macbeth essay help

Macbeth Essays

There are loads of ways you can approach writing an essay, but the two i favour are detailed below., the key thing to remember is that an essay should focus on the three aos:, ao1: plot and character development; ao2: language and technique; ao3: context, strategy 1 : extract / rest of play, the first strategy basically splits the essay into 3 paragraphs., the first paragraph focuses on the extract, the second focuses on the rest of the play, the third focuses on context. essentially, it's one ao per paragraph, for a really neatly organised essay., strategy 2 : a structured essay with an argument, this strategy allows you to get a much higher marks as it's structured to form an argument about the whole text. although you might think that's harder - and it's probably going to score more highly - i'd argue that it's actually easier to master. mainly because you do most of the work before the day of the exam., to see some examples of these, click on the links below:, lady macbeth as a powerful woman, macbeth as a heroic character, the key to this style is remembering this: you're going to get a question about a theme, and the extract will definitely relate to the theme., the strategy here is planning out your essays before the exam, knowing that the extract will fit into them somehow., below are some structured essays i've put together., macbeth and gender.

macbeth essay help

William Shakespeare

Everything you need for every book you read..

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Macbeth . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Macbeth: Introduction

Macbeth: plot summary, macbeth: detailed summary & analysis, macbeth: themes, macbeth: quotes, macbeth: characters, macbeth: symbols, macbeth: literary devices, macbeth: quizzes, macbeth: theme wheel, brief biography of william shakespeare.

Macbeth PDF

Historical Context of Macbeth

Other books related to macbeth.

  • Full Title: The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • When Written: 1606
  • Where Written: England
  • When Published: 1623
  • Literary Period: The Renaissance (1500 - 1660)
  • Genre: Tragic drama
  • Setting: Scotland and, briefly, England during the eleventh century
  • Climax: Some argue that the murder of Banquo is the play's climax, based on the logic that it is at this point that Macbeth reaches the height of his power and things begin to fall apart from there. However, it is probably more accurate to say that the climax of the play is Macbeth's fight with Macduff, as it is at this moment that the threads of the play come together, the secret behind the prophecy becomes evident, and Macbeth's doom is sealed.

Extra Credit for Macbeth

Shakespeare or Not? There are some who believe Shakespeare wasn't educated enough to write the plays attributed to him. The most common anti-Shakespeare theory is that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and used Shakespeare as a front man because aristocrats were not supposed to write plays. Yet the evidence supporting Shakespeare's authorship far outweighs any evidence against. So until further notice, Shakespeare is still the most influential writer in the English language.

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macbeth essay help

Macbeth: Essay Plan Examples

A* and Level 9 essays are always properly planned before they are written. But how should you plan a Macbeth Essay?

Here is a list of practise plans and notes that students have completed for a range of essays on Macbeth. Some are focused on ideas, and others on structuring. To get the best out of your plans, you should try to keep a balance between both of these.

Always plan a thesis before writing — this is your main argument, the main answer to the question that comes in the intro of your essay. The rest of the essay should then explore and argue on this thesis.

This page is suitable for students aged 14–18 (GCSE — A-Level), particularly those studying the following exam boards: CIE / Cambridge, AQA, OCR, WJEC / Eduqas, CCEA, Edexcel.

Thanks for reading! If you find this resource useful, you can take a look at our full online Macbeth course here . Use the code “SHAKESPEARE” to receive a 50% discount!

This course includes: 

  • A full set of video lessons on each key element of the text: summary, themes, setting, characters, context, attitudes, analysis of key quotes, essay questions, essay examples
  • Downloadable documents for each video lesson 
  • A range of example B-A* / L7-L9 grade essays, both at GCSE (ages 14-16) and A-Level (age 16+) with teacher comments and mark scheme feedback
  • A bonus Macbeth workbook designed to guide you through each scene of the play!

For more help with Macbeth and Tragedy, read our article here .

PRACTICE ESSAY 1:

Explore how Shakespeare discusses the theme of deception in Macbeth.

Trickery begets trickery — Macbeth deceives Duncan at the start, Banquo shortly after, he himself is deceived by the Witches > negative comment on deception.

Feudal system / divine right of kings vs New Politics / Machiavelli.

Deception creates temporary power, but the order of the world will be restored.

God ignores the castle — sinful behavior causes God to turn away.

Thesis: deception is evil and creates more evil and chaos, both for the individuals who deceive and the kingdom as a whole. For the human characters, it leads down a path to insanity, Shakespeare is drawing a parallel between deception and evil to show that it is ungodly and sinful.

P1 — Intro — Shakespeare discusses the theme of deception in Macbeth by exploring Macbeth’s insanity, showing the Macbeths covering their tracks and the temporary success with long term failure that deception brings.

P2 — Macbeth’s insanity — “oh full of scorpions is my mind”, “could not I pronounce Amen” “Is this a dagger I see before me”.

P3 — Showing the Macbeths covering their tracks — creates a climate of panic and paranoia — “I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal”.

P4 — demonstrates the religious messages of Macbeth — don’t commit sinful behavior.

P5 — demonstrates Shakespeare’s political beliefs — his faith in the Feudal system / his mistrust of New Politics.

PRACTISE ESSAY 2:

How does Shakespeare make this scene particularly terrifying?

500–600 Words essay.

