Banquo is a thane in Duncan’s army, and at first a friend to Macbeth.

He is equal in rank to Macbeth at the beginning of the play, and although Macbeth is told he will be King, Banquo is told that his children will be kings.

After Macbeth kills Duncan and becomes King, Banquo grows suspicious of his former friend and considers him to be a tyrant. However, Macbeth has him murdered before he can act.

He later appears as a ghost and frightens Macbeth at his banquet. Banquo finally appears in the play as an apparition with eight of his descendents, showing Macbeth that they will be kings. By frightening him into becoming more of a tyrant, Banquo pushes Macbeth towards his fate.


Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

— Act I, scene 3

Need to know

• Initially friends with Macbeth but returns to haunt him

• Is told his future by The Witches

• Is stabbed to death by The Murderers

Key quote

Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear, Your favours or your hate.

— Act I, scene 3

Also called

Noble Banquo
— Act I, scene 4

True, worthy Banquo
— Act I, scene 4

Kind gentleman
— Act I, scene 4

Our chief guest
— Act III, scene 4

Horrible shadow
— Act III, scene 1


— Act I, scene 2