In what ways does Shakespeare make Banquo an important character in "Macbeth"? Use P.E.E. (Point, evidence, explain)

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Banquo is an important character because he hears the prophecies and one applies to him, so he becomes a threat to Macbeth.

P.E.E. is a simple method for explicating quotations.  First you introduce your “point” or argument.  This should be one clear sentence.  Then you support the point with a quotation, which is your evidence.  The quotation should be relevant to prove your point.  Last, you explain the quotation and explain how it supports your point.  This will usually take at least two sentences.

The first step, of course, is to come up with your argument.  In this case, your point is that Banquo is an important character.  My first sentence is a good example of how to make a thesis clearly and succinctly.  Then you need to support this point with evidence.

Here are some example quotations with explanations.

Point:  Banquo becomes a threat to Macbeth because he hears the witches’ prophecies.

Evidence:

Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? (Act 1, Scene 3)

Explanation:  Banquo watches Macbeth very carefully and is curious about his reaction.  He calls the prophecies “fantastical” because they seem absurd and dangerous to him.  He is suspicious of the witches and their emotions.  Later, Macbeth will remember that Banquo was there and worry that Banquo knows that he killed Duncan to make the prophecies come true.

Point:  Banquo also threatens Macbeth’s claim to the throne because the witches make a prophecy that applies to him.

Evidence:

Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me
Promised no less to them? (Act 1, Scene 3)

Explanation:  Macbeth asks Banquo if he wants his children to be king.  He is concerned because even if he becomes king, if this prophecy comes true Banquo will threaten his line.  This is the reason he finally decides to kill Banquo and his son, to prevent this prophecy from happening.

Point: Banquo becomes suspicious that Macbeth became king by killing Duncan.

Evidence:

Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised, and, I fear,
Thou play'dst most foully for't (Act 3, Scene 1)

Explanation: Banquo fears that Macbeth killed Duncan in order to become king. He notes that Macbeth has everything he was supposed to get, but he knows Macbeth’s ambition.  He does not think it is an accident that the witches’ prophecies came true.  It is due to this suspicion that Macbeth has him killed in this act.

Banquo is a threat to Macbeth for two reasons: he is the only one that knows about the prophecies, and his heirs are going to be king.  Macbeth is convinced that Banquo suspects he killed Duncan, and he is correct.  Banquo knows Macbeth too well.  However, Macbeth has to kill both Banquo and his son in order to prevent his line from claiming the throne.