Why Did Macbeth Kill Banquo?

Macbeth Act Three CAP Lesson from www.slideshare.net

William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” is a classic tale of ambition, power, and greed. In the play, Macbeth is a Scottish thane who kills his friend Banquo in order to gain more power. But why did Macbeth kill Banquo? The answer lies in the character’s own ambitions and in the way that Macbeth’s actions led him down a destructive path.

The Three Witches

The three witches are central to Macbeth’s decision to kill Banquo. The witches tell Macbeth that he shall be king and that Banquo’s children will become kings. This prophecy fills Macbeth with ambition and a desire to secure his own power. He begins to fear that Banquo’s children could one day usurp the throne, and so he decides to act before it is too late.

Macbeth’s Ambition

Macbeth’s ambition is also a factor in his decision to kill Banquo. He is consumed by his desire for power and is willing to do anything to secure it. He is so driven by his ambition that he kills his best friend in order to remain in control. He does not consider the consequences of his actions and instead focuses only on achieving his goal.

Macbeth’s Actions

The way in which Macbeth acts is also a factor in why he chose to kill Banquo. After killing King Duncan, Macbeth begins to act in a paranoid and erratic manner. He begins to fear that his enemies are out to get him, and he becomes increasingly desperate to hold onto power. In his paranoia, Macbeth sees Banquo as a threat and decides to get rid of him.

Macbeth’s Mental State

Macbeth’s mental state is another factor in why he chose to kill Banquo. After killing Duncan, Macbeth begins to experience a range of mental health issues. He is plagued by guilt, anxiety, and depression. His mental state makes it difficult for him to think clearly, and he acts impulsively without considering the consequences of his actions.

The Influence of Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is also a factor in why Macbeth kills Banquo. She encourages and manipulates Macbeth into killing Duncan, and she also encourages him to kill Banquo in order to secure their power. She does not consider the consequences of her actions and instead is driven by her ambition and desire for power.

The Final Outcome

The final outcome of Macbeth’s decision to kill Banquo is clear. His actions lead to the destruction of his own life and the lives of those around him. He is haunted by his guilt and is eventually killed by Macduff. The tragedy of Macbeth’s story is a lesson in the dangers of ambition and the consequences of unchecked power.


Macbeth kills Banquo for a variety of reasons. The three witches’ prophecy fills him with ambition and a desire for power. His own ambition and mental state are also factors in why he acts as he does. Finally, Lady Macbeth’s influence and manipulation of Macbeth also play a role. The tragedy of Macbeth’s story is a lesson in the dangers of unchecked ambition and power.

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