16th May 2017

Macbeth Practice Essay

How does Shakespeare use language to reinforce his ideas in Macbeth?

IDEA: Brevity of Life

LANGUAGE: Metaphor, Use of Meter, Repetition, Alliteration

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Shakespeare, in his tragedy Macbeth, is preoccupied with the relationship between humanity and the forces in life beyond our control. Macbeth, who has just learned of his wife’s untimely death, considers his life to be “like a walking shadow”. It is in his use of metaphor, and the interplay between symbols of light and dark, that Shakespeare communicates his idea of the nature of death. In his metaphor “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more”, Shakespeare is

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  1. This looks like an interesting line of inquiry. I’d encourage you also to look to the beginning of the play when Macbeth was almost presented, at least externally, as being invincible. Then you can look at how the Witches start to give him the belief that he is unassailable – particularly when Hecate gets involved as he explicitly says he wishes to give Macbeth the belief that he is invincible in order to prevent him having any access to regret (You’ll definitely want to find that quote).

    I haven’t seen a completed paragraph yet, so I’ll direct you to look carefully at the sample paragraph on the class website, as it demonstrates how you can use a clear formula of Statement, Example, Explanation to ensure you keep a clear logical sequence to your writing. – and to make sure you also use detailed reference to quotations in your ultimate answer.

    Also, as we’ve mentioned, the paragraph written by Otto together with support from the whole class is a good example of how to keep the logic of your argument clear while referring to a range of items of evidence and analysis.

    Good thinking so far.



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