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Macbeth Essay

Macbeth Essay

Choose one of the following topics for your essay. Develop it thoroughly and specifically with "sparkling prose." This is half of your semester exam grade.

1. In many works of literature, the main character is developed partially through the use of a "foil,' that is, a character who, by providing a strong contrast to the main character, underscores the characteristics of the main character. In a well-organized essay, discuss the ways in which either Banquo or Macduff serves as a foil to Macbeth. Draw evidence from the play to support your assertions. Do not merely summarize.

2. Some readers argue that Macbeth was completely a victim of the Witches' misleading prophecies (and later, of Lady Macbeth's manipulation). Others argue that the Witches and Lady Macbeth simply provided the impetus to Macbeth's carrying out his own desires. In a well-organized essay, discuss which position you consider to be most accurate. Support your points with evidence from the play.


So, here's the deal...

The above was the original assignment, but then I got to thinking...maybe the above two topics do not buzz your buzzer. There is the issue of the supernatural in the play...then there is the character of Lady Macbeth, the most dominating female in all of Shakespeare's plays, who basically disintegrates before our eyes as the play goes on...then there are the themes of blinding ambition and appearance vs. reality and good vs. evil and the destructive force of power and the influence of superstition and on and on and on...then there are the powerful images and motifs...then there are the soliloquies...

Well, you get the picture...

So I decided to let you pick a topic, one about which you have at least a smattering of interest, and plan an essay about it. You must make a statement about the topic and defend it with specific support of two kinds, quotes from the play itself and commentary from an outside source. We will be in the library the week we come back from Christmas break. The essay in word processed, double-spaced format will be due at the end of the week on Friday. You may work on it between now and then as much as you like. You will also need to turn in a copy of the article that you use for a source in the essay. So, essentially, the opinions in the essay will be yours, the interpretation will be yours, the thoughts will be yours. You will just validate them from the play and source. (Or you can disagree with the source, if you wish.)

In case you are thinking...I think I will just exempt...not so will still have to write this essay. It will count as a test grade or as half of your semester exam. So choose wisely and have fun!

Additional Resources


 Literature Resource Center
   Student Resource Center - Gold
 EBSCO  Literary Reference Center
   Student Research Center