5 Paragraphs:

  • Intro — 50 words — Go over points quickly > thesis at the end
  • Paragraph 1 (PEAL) — 165 words
  • Paragraph 2 (PEAL) — 165 words
  • Paragraph 3 (PEAL) — 165 words
  • Conclusion — Recap strongest points quickly > Link back to the thesis

Paragraph plans

  • Shakespeare makes this scene particularly terrifying by… (religion)
  • Furthermore, the scene is particularly terrifying due to … (fear)
  • Another way that Shakespeare has made this scene particularly terrifying is… (supernatural)

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE:

Point — 1 Sentence

Evidence — Quotation (no longer than 7 words).

Analysis — Identify techniques, language features, vocabulary, and dramatic devices ‘how / why’ something works in a certain way.

Evaluation — assessing the importance/significance of something.

Link — Link back to text and thesis.

Thesis: The significant turning point for Macbeth in the play as he realizes that he is unable to say amen and might be haunted due to his deed. Macbeth is a dynamic character, a tragic hero who undergoes a tragic fall, and this moment demonstrates the point at which his mind begins to disintegrate and he is abandoned by God, which would be very terrifying for a Shakespearean audience.

Top Level Mark Scheme:

  • Answers in this band have all the qualities of Band 2 work, with further  insight, sensitivity, individuality, and flair.  They maintain a  sustained engagement  with both text and task.
  • Sustains a perceptive, convincing and relevant personal response
  • Shows a clear critical understanding of the text.
  • Responds sensitively and in detail to the way the writer achieves her/his effects (sustaining a convincing voice in an empathic task).
  • Integrates much well-selected reference to the text

‘Make’ > understand and discuss dramatic devices

‘Particularly’ > evaluation word

Thesis: ‘what we think/feel/realize’

Shakespeare makes this scene particularly terrifying through the implicit meanings in the text. He uses varying vocabulary and language features such as allegory and allusion, which are seen throughout the text, to create a frightening atmosphere. This mainly revolves around Macbeth, a dynamic character, whose insight to murder has changed. We realize that Macbeth is unable to cope with his past actions due to his current actions.

QUOTES/IDEAS:

“ Didst thou not hear a noise ?” — Macbeth builds tension/suspense, a small amount of fear, later layers up into terror.

“ The owl scream ” — Lady Macbeth, possible link to Duncan’s death, possible horror sound, ‘scream’ > personification.

“ As I descended ?” — Macbeth, descent downstairs, but also perhaps signifies hell/degeneration into evil + madness.

Disjoined / lack of connection between characters — Macbeth is jumpy. They disagree. Macbeth is empathetic towards Donalbain > ‘ sorry sight’, Lady Macbeth is cold and says he is ‘foolish’.

“ There’s one did laugh in’s sleep, and one cried ‘Murder !’,” > terrifying, because two random people woke up during Macbeth murdering Duncan, they have a premonition or some sort of awareness.

“ I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’/ Stuck in my throat. ” > he’s under the influence of evil, so God has abandoned him, he’s past the point of redemption, perhaps the turning point where he realizes he can’t go back, psychological?

“ It will make us mad ” > Lady Macbeth feels that the two of them will be mad if they dwell on their deeds in a negative way.

“ Macbeth does murder sleep ” > this is particularly terrifying as sleep also means rest and peace. Not only is Macbeth murdering sleep, but he is murdering rest and peace which he will not get as he will be haunted by the murder. ( personification )

“ Smear / The sleepy grooms with blood ” > the fact that they can pass the blame so easily and effectively is terrifying, what else can they pass the blame for if they can pass the blame for the murder.

“ Painted devil ” > the image of a dead body is likened to a painted devil seen by a child. They are just images that are feared.

“ Clean from my hand? No ” > No amount of water will be able to wash the blood off of Macbeth’s hands. He will never be able to forget about the blood on his hands, in a metaphorical sense.

“ Making the green one red ” > His hands will turn the sea red. That is the amount of blood which he bears.

Foreshadowing Lady Macbeth’s ‘out damned spot’:

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say! — One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! — Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? — Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” >  5.1, just before she commits suicide, a descent into madness — she sees spots of blood on her hands, paralleling Macebeth’s visions of blood.

Motif – recurring element of a story (lack of sleep/blood on hands).

ESSAY PLAN 3:

In what ways does Shakespeare make the relationship between Macbeth and Banquo so compelling?

P1 — Intro — Shakespeare makes the relationship between Macbeth and Banquo so compelling through the exploration of the themes of deception, death, and good versus evil. The discussion of such themes leads us, as the reader, to come to the conclusion that Macbeth is a sinister character who has somehow managed to befriend an honest, decent man, Banquo which leads to a relationship filled with tension.

P2- Deception- “I fear thou have played most foully for it” “fruitless crown” “I wish your horses swift and sure of foot”

P3 — death- “Banquo, thy soul’s flight…find heaven”  Enter the Ghost of Banquo and sits in Macbeth’s place  (stage directions)

P4 — good versus evil- juxtaposing of characters

Conclusion — strongest points again

ESSAY PLAN 4:

‘Macbeth is not an evil man, but one led astray by those around him’.

To what extent do you agree with this view?

You should write 500–600 words.

Thesis — I believe that Macbeth is an evil man and is responsible for his own actions. His sheer greed for power is what has led him astray and it was his choice to kill Duncan and have Banquo and Fleance as well as Macduff’s family killed. He has shown throughout the play that his greed, not those around him, has led him astray.

