The modern philosopher, Robert Greene says, “Be wary of friends, they will betray you more quickly, for they are easier aroused to envy…you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.” Is Banquo envious of Macbeth? The text intimates to us no, and that Banquo just wants his share of the Weird Sisters prophecy. I refer you to Act 3 where Banquo says, “Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, as the Weird Women promised; and, I fear, thou play’dst most foully for’t; yet it was said, It should not stand in thy posterity; but that myself should be the root and father of many kings. If there come truth from them (as upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine), why, by the verities on thee made good, may they not be my oracles as well, and set me up in hope?” Banquo shows concern over Macbeth’s ethics in attaining the crown, but his focus shifts to himself, as he becomes more concerned whether Macbeth’s ascension will fulfill his own hopes of his posterity becoming regal merchandise. Banquo takes no action to expose Macbeth to what he believes he has done. He thinks in terms of gain for his future generations. He is happy that the prophecy seems to be taking shape and favoring his fulfillment. He stays silent as he doesn’t want to alter the natural course of events as it is planned in the Weird Sisters prophecy.
Banquo puts too much trust in Macbeth. His lack of concern over his own safety from someone who he fears and in fact did murder a virtuous king seems disconcerting, but he puts trust in his friend. It is said in “The 48 Laws of Power” to “never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies.” For the first part of this maxim: as we find out, putting in trust Macbeth is a mistake, as he is quite roused to envy of Banquo. Macbeth would like a son to succeed his throne just like Banquo’s issue was promised kingship, but Macbeth can’t stand the thought of sacrificing the “vessel of his peace” to make “the seed of Banquo Kings.” This illustrates how one foul crime leads to another.”Blood will have blood.” Because he killed the King foully and consequently has no hope of lineal succession, he feels proclivitous to prevent others from enjoying what he never will; in reference to learning how to use [his] enemies: Banquo terms the Weird Sisters the “instruments of darkness,” yet he doesn’t use them to his advantage. He ignores obvious warnings. If his issue become King, and he never does, shouldn’t that tell him to be vigilant of anyone who might want to cut him off. Who else than Banquo; someone who is exclusively privy to Macbeth’s own regal ambitions before anyone else. Banquo puts too much trust into this fleeting despot King of Scotland and fails to utilize his enemies [witches’] insight. He doesn’t even bother deciphering what the Weird Sisters proclamations could possibly mean: “lesser than Macbeth and greater”, “not so happy yet much happier.” If he would have done so, maybe he would of picked up on the fact that he himself was in jeopardy.
If he would have done the right thing and was bold enough to distance himself from Macbeth and not indirectly support his cause by non-exposure of his regicide maybe the fates would have been more kind, but he was almost just as ambitious as Macbeth; he might be called a co-conspirator for not speaking up against this Scottish king. This mistake along with his misplacement of trust in his “friend” procured his demise.


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