Imagine you are a witness (or witnesses) to the events surrounding the murder of Banquo. Describe what you saw, and your thoughts and feelings about the events, atmosphere and characters involved.
Interview with the Attendant
“Bring in the attendant,” shouted the guard. “Scribe, get all this down, I want every word he says recorded.” The attendant came in and sat down on the opposite side of the desk to the guard. They sat in silence, staring at each other, working each other out. “You ready scribe?”
“OK, lets start. This is Macdonald the guard interviewing the attendant, concerning the murder of Banquo. Please start whenever you are ready.”
“Well, I was at the palace at Forres. When I heard the senate sound, I walked in with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and some other important people, I forget who they are now. I felt nervous when I walked into the room, as it seemed like everyone’s eyes were upon me, waiting for me to trip and go flying. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth walked over to Banquo, and greeted him. Then, Macbeth started talking to Banquo in a very friendly way. I heard him ask him if he had had a good ride, which I thought was very strange, as Macbeth is usually too wound up in his own affairs to notice anyone else.
It was as though Macbeth was being nice for a reason, perhaps covering up something. I could tell that Banquo was rather suspicious also, because Macbeth had never spoken to him like that before. He was trying to present himself as a very friendly, considerate, gracious King, but he could not fool me, I could tell he was building up to something. Banquo was anxious to leave throughout the whole conversation, as he was maybe worried about all the strange questions. Eventually, Banquo left the room, and so did everybody else.
I was left alone with Macbeth. I was scared that that would happen, as Macbeth is a very powerful man, and makes you on edge. He called me over, and asked me to fetch the two men at the gate. When I got outside the door, I asked the servant to fetch them instead.
I stood outside the door, and heard Macbeth talking to himself. Surely that talking to yourself is not the actions of a sane man. He said that Banquo was capable and would dare to kill him, to get to the throne. Macbeth said that he had no son to take the throne after him, so the throne would go to Banquo. It sounded as though he was debating with himself whether he should kill Banquo because of his threat to his own safety, or because Banquo would get the throne after he is dead. But, either way, it sounded as though Macbeth was going to kill Banquo anyway. He then spoke about how he killed Duncan, and how he could do it again.
The servant came back and Macbeth stopped his rambling. The two men came in with masks on. I think I was right to believe that this was slightly strange, as people don’t usually go around wearing masks. They obviously had a reason to conceal their identities. I then was asked to leave by the servant.”
“Thank you for helping us with our inquiries. On your way out, could you ask the servant to come in.”
Interview with the Servant
“Hello. I’m Macdonald the guard. I believe that you are one of Macbeth’s servants.”
“This is Macdonald the guard interviewing Macbeth’s servant in connection with the murder of Banquo. Tell us what you know then.”
“I was told by the attendant to go and get the two men at the gate. They didn’t look normal, perhaps because of their masks. I took them up to Macbeth and left them with him. He looked anxious as I took them in. Macbeth then told me to guard the door.”
“On the outside?”
“No, the inside. He wanted to make sure that no-one got in.”
“So, what was said exactly?”
“They were talking about how they were going to kill Banquo, and when to do it. The murderers didn’t want to kill Banquo, but Macbeth persuaded them. I was scared because if Macbeth had asked me to do something, I don’t think I could say no. He seems to have a certain ability to persuade people.”
“And that’s all you heard?”
“Yes. I went to stand outside about halfway through the conversation, because I couldn’t stand hearing all the gory details of the murder.”
Interview with the park-keeper
“Tell us what you saw.”
“OK. I was in the palace park. Lady Macbeth had told me to wait for Banquo and Fleance, and to greet them as they arrived. I could hear them coming in the distance, their horses galloping. Then I saw three large men in black robes, wearing masks. They were moving stealthily behind bushes and trees. I could see Banquo in the distance drawing nearer to the black figures. They stopped moving around, and hid behind some bracken. I also hid, because I was scared that if the men in black saw me, they would kill me. Banquo and Fleance approached. They were completely oblivious to the men. I was willing them in my mind to run, to take a different route. But they walked straight into it. The men pounced in Banquo and pulled him from his horse. It was him they were concentrating on, not Fleance. It looked as though he escaped.
My conscience was ruined. I couldn’t believe that I had stood by and let a man be murdered.”
“Thank-you for your cooperation.”
Interview with the Entertainer
“This is Macdonald the guard interviewing an entertainer at the banquet. Please fire away.”
“I walked through the back entrance to the banqueting hall and set up my equipment at the front, on stage. At the back of the hall, I could see Macbeth talking to a stranger in a dark corner. He had very red hands, perhaps he was a blacksmith or something similar. When they finished talking, Macbeth looked very upset and cross, as though he had just received some awful news. I could tell that that was to be a bad night for Macbeth.
Later on, Macbeth seemed to forget about his terrible news, maybe it was the ale. He was chatting freely to his nobles about how he had the most honorable people under his roof, but that they were still to meet the even more honorable Banquo. Just as he said Banquo’s name, Macbeth locked up. His cheeks turned white with fear, and he started trembling. I was the only person to notice it, but Macbeth’s chair moved as he was looking at it. That caused me to believe that a spirit had entered the room. Though Macbeth is a bold man, and could probably cheat the devil, this he could not handle. He looked quite mad, standing there gormless, staring onto an empty chair. Lady Macbeth said that he was infirm, that I can believe. She prompted me to start the entertainment as she tended to her husband.”
“Thank-you very much. You can now leave.” The entertainer left the room. “So, what do you think scribe?”
“Well its obvious, isn’t it?”