Paragraph 1: — Intro- include thesis and quick overview Paragraph 2: — Disagree paragraph Paragraph 3: — Disagree paragraph Paragraph 4: — Agree paragraph (counter) Paragraph 5: — Conclusion (quick overview of strongest points, thesis)

Point -main point

Evidence -quotation

Analysis -why/how does it relate to argument

Context -context to shakespearean times

Alternative interpretation -alternative view

Link -back to thesis

  • Told by the witches that he will be king.
  • Pressured by Lady Macbeth to kill Duncan.
  • Witches tell him that Banquo’s descendants shall be king, incites Macbeth. Witches may have known that this would have riled Macbeth up.
  • Witches told Macbeth he will be king so he could have waited until he became King the right way.
  • Macbeth could have stood up to Lady Macbeth and told her no.
  • Macbeth felt the need to have Banquo and Fleance killed, nobody pressured him to do so.
  • Macbeth had Macduff’s family killed for no good reason.
  • Macbeth acted on his own accord.

If you’re studying Macbeth, you can click here to buy our full online course. Use the code “SHAKESPEARE” to receive a 50% discount!

You will gain access to  over 8 hours  of  engaging video content , plus  downloadable PDF guides  for  Macbeth  that cover the following topics:

  • Character analysis
  • Plot summaries
  • Deeper themes

There are also tiered levels of analysis that allow you to study up to  GCSE ,  A Level  and  University level .

You’ll find plenty of  top level example essays  that will help you to  write your own perfect ones!

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ATAR Notes

10 things to know when studying Shakespeare's Macbeth

Monday 8th, August 2022

Jess Laven graduated in 2020 with an ATAR of 96.60. In this article, Jess runs through 10 top tips for success when studying Shakespeare's Macbeth . Check out ATAR Notes' Text Guide for Macbeth here . 📚

It is possible that you’ll study Shakespeare’s Macbeth during your high school career, particularly for an English exam. You’re probably having regicidal thoughts at the mere mention of Shakespeare, let alone Macbeth , but it doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2020, I managed to achieve full marks on my external English exam, which was based on Macbeth . I’ve compiled my top 10 tips for studying Shakespeare’s Macbeth that will help you to ace your external English exam without a trace of blood on your hands.

1. Read both the original and translated versions

My school’s copies of Macbeth had a translated version of the script alongside the original Shakespearean version. Full translations are also available for free online.

I recommend reading both versions. You need to be familiar with the original play since this is what you’ll be assessed on; however, reading more than 17,000 words that you don’t understand isn’t productive by itself.

macbeth essay help

In the original script, Lady Macbeth calls on the spirits that tend on mortal thoughts to unsex her. While it’s important to know how she phrases this infamous quote, reading the modern version will allow you to understand the meaning behind the words. In this instance, Lady Macbeth is asking the spirits that assist murderous thoughts to make her less like a woman and more like a man.

2. Read the script more than once

In Year 12, my peers and I read the original Shakespearean version of Macbeth as a class. In addition to this, I took it upon myself to read the translated version twice, including once on the weekend before my Monday exam to ensure it was fresh in my memory.

It is unlikely that you will fully understand Macbeth after reading the play only once, so reading it a second and potentially a third time is crucial. Doing so is also useful when it comes to compiling quotes, which I will elaborate on shortly.

When I read the translated version, I would consistently refer to the original version, which was conveniently right next to the translation in my copy of the play. This is important because you need to remember and quote the language Shakespeare used in his original play.

3. Don't watch a movie adaption as a substitute for reading the play

If you’re thinking of watching one of the movie adaptions as a substitute for reading the play, think again. While such movies may give you a better understanding of some aspects of Macbeth , they are all significantly different from the original play.

If you choose to watch any Macbeth movie adaptions, ensure that it is to complement the knowledge you gain from reading the play. Also, be careful not to confuse the movies with the play because some inconsistencies could cause you to get your facts wrong in your exam. 

4. Don't call Macbeth a book

Sometimes it’s the little things. My Year 12 English teacher couldn’t stress enough that Macbeth is not a book. In actual fact, Macbeth is a play, and the 17,000 words I mentioned earlier make up the script. 

When you refer to Macbeth , whether it be in your essay writing, verbally or otherwise, always refer to it as a play or text. This will show that you truly understand the context in which Macbeth came to be.  

5. Underline Macbeth when referring to the play

Since “Macbeth” is both the title of the play and a character within the play, you need to differentiate between these in your writing to provide clarity. Therefore, whenever you refer to the play in your writing, always underline “ Macbeth ,” as has been done throughout this article. The reason why you shouldn’t use italics is that this won’t be an option when you’re handwriting an external exam.

macbeth essay help

6. Practise writing Macbeth essays

I have no doubt that you’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.” While you should keep in mind that “perfect” is as real as Macbeth’s hallucinations (nonexistent), the message behind these words holds true: you should regularly write analytical essays to help you improve your essay writing skills. Since this is a progressive exercise, you should practise writing Macbeth essays well in advance of your exam to allow time for you to improve. You should also practise writing with pen and paper in exam conditions to reflect the environment you’ll be in for your exam.

Research Macbeth essay questions or ask your teacher for a list and then start writing. Seek feedback from your teacher to help you identify where you need to improve. This will help you to write a well-structured and grammatically and factually accurate essay that showcases your knowledge and, ultimately, responds to the essay prompt. There is no better way to test your knowledge of a topic than to explain it to others, whether it be in essay or spoken form.

7. Do your own research

Hopefully, your teacher will provide you with lots of resources and insight that will give you a strong understanding of the play; however, you should do your own research too. This will give you more ideas about the quotes you should memorise and how you can analyse them. Since the number of quotes available to you during the exam will be limited to your memory, it’s important to know how to spin quotes so you can use them in a range of ways for a range of prompts.

