Please mark my 'Macbeth' essay

Hey please amrk my essay and am looking for feedback.

Question: Analyse how a key event in the text positioned you to feel strongly about a character.

Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy elicits negative emotions from the reader. Her character successfully engages the reader, hooking them in and leaving them in anticipation.

Written in 1606 by William Shakespeare, the play was initially written for King James I following the gunpowder plot. The intention was to illustrate how killing the king is not always ideal, which is still relevant today with both royalty and government. The play evokes emotions from its readers, making them feel engulfed by apprehension for each of the individual characters.

Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy unveils her dark ambition, exposing the reader’s foreboding intuition towards her. While reading the letter from Macbeth, she expresses her need to become relentless, exclaiming, “Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall.” By using the symbol ‘milk’, the reader can see how the natural sweetness humans possess within their personas is honoured, and by replacing this sweetness with gall, there is nothing but room for sinister thoughts and actions. The foreboding intuition of the reader is enhanced as they wait in uncertainty about her future capabilities. Shakespeare intentionally provides the reader with this moment to highlight the idea of first impressions, as Lady Macbeth’s initial impression was misleading, and in doing so proves the reader’s foreshadowing intuition about Lady Macbeth right.

The play also serves to emphasize the power of appearances, as Lady Macbeth’s ambition has an intense hold on her. She tries to convince her husband, Macbeth, to join her and be her hands, remarking, “Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under ‘t.” By utilizing the noun ‘flower’, Lady Macbeth’s metaphor becomes easily decodable, as she describes Macbeth’s masked personality as devious and thorned while expressing a gentle and delicate appearance. The harsh reality of her intentions foreshadows her and leads to her eventual downfall. The intention presented by Shakespeare displays the idea of appearance vs reality, as throughout the play Lady Macbeth faces others masking corrupt intentions while presenting herself as a truthful neighbour. This keeps the audience in suspense, as they do not know the outplay of her actions until the end. At the same time, it also serves to emphasize Lady Macbeth’s ambition and desire for power, as the reader is left to question why she would do such a thing. This intentional withholding of information makes the reader even more invested in the plot and eager to see how the story unfolds. It also allows Shakespeare to build a sense of anticipation and suspense; further engaging the reader in the play.

The reader’s scepticism around Lady Macbeth’s deep desire for the power of murder has further negative connotations towards her character during her soliloquy. The scene develops the understanding that Lady Macbeth’s strong hunger to kill can sometimes conflict with her femininity, demanding, “Make thick my blood.” Through the use of the adjective ‘thick’, the imperative itself turns from a simple command to one with an underlying motive. The reader is helped to understand this motive as Lady Macbeth’s internal sanity seeps out, leaving her with nothing but herself and no moral compass. In doing so, Shakespeare highlights the idea of greed, as Lady Macbeth’s decision was driven by her ambition and desire for power rather than any moral code or sense of right and wrong. This creates a strong atmosphere of suspense and anticipation, as the reader is left to wonder what will happen next. Suspense is further heightened by Lady Macbeth’s actions not being revealed until later in the play.

By doing this, the reader’s perception of a character can be impacted by their actions, creating a negative connotation towards the character. This can develop into affecting the setting’s atmosphere as if a character has an ominous aura, the scene will emphasize how the author, in this case Shakspeare, wishes to manipulate the plot. Through this, the reader can either develop more negative emotions towards certain characters or experience new feelings about a character.

Kia ora Morgan,

I would recommend that you have a clear introduction that utilises the key words from the question. For example, “The key event of Lady Macbeth’s reading Macbeth’s letter positions the reader to feel strongly about her…”

I think the event you’re likely writing about is her reading the letter to Macbeth. Her soliloquy captures her response to reading it and provides insight to the audience about her character.

The paragraph where you’ve written about the historical purpose of the play is a little out place there. You need to consider what points help you address the question. Each paragraph should clearly answer the question.

You have a good analysis of the quote, “… take my milk for gall.” One way you could develop that paragraph further is by looking at the way gender is explored in the play. Women played very submissive roles in the 17th century. Lady Macbeth is talking about taking away aspects typically associated with femininity in order to give her strength to bring about Duncan’s demise.

I would have liked for you to explain how our initial impression was misleading. The final sentence of that third paragraph needs more explanation.

Your next point about appearance versus reality is a stronger paragraph. There’s some good discussion of the role this idea plays in the story and how it is illustrated in this event. You could develop it further by discussing how this creates dramatic irony.

One thing to watch out for is repeating yourself too much. For example, you write about keeping the audience in suspense and thus engaged quite frequently. These can also be quite vague statements.

Your concluding paragraph should sum up your response to the question, touching briefly on your main points and reiterating how the event positions the reader’s response to the character.

Another thing to consider with writing a response to this question is why Shakespeare would want the reader to respond in the way that they do. Does Shakespeare encourage us to like or dislike the character? Why? This would have been a good opportunity to link to the purpose of the play from an historical perspective.

This essay is at an Achieved level. There’s some response to the question and analysis of evidence but you aren’t yet consistently linking back to the question.

Kia pai tō mahi, Morgan. Thanks for sharing your work with us.