greedy and self obsessed, this is shown in Banquo soliloquy by stating “Thou Played’st most foully for’t” this quote presents that Macbeth needed to do whatever was need to inherit his titles. However the real Macbeth was a very different person has was very loyal to his king.
Banquo on the other hand was a very trustworthy person until Macbeth’s predictions come true. He starts to get curious and jealous of Macbeth this is shown in the same soliloquy “Thou Played’st most foully for’t; yet it was said it should not stand in thy posterity,” this quote is an representation of the way Banquo is shown to be jealous and curious this is show by Banquo saying “…My noble partner you greet with present grace and great prediction”. Neither Banquo nor Fleance existed in real life.
They were a legend, however, the king at the time Shakespeare wrote and performed “Macbeth”, king James was descended from the line of Banquo. Some people say Banquo is included in the play to mock King James. Some could say that the witches where to blame for the change of Macbeth and Banquo because if they had never met the witches, they wouldn’t have got their predictions which leads to Macbeth turning greedy and Banquo change to be cautious and jealous. In the Polanski version of the play whenever the witches are introduce the weather changes.
When the witches vanish after giving Macbeth and Banquo their predictions, they both confer about what they have just been told, this is where Banquo states ‘Where such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root, that takes the reason prisoner? ’ this quotation can be split up into three different sections, first being ‘where such things’ this key word in this section is ‘things’ because it symbolises the witches, also it shows disrespect to the witches, furthermore it links to the supernatural (devil, hell, (not human)).
The second section being, ‘eaten on the insane root’ the use of language in this section could symbolise The Garden Of Eden by suggesting the ‘insane root’ represents the apple what Eve eats. The ‘root’ could also represent an illusion and a link with the supernatural, ‘All is not what it seems’, additionally the ‘root’ could be used as dramatic irony by foreshowing Lady Macbeth tempting Macbeth to do terrible things. The dramatic use of the language ‘insane’ is used to emphasise possible madness of the event.
Finally the third section being ‘reason prisoner’ this key word in this section being ‘reason’ this predicts that Macbeth will lose mind to temptation and ambition whereas Banquo shows an element of control. The word reason links with the mind because is we lose our minds we lose our rationality, this again emphasises the madness of the event. Meanwhile in Act 1 Scene 3 of ‘Macbeth’ Banquo is presented to an audience as a curious person by questioning the witches ‘What can the devil speak true? This quote highlights the symbol of the devil that is represented by the witches. This also shows that Banquo is questioning the supernatural, he doesn’t know what to believe because he is surprised and shocked however he wants to keep wary and sceptical by stating ‘That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me,’ whilst Banquo stated this he would have had changed his tone of calm and collected voice to an uptight and questioning voice.
Some might argue that Banquo is experiencing a moment of madness by undergoing corrupted thoughts towards his ambitions (such as Macbeth). Also Banquo states in the discussion between Macbeth and him about the predictions, ‘The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them. Whither are they vanish’d’ this quotation suggests the ‘bubbles’ is a sign of distress between Macbeth and Banquo whereas before they where calm and now Macbeth is losing his insanity slowly but surely.
Some could say the ‘water’ is a link to religion, the water represents holy water washing away sins, this is shown with the witches contrast and stirring devilish trouble. The ‘water’ foreshadows Macbeth by being unable to wash the blood off his hands after murdering Duncan. This is show in Act 1 Scene 3 also this is show in the Roman Polanski version buy the first screen shot showing the ground dark and the sky bright blue with a few clouds, this could represent heaven and hell because the “bubbles” represent hell and darkness.
Furthermore, Banquo appears to an audience as a noble and courageous person, however with the witches his character changes to weary and cautious, the quote to show this is ‘ The earth hath bubbles…’ this quote highlights Banquo’s reluctance to the witches and the concept of the super natural. The language is rather mellow and promotes Banquo’s cautious tone. The quote could represent the growing presence of the supernatural, causing the earth to ‘hath bubbles’.
The use of imagery in this quotation helps to produce an unstable image of hell coming to the surface to cause disruption. The ‘bubbles’ could represent the inevitable ups and downs that occur throughout the play. Whereas in the film adaptation by Roman Polanski, we are presented with Banquo who demonstrates both cautious yet tempted characteristics, an audience can see this when Banquo says to the witches ‘My noble partner you greet present grace… to me you speak not’ this shows that Banquo is feeling set aside in comparison to what Macbeth receives.
An audience can begin to notice underlying characteristics of jealousy and temptation. The film also highlights the changing facial expressions of Banquo altering from pride (battle), to that of confusion. Throughout Act 3 Scene 1, an audience can see a change in Banquo’s attitudes and viewpoints towards Macbeth. He is presented as a character that becomes jealous and suspicious of how Macbeth has gained his predictions. “…And I fear/thou played’st most foully for’t”.
This Quote presents Banquo to us as highly suspicious about Macbeth’s actions when considering the predictions from Act 1 Scene 3. The dramatic language used is effective because it emphasises the “foul” play. The word “foully” suggests Banquo’s thoughts that Macbeth has committed tyrranic murder to obtain the title of king. On the other hand an audience can notice that Macbeth is already aware of Banquo’s suspicions, hence his decision to commit yet another murder.
Furthermore, by exploring the ways in which Macbeth and Banquo are presented in Act 1 Scene 3 and elsewhere in the play, I can conclude that thought the play Macbeth and Banquo’s characteristics both change under the influence of other people whether it be lady Macbeth persuading Macbeth to murder King Duncan or Banquo getting suspicious over the predictions towards Macbeth. Some could argue the story of the play consists of greed, power and ambition because throughout Macbeth’s character, he for fills these characteristics shown throughout the play on his way to become King.