8. Compile a list of quotes to memorise

I compiled a list of more than 60 quotes and noted down the basic meaning of each quote, as well as what themes each quote related to and how. Recording themes like this will help you to make sure you have a broad range of quotes and an in-depth understanding of how each quote can be analysed to suit a range of possible essay prompts.

I wrote my list of quotes in chronological order – the order that they appeared in the play – to help me remember the act and scene numbers. While remembering the quotes themselves is more important than remembering the acts and scenes they came from, this is still worth doing to showcase your knowledge.

The scripts you read may express act and scene numbers as Roman numerals, but you can write them in our everyday numerical form. If you are writing Act 4, Scene 2, you would write these numbers in brackets with a full stop between them, as follows: (4.2).

If you are a visual person, finding a small picture that represents each quote may be a memory strategy you would like to try. For example, for Lady Macbeth’s well-known quote, “Look like th' innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t,” you could have an image of a flower or a snake.

9. Focus on the Elizabethan Era

Macbeth was written in the Elizabethan era. The language you use and the way you analyse the play should reflect this fact.

For example, when analysing Macbeth’s themes, such as gender, femininity or masculinity, do not do so with a modern lens. We may see Lady Macbeth’s dominance and ambition as a testament to the strength of women from a contemporary perspective. Nevertheless, in the Elizabethan era, her behaviour would have been considered unnatural.

Similarly, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is unique for the Elizabethan era, which is evident when we compare it to that of Macduff and Lady Macduff. In that time, such relationships would be loving and mutually respectful, but, unnatural as she is, Lady Macbeth holds power over Macbeth. This allows her to influence their plans for regicide and acts as the initial catalyst for Macbeth’s downfall.

In terms of language use, there are words we use today that don’t reflect the context of the play. For instance, when Macbeth killed King Duncan, he committed regicide, not murder. This is because regicide specifically refers to the act of killing a king or queen, while murder is broader.

macbeth essay help

Familiarise yourself with the Elizabethan era and the language that reflects the time and the characters’ royal status.

10. Access ATAR Notes' resources

I used the ATAR Notes Text Guide on Macbeth to help me understand the play and identify and analyse important quotes. I also attended ATAR Notes’ free English lecture during their annual September lecture series. I recommend taking advantage of resources such as these to give you the edge in your English exam.

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macbeth essay help

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William Shakespeare

  • Literature Notes
  • Macbeth at a Glance
  • Play Summary
  • About Macbeth
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Act I: Scene 1
  • Act I: Scene 2
  • Act I: Scene 3
  • Act I: Scene 4
  • Act I: Scene 5
  • Act I: Scene 6
  • Act I: Scene 7
  • Act II: Scene 1
  • Act II: Scene 2
  • Act II: Scene 3
  • Act II: Scene 4
  • Act III: Scene 1
  • Act III: Scene 2
  • Act III: Scene 3
  • Act III: Scene 4
  • Act III: Scene 5
  • Act III: Scene 6
  • Act IV: Scene 1
  • Act IV: Scene 2
  • Act IV: Scene 3
  • Act V: Scene 1
  • Act V: Scene 2
  • Act V: Scene 3
  • Act V: Scene 4
  • Act V: Scene 5
  • Act V: Scene 6
  • Act V: Scene 7
  • Act V: Scene 8
  • Act V: Scene 9
  • Character Analysis
  • Lady Macbeth
  • Character Map
  • William Shakespeare Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Major Themes
  • Major Symbols and Motifs
  • Macbeth on the Stage
  • Famous Quotes
  • Film Versions
  • Full Glossary
  • Essay Questions
  • Practice Projects
  • Cite this Literature Note

In Macbeth , William Shakespeare 's tragedy about power, ambition, deceit, and murder, the Three Witches foretell Macbeth 's rise to King of Scotland but also prophesy that future kings will descend from Banquo , a fellow army captain. Prodded by his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth , he murders King Duncan , becomes king, and sends mercenaries to kill Banquo and his sons. His attempts to defy the prophesy fail, however;  Macduff kills Macbeth, and Duncan's son Malcolm becomes king.

Written by: William Shakespeare

Type of Work: play

Genres: drama; tragedy

First Published: probably around 1605-1606

Setting: Scotland

Main Characters : Macbeth ; Lady Macbeth ; Duncan ; Macduff ; Banquo ; Malcolm

Major Thematic Topics : fall of man; gender roles ; fortune; fate; free will; kingship/natural order; ambition; love of self

Motifs : revenge; sanity; prophecy

Major Symbols: hands; the Three Witches; ghosts

Movie Versions: Macbeth (1948); A Performance of Macbeth (1979); Scotland,Pa . (2001)

The three most important aspects of Macbeth:

  • Lady Macbeth is one of the most famous female characters in all of literature. Macbeth's wife is smart, ambitious, and brave. She is undone, however, by her ambition, and by her utter ruthlessness.
  • The most famous speech in this play full of famous lines and speeches is Macbeth's soliloquy that begins " Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day/To the last syllable of recorded time . . . . " These lines express Macbeth's utter hopelessness near the tragedy's end about not only his life, but life in general.
  • It is a widely held superstition in the world of theater that saying the play's name aloud brings bad luck. Instead, actors, directors, and other theater people refer to Macbeth as " the Scottish play. "

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Macbeth - Entire Play

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Macbeth , set primarily in Scotland, mixes witchcraft, prophecy, and murder. Three “Weïrd Sisters” appear to Macbeth and his comrade Banquo after a battle and prophesy that Macbeth will be king and that the descendants of Banquo will also reign. When Macbeth arrives at his castle, he and Lady Macbeth plot to assassinate King Duncan, soon to be their guest, so that Macbeth can become king.

