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cheryl_shell
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Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

Banquo and Macbeth seem to be friends when we first meet them--fellow thanes, fellow warriors. Both are praised for their courage under fire.

The meeting with the weird sisters in scene three changes all that. Their respective fates separate them, turn them against one another in a way that they can barely conceive of in the beginning.

We see them each receiving a prophecy from the witches. Both men respond to the news, yet Macbeth's response--both to his own and to his friend's supposed fate--receives the lion's share of attention.

Yet what of Banquo's response? He's intrigued by the witches' suggestion, yet wary of it. But is there something in his response that indicates he likes the idea? That he's willing to see himself as the begetter of kings?

And is there something in Banquo's response that makes Macbeth wonder about him? That makes him turn against Banquo later?

Can we tell what sort of man Banquo is when we first meet him? How are we supposed to view this character? Is he greater than the would-be king?
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

Banquo is definitely more wary. At first he's not even sure that they were real; but then, he realizes that they are not human.

"What, can the devil speak true?" (1.3.107)
He worries. He maybe be intrigued, but he's cautious. And he warns Macbeth:

"And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence."
(1.3.123-6)
Macbeth is more intrigued by the prophecy than Banquo; he's seduced by it.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Everyman
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"



LizzieAnn wrote:
Banquo is definitely more wary. At first he's not even sure that they were real; but then, he realizes that they are not human.

"What, can the devil speak true?" (1.3.107)

Of course, in this case, the witches did speak true. What they predicted did come to pass.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

But does that mean that they told the future - that they knew what was going to happen. Or, did they cause what happened?



Everyman wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
Banquo is definitely more wary. At first he's not even sure that they were real; but then, he realizes that they are not human.

"What, can the devil speak true?" (1.3.107)

Of course, in this case, the witches did speak true. What they predicted did come to pass.



Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Laurel
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"



Everyman wrote:


LizzieAnn wrote:
Banquo is definitely more wary. At first he's not even sure that they were real; but then, he realizes that they are not human.

"What, can the devil speak true?" (1.3.107)

Of course, in this case, the witches did speak true. What they predicted did come to pass.





That's always the way of devils--to give you some truth at first to egg you on.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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mef6395
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

I agree that Banquo is wary of the witches and their words. But at the same time, he is curious, he wants to know if there's anything in it for him also. For he says to the witches in I.iii.53-60:

... My noble partner
You greet with present grace, and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope
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 who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.
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Laurel
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"



mef6395 wrote:
I agree that Banquo is wary of the witches and their words. But at the same time, he is curious, he wants to know if there's anything in it for him also. For he says to the witches in I.iii.53-60:

... My noble partner
You greet with present grace, and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope
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 who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.




It has crossed my mind that perhaps Banquo is testing the witches here.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

That's an interesting idea & a true possibility. Banquo's wariness may also be that he's also not sure that the witches bring good - He's also different from Macbeth - more cautious, more sensible, perhaps not as driven by ambition or by the quest for power as is Macbeth.



Laurel wrote:

It has crossed my mind that perhaps Banquo is testing the witches here.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Choisya
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

Banquo was an ancestor of James I and so if the play was written with James in mind, or altered to suit his prejudices etc., Shakespeare may have been circumspect in what he wrote about him and 'more cautious, more sensible, perhaps not as driven by ambition' fits that circumspection and also indirectly praises James' via his line of descent.




LizzieAnn wrote:
That's an interesting idea & a true possibility. Banquo's wariness may also be that he's also not sure that the witches bring good - He's also different from Macbeth - more cautious, more sensible, perhaps not as driven by ambition or by the quest for power as is Macbeth.



Laurel wrote:

It has crossed my mind that perhaps Banquo is testing the witches here.





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Choisya
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Re: Banquo: "Lesser than Macbeth and greater"

I see this speech as the curiosity that any one of us might show when faced with someone who offers to predict our future. Most of us would 'look into the seeds of time' if we could, methinks:smileyhappy: There is nothing here that I feel we could blame Banquo for except perhaps that from a religious point of view it is meddling with witch-craft? That Banquo walks away from it is IMO another sign that Shakespeare is acknowledging Banquo to be an ancestor of James I.




Laurel wrote:


mef6395 wrote:
I agree that Banquo is wary of the witches and their words. But at the same time, he is curious, he wants to know if there's anything in it for him also. For he says to the witches in I.iii.53-60:

... My noble partner
You greet with present grace, and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope
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 who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.




It has crossed my mind that perhaps Banquo is testing the witches here.


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Choisya
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Re: Shakespeare

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:02 PM

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Everyman
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Re: Witches at a UK school

Well, it was cute, but nor realistic because they weren't wearing their "Votes for Women" sashes, which of course being weird sisters they should have been wearing.


Choisya wrote:
I just came across this little video of the Witches scene at a UK school which I though might amuse folks:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/shakespeare/60secondshakespeare/watch/sydneysmith_girlsmacbeth.shtml


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