Banquo was a brother general of Macbeth, and was in his company when he met the three witches on the blasted heath. The " secret, black and midnight hags " predicted that Macbeth would be king, but that Banquo's sons would be kings too. When Macbeth expedited their prophecy, and seized the crown of Scotland after murdering Duncan, he remembered what they had said about Banquo's sons being kings, and decided to try and defeat destiny by putting to death both Banquo and his only child, Fleance. The hired assassins murder Banquo, but Fleance escapes, and lives to beget sons who fulfil the prophecy of the witches by ascending to the throne. At the banqueting feast given by Macbeth a place is laid for Banquo, who was to have been present, and twice the unhappy murderer looks upon the vacant chair to find it occupied by Banquo's ghost. Macbeth's distempered nerves cause him to break down at the sight, and the situation is only saved by Lady Macbeth's invocation to the guests : " Stand not upon the order of your going-but go ! " The play in which all this happens is, of course, Shakespeare's "Macbeth."