After Macbeth murders Duncan, the king’s two sons flee, and Macbeth is crowned. Fearing that Banquo’s descendants will, according to the Weïrd Sisters’ predictions, take over the kingdom, Macbeth has Banquo killed. At a royal banquet that evening, Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost appear covered in blood. Macbeth determines to consult the Weïrd Sisters again. They comfort him with ambiguous promises.

Another nobleman, Macduff, rides to England to join Duncan’s older son, Malcolm. Macbeth has Macduff’s wife and children murdered. Malcolm and Macduff lead an army against Macbeth, as Lady Macbeth goes mad and commits suicide.

Macbeth confronts Malcolm’s army, trusting in the Weïrd Sisters’ comforting promises. He learns that the promises are tricks, but continues to fight. Macduff kills Macbeth and Malcolm becomes Scotland’s king.

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The Study Blog :

Simplified macbeth essay guide: summary, key themes, topics and examples.

By Evans Jan 07 2021

Have you ever been so excited about something that you threw reason out of the window? Maybe a palm reader tells you that you will marry your celebrity crush and you end a long term relationship to pave way for this celebrity crush? We have all been silly at some point in life, ambition making us forsake the voice of reason. This is basically what Macbeth is all about; a prophecy that ruins the life of a gallant soldier as he attempts to bite more than he can chew. Before we learn how to write a Macbeth essay, let's begin by looking at the summary and key themes in Macbeth

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Summary of Macbeth

Shakespeare's Macbeth starts with two Scotland generals, Macbeth and Banquo. The two are on their way after fighting two separate enemies. On the way, they meet with three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will be made thane and will later on become king of Scotland. They also tell Banquo that although he will never become king, he will sire a line of kings. When the first part of the prophecy is fulfilled, Macbeth is full of ambition that he does not see reason. He kills King Duncan and becomes the king in his place. Afraid of the rest of the prophecy coming true, Macbeth, instigated by his wife, kills Banquo, and his downfall begins. Macbeth will destroy anything and anyone to protect his power. He is so determined to ensure that the last part of the prophecy does not come true, which only leads to people hating his tyrannical rule and him facing an untimely death.

You might also like: Simplified Beowulf essay guide: Themes, Topics, and Examples

Macbeth key themes

'Ambition is a drug that makes its addicts potential madmen .' Before the prophecy, Macbeth seems okay with his life. However, the moment he learns that he can become much more, he loses all control and allows ambition to blind him. At first, he kills King Duncan against his better judgment. However, once he kills to clinch power, he can't seem to stop. He kills whoever tries to oppose him, and finally, he ends up dead.

Supernatural

The supernatural plays a massive role in Macbeth. Macbeth is thrown into a frenzy when the witches tell him that he will be made thane and that later on, he will become king of Scotland. When the first part happens on its own, Macbeth decides to give the prophecy a push and kills King Duncan. Later on, he will do anything to make sure that the rest of it doesn't come to pass.

Guilt plays quite a significant theme in Macbeth. Macbeth feels guilty for killing King Duncan and Banquo. He chooses to deal with that guilt by killing more people, which makes it worse. Macbeth is not the only one being eaten up by guilt. Lady Macbeth slowly loses her sanity after encouraging her husband to kill against his better judgment. She begins sleepwalking, believing that the king's blood is in her hands and there is nothing she can do to wash it off. She does not get a way out of the guilt that is slowly costing her sanity.

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macbeth essay help

How to write a Macbeth essay

There's nothing as sweet as getting lost in one of Shakespeare's tragic drama. Macbeth is an interesting play to read. However, reading it for school might not be as fun since it involves a lot more than just reading a beautiful story for its beauty. You have to read it, understand it, and analyze it for whatever essay you are supposed to write. Lucky for you, you do not need to worry about that. Paperperhour.com has a team of the best writers who excel in writing literary essays. You do not have to worry about failing in your Macbeth assignment with the right writer.

Macbeth essay topics

There are so many topics that one can write about when it comes to Macbeth. In some cases, the professor will provide you with a given topic and ask you to write a Macbeth essay on it. However, you might be required to choose the essay topic for yourself in some cases. You do not need to worry about how to go about it in such a case. Paper per hour  has provided a list of Macbeth essay topics that you can choose from.

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Critical essay topics for Macbeth

  • Macbeth is the villain of the play. discuss 
  • Discuss the influence that the witches have on Macbeth.
  • What is the role of the women in Macbeth? How does society treat women?
  • Is Lady Macbeth responsible for bringing Macbeth to power or for ruining him?
  • What do Macbeth's visions symbolize?

Analysis essay topics for Macbeth Essay

  • Analyze the prophecies given by the witches. Do all the prophecies come to pass?
  • What are the roles of Macduff and Malcolm?
  • Analyze contributions of two minor characters
  • The role of light and darkness in the play
  • Development of Macbeth as a character in the play
  • Analyze Banquo's reaction to the witches' prophecy
  • Look at the lies, and the half-lies told in the play and their significance.
  • Analyze Macbeth as a tragedy drama

Comparative essay topics for Macbeth

  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Banquo. Are there any similarities between them? What sets them apart? Can we easily dismiss Macbeth as the villain of the play?
  • How do Macbeth and Banquo react to the news of the prophecy? How does the prophecy bring out their true selves?
  • Compare between Macbeth, the main character, and Vladimir Putin. How are they similar? What differences do they have?

