LENNOX. the one to invite Macbethto sit next
LENNOX. Lennox is a political power-seeker, and we saw him onstage every time we saw Duncan on stage.
He is one of those peoplewho gravitates to power and gets as close to it as possible so thathe can feel it and share it as much as possible. Once Macbeth isking, then Lennox is around him all the time, too. At the banquetwhen Macbeth saw Banquo’s ghost, he was the one to invite Macbethto sit next to him. He was the one to have the last word evenwhen Lady Macbeth shouted for everyone to leave the room: Better health attend his majesty. Macbeth brought Lennox in to a placeof great trust, as can be seen when Macbeth went to see the witchesagain: he took Lennox with him.
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At the end of the play, when the power changed sides, so did Macbeth. He was with the forces fighting against Macbeth. Therefore, Lennox would do ANYTHING to be in the glow of the power. In order to secure a better positionwith Macbeth, he became the third murderer. Macbeth asked him togo because he needed a warrior to make sure the job got done; hecould not trust the two men he had hired to kill the great warrior,Banquo, without the help of another thane/warrior.
Lennox was theone for the job. Macbeth knew he would do anything to stay nearthe power, and he took advantage of this.Another take on Lennox as the third murderer has him as a spyin Macbeth’s castle, loyal to the forces opposing Macbeth. Lennox had been loyal to Duncan and ended up as one of the leaders of the forces opposing Macbeth in the end of the play. In fact, it was Lennoxwho knew where every soldier was, so he must have had the master plan for the battle in his possession.
(When the question was asked in the end, Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother? it was Lennox who knew for certain that he was not. Lennox had a list of all the gentry. A political power-seeker would not earn thatkind of position so quickly in the rebellion, so he must have been against Macbeth all along. His negative opinion of Macbethwas clearly expressed in Act III, scene vi, when he calls him a tyrant and rails against him openly to the unnamed Lord. Macbeth himself talks about how he has spies in every one else’s castle: There’s not a one of them but in his house/ I keep a servant feed(Act III, scene iv).
Therefore, Lennox is a spy in Macbeth’s castle.In the position of trust he has managed to obtain, he is sent outat the last minute to help with the killing of Banquo. Althoughhe does not want to blow his cover, he cannot let Banquo die.
However, the light is extinguished, the two murderers set uponBanquo immediately, killing him before Lennox can stop them, sohe does the best that he can by helping Fleance to escape. He then returned to the banquet, where he would not have been missed.He maintains his close link to Macbeth, but does not give him anyinformation that would help Macbeth. Note the fact that he does not tell Macbeth about Macduff’s flight to England until his hand is forced by the two or three riders who came by in Act IV to reportthe information to Macbeth.
The audience knows, though, that healready knew this from the conversation he had earlier with theunnamed Lord. He kept this information from Macbeth because he was a spy.