Banquo serving Macbeth as a foil character
A character foil is used to give the audience a deeper understanding of the protagonist’s character. Also to highlight particular qualities and show the mutual contrast with the protagonist. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Banquo serves Macbeth as a character foil. They’re both the same in many aspects, but in the end result are very different.
Banquo like Macbeth, enter the play as war heroes. Just like Macbeth, Banquo fought vigorously against Scotland’s enemies to protect his beloved land. Everyone that surrounded him gave him their respect and even King Duncan gives Macbeth and Banquo his love for being brave, loyal and trustworthy soldiers. The previous thane of Cawdor is executed for being a traitor and King Duncan gives the honorable role to Macbeth, and in Act 1, scene 4 line 33 he says; “ Noble Banquo thou hast no less deserved, nor must be known no less to have done so, let me infold thee and hold thee to my heart.” Here King Duncan expresses his undying gratitude to Banquo for expressing his bravery and loyalty and assures him that his actions will not go without reward.
Although Macbeth and Banquo enter the play on a similar footing, the difference in their characters lies when we see their reactions to when the witches foresee their future. When the “equivocating fiends” tell Macbeth he will be the next king of Scotland, he is surprised. His reaction reveals he was startled to hear his own hidden ambition for becoming king come from the witches. In act 1 scene 3 line 133-134, Macbeth says “Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind. His thoughts almost immediately turn into murderous plots for King Duncan. He is so consumed in his own ambitious world that even Banquo notices it and acknowledges Macbeth being “rapt withal”. Banquo by contrast, shows a significant indifference to the witches’ prophecies. Instead of believing them he tells Macbeth to be careful against their treacherous ways....