Controversial essay topics on Macbeth

  • Describe the seven sin in Macbeth
  • How does Macbeth fit in the Greek mythology?
  • Who is responsible for the death of Macbeth?
  • Who would make the best king for Scotland?

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Getting the right essay topic is the first step to answering a Macbeth question. However, if you are not yet sure of what to write about, worry not; our experts are here to help you out. You do not need to struggle with a Macbeth essay while we have experts whose joy comes from working on such essays . With paper per hour, you are assured of:

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20 Essays About Macbeth – Exploring A Tragic Play Through Written Words

Is Macbeth a tragic hero? Here are 20 essays about Macbeth that can help you explore this and other questions.

Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare initially performed in the early 1600s, explores the decline of the character Macbeth as his ambition drives him mad. As Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, literary critics and school students often discuss this play.

In the story, Macbeth is given a prophecy from three witches that he is destined to become King of Scotland. His wife overhears, and she joins him on a quest to make this happen that ends in several murders.

Like all of Shakespeare’s works, this play lends itself well to interesting essay topics. If you need to write one, these ideas for essays about Macbeth will get you started. You might also be interested in these essay topics about Macbeth .

For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers .

1. Explore Macbeth’s Mental Deterioration

2. discuss what mental health problems macbeth had, 3. explore gender roles in macbeth, 4. determine macbeth’s tragic flaw, 5. decide if the witches in macbeth are real, 6. compare and contrast macduff, banquo, and macbeth, 7. discuss the role of blood in macbeth, 8. determine how macbeth’s ambition led to his downfall, 9. decide whether macbeth is a moral play, 10. which macbeth betrayal is worse, 11. what motivated macbeth’s actions, 12. compare and contrast macbeth and banquo’s behaviors after hearing the prophecy, 13. sleep as a theme in macbeth, 14. who is responsible for macbeth becoming king of scotland, 15. how macbeth’s ambition and paranoia intertwine, 16. does macbeth have free will, or is he serving fate.

  • 17. What Is the Main Root of Evil in Shakespeare’s Play, Macbeth?

18. Who Really Pushed Macbeth to Murder?

19. are malcolm, macduff, or banquo necessary characters in the play, 20. how do you feel about macbeth at the end of the play.

Essays About Macbeth

The character of Macbeth goes through a significant mental health crisis throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth seems like a mentally healthy and stable individual. As the story unfolds and his greed for power increases, his mental health declines.

This essay could discuss what caused the mental health decline in the play’s main character, or it could simply explore the progression. There are many ways to take this essay idea and expand it into an intricate piece. A closer look at Macbeth’s mind reveals several fascinating scenarios.

Mental health is a theme of the play Macbeth . Today, more knowledge about mental health conditions and their effects makes it possible to explore these themes more deeply. An engaging Macbeth essay idea would be to examine what mental health concerns he possibly had.

This essay idea requires a little bit of research outside of the play itself. You will need to research potential mental health conditions that line up with Macbeth’s character development. However, it can be an exciting way to explore the character more in-depth.

Gender roles in the Shakesperean world are interesting to explore when contrasting them to modern ideas about gender and the role of women in society. Lady Macbeth begins to take on masculine characteristics in this play as she pushes Macbeth towards Duncan’s murder and takes the dominant role in the marriage.

Lady Macbeth actually asks the spirits to take away her gender at one point in the play. The weird sisters also disrupt the traditional gender roles of Shakespeare’s time. They even boast beards, which further indicates this disparity.

The realities of human nature mean that people have inborn character traits that make life more challenging for them. A tragic flaw is a character’s defect that eventually leads to their downfall. Since Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy, the main character has a tragic flaw that is the eventual cause of his demise.

What is Macbeth’s tragic flaw? Answering this question can lead to a detailed essay. Your conclusion may be different from someone else’s conclusion. Within the article, you can explore the proof that your idea about Macbeth’s tragic flaw is the right one.

The weird sisters in Macbeth are some of the unique characters in the play. Yet because many of the themes are about ghosts and dreams, the reader is left to wonder whether or not these witches are real.

This topic could create an exciting essay. The writer would look at different aspects of the play to determine whether Shakespeare is alluding to the witches’ reality or leaving them as a figment of Macbeth’s imagination, using the essay to discuss the potential proofs.

This essay topic gives the writer the chance to show the similarities and differences between these three characters. Throughout doing so, the writer can argue whether one of the characters is the story’s true villain. The differences and similarities would provide a significant amount of writing material.

With this topic, the writer could compare and contrast all three or pick just two, depending on the length of the essay. The writer should look at character qualities and the players’ actions within the story.

Essays About Macbeth: Discuss the role of blood in Macbeth

Throughout the play, blood serves as a symbol of guilt . For example, Macbeth says: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” He feels the blood will never be off his hands, indicating his guilt’s depth.

Lady Macbeth says, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!. Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” As she tries to remove a bloodstain no one else can see, it is clear she also feels tremendous guilt for her crimes.

Explore the role of blood in the play and discuss how it symbolizes guilt in your essay. 

Many literary critics believe that Macbeth’s ambition was his tragic flaw. His ambition makes him repeatedly kill because he must continue killing to cover up his past murders. All of this drive to be the king of Scotland makes him lose control.

The downfall of his unbridled ambition is shown when he murders Macduff’s wife and children. This part of the play shows that Macbeth has lost all control over his dream, and this action is what causes many to call it his tragic flaw.

