When the play begins, Macbeth and Banquo are friends and seem similar in character, but this quickly changes when Macbeth and Banquo have different reactions to the three weird sisters’ prophecies. After Macbeth is told that he will be Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland, he sees an opportunity. This fuels his ambition. He believes the witches’ prediction could be true because he wants it to be true, so he can be in power. Meanwhile, when Banquo hears that his sons will be kings, he isn’t urged to take action because if the witches are telling the truth, his prophecy will naturally come true in time. On the other hand, Macbeth doesn’t have any children to wait around for, so he wants to take action because he has nothing to lose. Where Macbeth is rash, Banquo is more cautious. Banquo and Macbeth balance each other out. For example, Banquo warns Macbeth that he should be skeptical of the witches because even if they aren’t lying now, they could be later. Before Macbeth and Banquo’s encounter with...
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...r. Macbeth starts out as a loyal thane, but slowly his ambition causes him to become power-hungry and turn against people he once respected. He rapidly becomes callous and selfish. Banquo serves as a comparison to Macbeth; he’s loyal and contemplative. Banquo chooses to let fate run its course while Macbeth tries to use free will to take things into his own hands. Although Macbeth becomes king for a while, he faces many consequences. Macbeth becomes insane and paranoid during these killings, and his people turn against him and kill him. Although Banquo also dies, Macbeth’s path to death was much worse, ultimately showing that free will cannot be used to rush time without having to face the consequences. The differences in Macbeth’s and Banquo’s reactions (to hearing the prophecies), actions, and deaths emphasize the play’s theme that fate will prevail over free will.
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