Banquo is Macbeth’s brave and noble best friend, as well as his second victim. Banquo enters the play with Macbeth after both have fought valiantly for Duncan’s side in a recent battle. Duncan acknowledges Banquo as “no less deserved” of praise than Macbeth, but from the beginning of the play Banquo is overshadowed by Macbeth’s accomplishments and ambition. However, Banquo is not entirely without ambition of his own. He asks for a prophecy from the Witches, too, and is pleased to learn that his children will rule Scotland.
Similar to Macbeth, Banquo seems unable to understand the cost of the Witches’ prophecy will be his life. In Act III, murderers kill Banquo at Macbeth’s command, and try to kill his young son, Fleance, who manages to get away. Soon after his death, Banquo appears in the form of a ghost at the banquet the Macbeths give at their castle. At play’s end, Banquo’s greatest import remains offstage: his son, Fleance, who could come back to revenge his father’s death and take the throne of Scotland, fulfilling the Witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s sons will one day be king.