A moral play is one where justice is served in the end. Macbeth loses his life, which could indicate justice served for the murder of Duncan. However, others may argue that there is very little morality throughout the play.

Can a play about murder and unbridled ambition indeed be a moral play? This is the question you must try to answer through this essay. It has no right or wrong answer, so spend some time considering it.

In the play, Macbeth betrays two people. First, he crosses King Duncan by plotting and executing his murder. Second, he betrays his friend Manquo by killing his family.

This essay will discuss which of these two betrayals is considered worse. Is it worse to betray a monarch, or is it worse to betray someone close to you? The answer will be based on your opinion, and you can use the essay to explain and defend your choice.

Macbeth’s actions in the play stem from a deeper motivation, but you need to figure out how to express just what that is. Is he motivated by his ambition primarily, or does the fear of the supernatural spur him to action?

Take a look at the clues in the play to determine your answer to this crucial question, then craft an essay that proves your choice. You may discover a motivator that few have written on. Use it well, and you can compose an engaging article on this topic.

Both Macbeth and Banquo’s behaviors change after hearing the witches’ prophecy. You can create an essay that compares these responses and contrasts them. Take some time to study them before you begin writing.

This type of character analysis and contrast works well for an essay. It shows your critical thinking abilities. With this essay topic, you can also explore the negative and positive changes the characters experience throughout Shakespeare’s play.

In Macbeth , the main character spends a lot of time asleep and having dreams. This fact means that sleep is a central theme of the play, and that idea can create an exciting essay topic option.

Why do you think Shakespeare relies on sleep so much in his story? Is there a parallel between the decline in mental health and the increase in the sleep of the main character? This essay idea can go quite far as you delve into the topic.

As the play nears its climax, Macbeth moves from being the thane of Cawdor to the King of Scotland due to his betrayal and murder, but who is responsible? Is Lady Macbeth the responsible party, or do the witches have a role to play? Is the responsibility all on Macbeth himself?

The story of the tragic hero can have quite a few responsible parties. You may come to a different conclusion than another writer. If you can clearly defend your choice, you have a solid essay idea on your hands.

Towards the end of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth’s ambition and paranoia become so entwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. This progression could make for an interesting essay topic. You could explore the progression, then show how his obsession made it impossible to enjoy his role as king.

To make this essay topic work, you will want to look at the fact that the sad end of the play shows Macbeth without the potential to produce an heir and thus no hope for a future legacy. His ambition and paranoia mixing in this way eventually led to his downfall.

Because of the witches’ prophecy, one could argue that Macbeth lacks free will in the play and instead is simply following the fate prophesied to him. On the other hand, you could also argue that everyone has free will, regardless of what some weird sisters say.

Once you decide your stand on this question, take a close look at the play to determine the proofs that show whether or not Macbeth has free will. Then expound on your findings in your essay.

17. What Is the Main Root of Evil in Shakespeare’s Play,  Macbeth ?

Is the desire for power what causes the evil in the play, or is it Macbeth’s ambition? Is it the underlying forces of evil from the weird sisters or something else? Study the play and determine what you think the root of evil is.

Once you choose, make a case for your choice. Show proof from the play that backs your choice. While there are many causes for the tragedy, you should be able to build a case for one central underlying cause.

There are two characters in the play that push Macbeth to embrace his ambition and pursue it to the point of murder. First, the three witches make the prophecy that gets him thinking about murder.

However, a closer study of the play shows that his wife, more so than the weird sisters, causes him to cross that ethical line and become a murderer. So in your essay, you could easily argue that Lady Macbeth, not the three witches, led to his demise.

As you consider the play’s plot, consider whether any of these three characters could be left out without changing the meaning or direction of the story. You may find that one or more is an unnecessary character.

After discovering who the unnecessary character is in the play, you can discuss it in your essay. Expound on why the character does not bring anything of value to the storyline and how you feel the play could move along better without them.

A final essay topic about Macbeth is a more personal one. Discuss how you feel towards the main character when the play is over. Do you have compassion for his mental illness and overall plight, or are you disgusted by his actions?

Because this is an opinion piece, be careful to explain why you feel the way you do. Expound on your attitude using examples from the play to make this an effective essay.

When studying a piece of literature , understanding what makes up a story can help you discuss and analyze it more effectively. Read our article on  literary elements .

macbeth essay help

Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

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  1. A+ Student Essay: The Significance of Equivocation in Macbeth

    A+ Student Essay: The Significance of Equivocation in Macbeth. Macbeth is a play about subterfuge and trickery. Macbeth, his wife, and the three Weird Sisters are linked in their mutual refusal to come right out and say things directly. Instead, they rely on implications, riddles, and ambiguity to evade the truth.

  2. PDF Six Macbeth' essays by Wreake Valley students

    Level 5 essay Lady Macbeth is shown as forceful and bullies Macbeth here in act 1.7 when questioning him about his masculinity. This follows from when Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth to be ambitious when Macbeth writes her a letter and she reads it as a soliloquy in act 1.5.

  3. Macbeth: Study Help

    Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Macbeth: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. In Macbeth , William Shakespeare's tragedy about power, ambition, deceit, and murder, the Three Witches foretell Macbeth's rise to King of Scotland but also prophesy that future kings will descend from ...

  4. How to Write an Essay on Macbeth

    As you get started on an essay about Macbeth, you will want to reflect on the major characters, themes, and quotations that stand out and make the play the tragedy that it is. The major characters ...

