Could i please have feedback on my macbeth essay and grade

Question: Analyse how a key event positioned you to feel strongly about a character

In literature, the portrayal of a character is often defined by their actions and key events they are involved in. These events often compel strong emotions from the reader as they enable crucial insight into a character’s personality and intention. This is particularly evident in the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Macbeth’. Lady Macbeth’s manipulation of her husband Macbeth to kill the king reveals largely on her character and motives. This ultimately compels the reader to have strong feelings toward her, early on in the play .

‘Macbeth’ is a 1606 tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Throughout the play it explores several significant themes such as choice and consequence, appearance vs reality, and the effects of manipulation. This story provoked lots of thought and elicited feelings from the reader, making it an influential text.

Firstly, the key event of planning to kill King Duncan causes the readers to feel strongly about Lady Macbeth through how it reveals her nature. This is shown by the quote “Act like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it”. Through this metaphor, Lady Macbeth is instructing Macbeth to appear welcoming and kind towards the guests in order for them not to suspect their evil plan, which will come at the detriment to the guests. She is telling Macbeth to be decieving. This highlights Lady Macbeth’s determination to get Macbeth to commit to the murder, as well as wanting to control his actions. She is instructing Macbeth to go against his natural will to be a good host to King Duncan as Macbeth wants to be genuine but Lady Macbeth is telling him to be deceiving and manipulative. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s manipulative and evil nature is revealed through this event as she is disregarding Macbeth’s morals in order to get him to kill. This also highlights the theme of appearance vs reality as they are trying to appear one way to disguise their true intentions. After this, the reader is compelled to feel a dislike towards Lady Macbeth as she is shown to be the evil guiding Macbeth to his path of corruption.

Secondly, the reader is made to feel strongly about Lady Macbeth when she uses Macbeth’s insecurities to manipulate him into killing King Duncan. This is shown through the quote “When you durst do it, then you were a man”. Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth, using Macbeth’s insecurity in his masculinity and manhood against him. She is telling Macbeth that he has to kill Duncan to prove he is a man - taking advantage of his flaws and vulnerabilities to his detriment. Because this event takes place early in the text, it holds a significant foundation for the reader’s perception of Lady Macbeth’s character. Therefore, it causes the reader to understand her evil nature and be likely to dislike her.

This is furthermore seen through an earlier quote in the text “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”. This is spoken by Lady Macbeth where she is expressing her concern that Macbeth lacks the ability to kill King Duncan as he is too moral and kind. The quote speaks strongly about Lady Macbeth’s character as it shows how she views human traits. Saying Macbeth is ‘too full’ of kindness implies that she views it as a weak trait to have and that it is Macbeth’s weakness. As this is notably due to Macbeth having hesitiations to kill a person, it emphasizes how she has an evil nature, viewing someone who doesn’t want to kill as weak. It shows her lack of humanity, that goes against natural human morals. This therefore causes the reader to be implied to have a strong dislike towards her character. This is also a pivotal moment in the play as it is the event that leads Macbeth on his path of corruption, which ultimately leads to his downfall.

In conclusion, the event of Lady Macbeth manipulating Macbeth to kill King Duncan not only impacts the play’s course but compells strong feelings about her character. The key event shows Lady Macbeth to manipulate her husband through his insecurities, overriding his natural human morals, ultimately highlighting her evil and manipulative nature and intent. This revelation of her character emphasizes how the readers perception of characters is shaped by their actions and pivotal events. This compels strong emotions. In real life, it shows how a particular moment or action where you reveal your intent, can define the way you are viewed. How despite Lady Macbeth having regrets and being guilt-ridden by the end of the play, the reader would still dislike her character for her evil nature at the beginning of the play.

Kia ora Pinksheep,

Your introduction has a good focus on the question and frames your argument nicely. The second paragraph you have to your introduction is not needed though.

You have a clear analysis of how we see the manipulative side of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think she wanted Macbeth to kill his king? Do you think she is ambitious? You made a comment at the end of the paragraph about disguising their true intentions. What do you think are Lady Macbeth’s true intentions in persuading her husband to kill Duncan?

If you’re aiming for a high grade, it would be good to go beyond the text and look at how Shakespeare presented this female character as going against the gender norms of the time it was written. There’s a lovely quote she says after she reads the letter from Macbeth and she says in a soliloquy, " Come, you spirits. That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here." Similarly with your paragraph on Macbeth, you could comment on how Lady Macbeth explores gender roles by saying he’s not a man if he cannot kill Duncan.

The way you end your conclusion is also strong, looking at how this event, regardless of what else happens to Lady Macbeth later in the play, irrevocably shapes our perception her character.

This essay is sitting at a Merit level.

Ka pai tō mahi, and thanks for sharing your writing with us.

Best of luck for tomorrow :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the feedback! Do you have any general tips on how I can improve my writing overall for other exam questions?

You did consistently well with linking back to the question in this essay. That’s one of the things to go back and double check you’ve done if you have time to do that after you finish writing. You’ve got a good formal essay tone and have made smart choices with your evidence.

One thing you could look at more is the beyond the text reading of the play. There’s lots of ways you could do this with Macbeth. It’s one of my personal favourite texts to write about. There’s lots of interesting background to the play so you can really dig into why Shakespeare wrote it, things like who was king and his interest in witchcraft, or looking at the gender roles which I suggested in my previous comment. It needs to work with your response to the question though; you don’t want to just waffle on about why Shakespeare wrote the play if it doesn’t support your answer.

You could also show more awareness of how the play is crafted e.g. the use of soliloquy or even structure e.g. why do you think Shakespeare chose to put this event so early on in Act 1?