A Scottish nobleman, general, and friend of Macbeth. He is also the father of Fleance. The weird sisters prophesy that while Banquo will never be King of Scotland, his descendants will one day sit on the throne. Banquo is as ambitious as Macbeth, but unlike Macbeth he resists putting his selfish ambition above his honor or the good of Scotland. Because he both knows the prophecy and is honorable, Banquo is both a threat to Macbeth and a living example of the noble path that Macbeth chose not to take. After Macbeth has Banquo murdered he is haunted by Banquo's ghost, which symbolizes Macbeth's terrible guilt at what he has become.
Banquo Quotes in Macbeth
The Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Banquo or refer to Banquo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Macbeth published in 2003.
Act 1, scene 3
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.
Related Characters:Banquo (speaker), Macbeth, Weird Sisters
Page Number and Citation:
Explanation and Analysis:
Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Macbeth quote.
The timeline below shows where the character Banquo appears in Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 2
...of Cawdor. Two Scottish nobleman have been especially brave, Macbeth (the Thane of Glamis) and Banquo. Macbeth killed Macdonald ("unseemed him from the nave to th' chops" (1.2.22)).
Act 1, scene 3
Macbeth and Banquo enter. The witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and "king hereafter"...
Macbeth and Banquo are shocked. Macbeth asks Banquo if he now thinks that his children will be king....
As Banquo talks with Ross and Angus, Macbeth ponders the prophecy. If it's evil, why would it...
Act 1, scene 4
...executed. Duncan notes that you can't always trust a man by his outward show. Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus enter. Duncan says that even the gift of Cawdor is not as...
Act 1, scene 6
Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, and Angus arrive at Inverness. Duncan comments on the sweetness of the...
Act 2, scene 1
It is after midnight in Inverness. Banquo talks with his son Fleance and notices the stars aren't shining. He prays for angels...
Macbeth enters. Banquo tells Macbeth his sleep has been troubled by dreams of the weird sisters. Macbeth claims...
Banquo says he'll be receptive to what Macbeth has to say provided he loses no honor...
Act 2, scene 3
...horror and runs onstage. Macbeth and Lennox ask what happened, then run to Duncan's chamber. Banquo, Malcolm, and Donalbain wake. Lady Macbeth enters, pretending not to know what happened, and expressing...
Act 3, scene 1
In the royal palace of Forres, Banquo states his suspicion that Macbeth fulfilled the witches' prophecy by foul play. But he notes...
Macbeth enters, with other thanes and Lady Macbeth. He asks Banquo to attend a feast that evening. Banquo says he will, but that meanwhile he has...
The two men (identified in the stage directions as "murderers") enter. Macbeth tells them it's Banquo's fault they're poor, then questions their manhood for bearing such offenses. The murderers agree to...
Act 3, scene 2
...But then Macbeth moans, "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!" (3.2.37) because Banquo and Fleance are still alive.
Act 3, scene 3
Banquo and Fleance enter. The murderers attack. Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes. The murderers return...
Act 3, scene 4
...that one of the murderers is standing at the door. The murderer tells Macbeth that Banquo is dead but Fleance escaped. Macbeth comforts himself that Fleance will not be a threat...
...guests. He echoes her story about his fits, then leads a toast to the missing Banquo.
Act 3, scene 6
...talk sarcastically about Macbeth and the too great similarities between the murders of Duncan and Banquo, with Donalbain and Malcolm accused of the first and Fleance blamed for the second.
Act 4, scene 1
Macbeth wants to know one more thing: will Banquo's heirs have the throne? The witches perform a final conjuring. Eight kings appear walking in...
Act 5, scene 1
...and gentlewoman watch as Lady Macbeth then relives conversations with Macbeth after the murder of Banquo and hears an imaginary knocking and rushes off to bed. The doctor says the disease...