Shakespeare in Macbeth has drawn Banquo as someone who is noble and is a man who obeyed orders and possessed unwavering loyalty towards those he acknowledges. Although he is ambitious in nature but like Macbeth he does not bring those corrupt thoughts to light. Banquo, like Macbeth is a brave general even the hero himself admits Banquo’s bravery and courage on the battlefield “… tis much he dares, And to that dauntless temper of his mind He hath wisdom that doth guide his valour To act in safety”.
At the very beginning of the play we find Macbeth and Banquo returning from a battle and are received by very ambitious prophecies from the three weird sisters. Unlike Macbeth Banquo takes his predictions half- heartedly and even cautions Macbeth from blindly trusting the three witches. Banquo being the wise individual reacts differently to the prophecies, Macbeth considers murdering the noble king of Scotland, Duncan while the latter calmly ignores such urges.
Banquo in the play represents virtue and honour. King Duncan gives greater appreciation to Macbeth’s performance in the battle than Banquo yet he is not at all envious. He praises Macbeth which evokes admiration in King Duncan ” True worthy Banquo: he is full so valiant, And in his commendation I am fed, It is a banquet to me.” On his arrival at Macbeth’s castle Banquo praises the wholesome atmosphere of the castle, which shows him to be a thorough gentleman without any suspicion of evil. Banquo is unsuspecting in nature. Even when the murderers had surrounded him, he doesn’t suspect the danger hovering on him.
Banquo has been accused of being careless and not prudent enough to take timely action. This character trait in him led him to his untimely death. Banquo suspects Macbeth, but he is not prudent enough to take steps to protect himself. Banquo inspite of being a trusted general, ignored Macbeth’s heinous crime against his king, Duncan.
Banquo has an obvious dramatic purpose to fulfil in his relation to the character of Macbeth and the main theme of the play. But he is carefully kept in a subordinate position. His dramatic purpose is to form a foil, and at the same time, a parallel illustration to Macbeth’s temptation.