Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Banquo - a Spiritual Force in Shakespeares Macbeth :: Macbeth essays

Banquo - a Spiritual Force in Macbeth      Ã‚  Ã‚   Who cannot learn from Shakespeare's Macbeth this moral lesson: That crime does not pay? And who can deny that the playwright created a spiritual force in the play in the person of Banquo? This essay is his story.    Lily B. Campbell in her volume of criticism, Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes: Slaves of Passion, discusses how fear enters the life of Banquo with the murder of Duncan and his two attendants:    And as Lady Macbeth is helped from the room, we see fear working in the others. Banquo admits that fears and scruples shake them all, even while he proclaims his enmity to treason. But Banquo fears rightly the anger or hatred of the Macbeth who has power to do him harm. (222)    In Shakespeare and Tragedy John Bayley discusses Banquo shortly before his murder:    [. . .] like Banquo, who, in the tense hour before the murder, expresses in more forceful form the idea of evil speculation and possibility as ranging in the mind:    Merciful powers, Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in repose. II.i.7-9    At such a moment the activities of the mind become almost palpable and express themselves in bodily form, as they do in the other two mind tragedies. In the speech which he imagines the thoughts that may come to him when he goes to rest, Banquo hands his sword to his son Fleance, and then - with a dream-like precision - hands over his belt with its dagger too:    Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven; Their candles are all out. Take thee that too. (188-89)    Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare comment that Banquo is a force of good in the play, set in opposition to Macbeth:    Banquo, the loyal soldier, praying for restraint against evil thoughts which enter his mind as they had entered Macbeth's, but which work no evil there, is set over against Macbeth, as virtue is set over against disloyalty.   (792)    In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye explains the rationale behind Banquo's ghost in this play:    Except for the episode of Hercules leaving Antony, where mysterious music is heard again, there is nothing really supernatural in Shakespeare's tragedies that is not connected with the murder of the order-figures.

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