  5. AQA English Revision

    Strategy 2: A structured essay with an argument. This strategy allows you to get a much higher marks as it's structured to form an argument about the whole text. Although you might think that's harder - and it's probably going to score more highly - I'd argue that it's actually easier to master. Mainly because you do most of the work before the ...

  6. Macbeth: Critical Essays

    Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Macbeth: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. In Macbeth , William Shakespeare's tragedy about power, ambition, deceit, and murder, the Three Witches foretell Macbeth's rise to King of Scotland but also prophesy that future kings will descend from ...

  7. Macbeth Study Guide

    Historical Context of Macbeth. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, King James of Scotland became King of England. James almost immediately gave his patronage to Shakespeare's company, making them the King's Men. In many ways, Macbeth can be seen as a show of gratitude from Shakespeare to his new King and benefactor.

  8. Macbeth: Critical Essays

    Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Macbeth: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. In Macbeth , William Shakespeare's tragedy about power, ambition, deceit, and murder, the Three Witches foretell Macbeth's rise to King of Scotland but also prophesy that future kings will descend from ...

  9. Macbeth Suggested Essay Topics

    Essays and criticism on William Shakespeare's Macbeth - Suggested Essay Topics. ... Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework ...

  10. Shakespeare's Macbeth essay, summary, quotes and character analysis

    Timeline. Master Shakespeare's Macbeth using Absolute Shakespeare's Macbeth essay, plot summary, quotes and characters study guides. Plot Summary: A quick review of the plot of Macbeth including every important action in the play. An ideal introduction before reading the original text. Commentary: Detailed description of each act with ...

  11. Macbeth: Study Guide

    Macbeth by William Shakespeare, which is believed to have been written around 1606, is a timeless tragedy that delves into the corrosive effects of unchecked ambition. Set against the backdrop of medieval Scotland, the play follows the tragic downfall of Macbeth, at first a brave and honorable general. His fate takes a drastic turn when he ...

  12. The Scrbbly Blog

    P2- Deception- "I fear thou have played most foully for it" "fruitless crown" "I wish your horses swift and sure of foot". P3 — death- "Banquo, thy soul's flight…find heaven" Enter the Ghost of Banquo and sits in Macbeth's place (stage directions) P4 — good versus evil- juxtaposing of characters.

  13. Macbeth Essays

    Essays and criticism on William Shakespeare's Macbeth - Essays. Select an area of the website to search ... There are no potteries, jewellery, or coins to help, but there is a piece of Gaelic ...

  14. 10 things to know when studying Shakespeare's Macbeth

    Research Macbeth essay questions or ask your teacher for a list and then start writing. Seek feedback from your teacher to help you identify where you need to improve. This will help you to write a well-structured and grammatically and factually accurate essay that showcases your knowledge and, ultimately, responds to the essay prompt.

  15. Macbeth: Essay Writing Guide for GCSE (9-1)

    Essay Plan Six: Discuss how far you think Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a leader. Essay Plan Seven: How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as a woman who is losing control. Product ISBN: 978-1-9163735-1-8. Published: ... The example essays help them to see how an essay can come together and meet the marking criteria. It is also giving them ...

  16. Macbeth Essay Topics

    These essay topics will help students explore and understand the major themes and characters of Macbeth. These prompts will help students create expository essays, compare and contrast essays, as ...

  17. Macbeth: At a Glance

    Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Macbeth: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. In Macbeth , William Shakespeare's tragedy about power, ambition, deceit, and murder, the Three Witches foretell Macbeth's rise to King of Scotland but also prophesy that future kings will descend from ...

  18. Macbeth

    Cite. Macbeth - Entire Play. Jump to. Synopsis: Macbeth, set primarily in Scotland, mixes witchcraft, prophecy, and murder. Three "Weïrd Sisters" appear to Macbeth and his comrade Banquo after a battle and prophesy that Macbeth will be king and that the descendants of Banquo will also reign. When Macbeth arrives at his castle, he and Lady ...

  19. Simplified Macbeth Essay Guide: Summary, Key themes, Topics and

    Getting the right essay topic is the first step to answering a Macbeth question. However, if you are not yet sure of what to write about, worry not; our experts are here to help you out. You do not need to struggle with a Macbeth essay while we have experts whose joy comes from working on such essays. With paper per hour, you are assured of:

  20. What is a good thesis for an essay on Macbeth by Shakespeare?

    For example, for an essay about Macbeth and his ambition, I might create this thesis statement: Macbeth, as the tragic hero of the play, is driven to his own demise by his tragic flaw -- ambition ...

  21. 20 Essays About Macbeth

    Here are 20 essays about Macbeth that can help you explore this and other questions. Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare initially performed in the early 1600s, explores the decline of the character Macbeth as his ambition drives him mad. As Shakespeare's shortest tragedy, literary critics and school students often discuss this play. ...

  22. Macbeth essay help : r/shakespeare

    The idea of human nature is prevalent in " Macbeth " with Shakespeare exploring the idea of unbridled, immoral ambition and masculinity. The cause of unbridled, immoral ambition is due to temptation and desire for power which in turn leads to punishment and inner turmoil. Masculinity in " Macbeth " is caused by the idea of taking action ...

  23. Summary: The Core Theme Of Appearances Being Deceiving ...

    Like a Mother teaching a child to paint, Lady Macbeth guides Macbeths every stroke in becoming a master of masking appearances through the devious art of lying. They are very much alike, when looking in the mirror, one represents both. Both protagonists would not have dramatically changed without the help or ambitious goals of the other.