Dwight D. Eisenhower once said “peace and justice are two sides of the same coin”. Peace and justice are tied together, both must exist in harmony. In Macbeth we quickly see the injustice of murder destroy the peace of Scotland. It would take a force to bring Macbeth to his knew and order back into Scotland, setting the stage for Banquo and Macduff. Banquo and Macduff play large yet different roles in the demise of Macbeth. Banquo mentally troubles Macbeth causing his mental state to deteriorate, while Macduff capitalizes on the weakness and acts upon it.
You will see examples throughout the book: when Banquo stays with Macbeth hiding his suspicion while Macduff rides away telling others of the murder, when the ghost of Banquo haunts Macbeth while Macduff refuses to attend the feast at all and finally throughout the play we see the prophecy of Banquo’s sons driving Macbeth mad; Macduff using Macbeth’s reliance on the witches as a weakness to attack and kill him. Banquo’s suspicion causes Macbeth to worry, not knowing that Macduff had left with his own suspicions.
We see the different approaches of the two characters, Banquo hiding his thoughts and sticking close instead of openly discussing his thoughts like Macduff. Banquo has clued in on the connection between the wyrd sister’s prophecy and the murder of Duncan, questioning Macbeth’s morality “… King, Cawdor, Glamis, all… I fear / thou played’st most foully for it” (3. 1. 1-3). Banquo contains his distrust, watching Macduff from the shadows as he leaves the clearer target. Macduff was the first to find the body of Duncan and does not worry about his own safety, discussing his knowledge with Ross and the Old Man.
We see his wording in act 2 scene 4 as doubtful, not believing Macbeth’s reasoning for killing the guards in Duncan’s room. Macbeth still does not see the works of Macduff, who does not attend his crowing ceremony, and is strictly focused on Banquo. He admits to having “fears in Banquo [which] stick deep” and plans on disposing of him (3. 1. 50-51). Macbeth knows he can no longer trust his once best friend as paranoia and insanity begin to set in. This distraction is the reason Macduff is given leeway to spread his distrusts through the group of secondary characters.
In effort, Macbeth has made up his mind to continue onwards with fulfilling the prophecy, a decision that will literally haunt him greatly. The ghost of Banquo terrorizes Macbeth at his banquet, making him act a fool in front of all the thanes. Macduff denies Macbeth publicly by not attending, thus upsetting him greatly. Banquo’s role is further shown to be private or solely concentrated to Macbeth’s knowledge, giving him an insane outer appearance. Macbeth’s mentality only feeds the fire in Macduff as he gains more and more reassurance from the onslaught of murders.
We even see his own wife accuse him of “displac[ing] the mirth, break[ing] the good meeting / with most admir’d disorder” (3. 4. 109-110). Banquo has terrified Macbeth, making his cheeks “…blanch’d with fear” (3. 4. 116) sending him looking for an outlet; the absence of Macduff. He admits to having “ a servant fed “ (3. 4. 132) in all of his thanes houses and knows that Macduff has denied the invitation on purpose. He takes this as an extreme insult, planning to kill Macduff’s family as a punishment. This section has shown Macbeth as very weak and incapable of rational thought processes, taking the absence of a thane as the reason to kill.
The fate of Macduff’s family is set in stone, much like Banquo’s, yet it will not grant him anymore safety and will in fact lead him searching for security. Macbeth goes back to the wyrd sisters to gain some more insight on the prophecy. He goes out of desperation, hoping that his fate still holds true to what he has been told and the throne will be forever in his family. Banquo’s sons have forced the hand of Macbeth, pleading the witches not for the truth, but to hear what he wants. The haunting of Banquo’s children has led to the murder of Macduff’s.
Action caused by children has connected Banquo and Macduff, as the newly deceased and the future kings will not let Macbeth free. Macbeth takes the witches new prophecy not for what it is, but as what he wants it to be. His head has been inflated, and no longer worrying about the throne’s next owner. Macbeth is at a point where he has nothing to lose and after his wife dies, he is at wits end. Macbeth knows the fate of his kingdom, and will “die with harness on [his] back” (5. 5. 51). He had thought he was invincible, Banquo had been a nagging recurrence and had punished him mentally.
Exhausted, he chose to face and die by the army and Macduff, his true match. Through different ways, Macduff and Banquo were able to break Macbeth both mentally and physically, bringing his reign of terror to an end. Banquo, through suspicion was able to distract Macbeth, his ghost returning, constantly reminding him of his deeds. Macduff, meanwhile, gathered his thoughts and fought Macbeth every step of the way. Using rational methods, he was able to take down a very irrational man. Banquo had written the book all along, all he had to do was wait for Macduff to publish it.
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