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Example Of Argumentative Essay On Macbeth By Shakespeare

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Literature , Hero , Murder , Leader , Macbeth , Crime , Leadership , Shakespeare

Words: 1100

Published: 02/17/2020


Thesis Statement

Macbeth was not an influential or powerful leader; in fact, he was a coward and insecure person. Introduction Macbeth is the protagonist of a story named Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare. The play is based on Scotland where the king of Scotland is at war with the King of Norway. It is argued that Macbeth was a brave and influential leader and this paper argues against this statement. In this essay, it has been argued that Macbeth was not an influential or powerful leader; in fact, he was a coward and insecure person. The explanations, presented in this paper, will also support the argument (Bell 13).

Macbeth is the story of a Scottish general who got the forecast that he would become a king one day. The witches gave the prophecy of becoming the king to him. The prediction of witches had a significant impact on the life of Macbeth, particularly, when the prophecy came true. The prophecy consumed the General with many ambitious thoughts that led him towards the murder of King Duncan. When witches told Macbeth about his chances of becoming a king, he started to dream that he would become a king one day. The desire for power urged him to make decisions, which filled him with the sense of guilt. The sense of guilt also resulted in the failure of the reign of Macbeth (Martin 1223). It has been argued in the story that Macbeth was consumed with guilt when he started his reign. The feeling of guilt urged him to commit more crimes in order to overcome the feeling of suspicion. It is believed that Macbeth was a brave soldier. However, this paper has argued against this statement. This essay has argued that Macbeth was not actually a brave leader; in fact, he was scared of his enemies. The fear of enemies made Macbeth suspicious of everyone. Therefore, he used to murder every enemy. A brave leader is one who fights with enemies in order to achieve victory. However, Macbeth used to use violence and murder to deal with enemies. Nevertheless, another argument associated with this issue is that Macbeth was guilty of his behavior and tactics. Macbeth was not comfortable in his role as a criminal and murderer (Noone 26). Another important argument, which has been made in this essay, is that Macbeth was not a tragic hero. In order to become a tragic hero, it is important for the character to suit the situation and the audience. It is also important for the hero to become consistent in his behavior. Macbeth can also not be considered a tragedy hero because the audience does not believe him. In order to become a tragic hero, it is important to meet certain qualities. The tragic hero is one who is of a noble status. However, Macbeth became evil when he was convinced to kill Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth encouraged her husband to kill the king. However, the decision was made by Macbeth; therefore, it was his fault (Parris 32). In the beginning of the story, the motive of Macbeth was normal. In the beginning of the story, Macbeth has been portrayed as a brave soldier. It has been argued that the rank and mobility were of great value for the king. However, the encounter of Macbeth with witches changed the situation. The encounter awakened the ambition of Macbeth (Tilmouth 501). Although Macbeth was involved in many crimes, he was concerned about morality and religion. At time, when Macbeth refused to murder a character, his wife urged me to attempt the murder. The problem with Macbeth was that he did not want to be identified as a coward. In order to prove to his wife that he was not a coward, Macbeth murdered Duncan. This situation supports the argument that Macbeth was not a brave leader. He was afraid of the perceptions of others about himself. The power of the kingdom increased the feeling of insecurity of Macbeth. He did not know how to utilize his power in an appropriate manner. In order to overcome his feeling of insecurity, Macbeth visited consulted witches. The witches made him believe that he could gain reign in the future. People often find it difficult to get what they want. In order to fulfill dreams and achieve goals, it is important to make efforts. The struggle to meet our goals has an impact on everyday life. Macbeth, the protagonist of the play, was lured to murder the king. When he achieved his goal of becoming the king, after murdering Ducan, he found that he was insecure. Macbeth also realized that he was not satisfied with his life. He became insecure to such an extent that the decided to remove every insecurity from his way. He also got rid of his son Fleance and one of his companions Banquo. The story of Macbeth has led to the conclusion that the desire of man to achieve power and comfort can result in several negative consequences.

This essay has also argued that power often causes discomfort. Macbeth was afraid of his power and his knowledge made him uncomfortable. The murder of the king made Macbeth more uncomfortable. In order to achieve power, Macbeth relied on unfair means. The use of unfair means worsened the situation faced by Macbeth. The pursuit of power results in declining the comfort of people. It can also be argued that people who do not have power are more comfortable than those who have power. The power increased the troubles in the life of Macbeth and his family.

Works Cited

Bell, Millicent. “Macbeth and Dismemberment.” Raritan A Quarterly Review 25.3 (2006): 13–29. Martin, Christopher. “Shakespeare, Midlife, and Generativity” Sixteenth Century Journal 41.4 (2010): 1223–1225. Noone, Kristin. “Shakespeare in Discworld: Witches, Fantasy, and Desire.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 21.1 (2010): 26–40. Parris, Benjamin. “‘The Body Is with the King, but the King Is Not with the Body’: Sovereign Sleep in Hamlet and Macbeth.” Shakespeare Studies 40 (2012), pp. 32 Tilmouth, Christopher. “Shakespeare’s Open Consciences.” Renaissance Studies 23.4 (2009): 501–515.


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Argumentative Essay – Macbeth is a Tragic Hero not a Villain

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a story of regicide and a warning against black magic. It’s easy to see Macbeth as the primary antagonist, because he becomes the face of the cast of villains, and the focus of the main characters’ anger. Macbeth, though, was not a maker of his destiny. The true antagonists lie behind him in both Lady Macbeth and the three witches.

The three witches are the most obvious villains. To see this, we have to look at the time in which this was written. Shakespeare wrote his plays in a time where black magic was considered taboo. People were deathly afraid of it and the sentence was death for anyone who practiced it. Shakespeare wanted to appease his audience, therefore he invented the witches as the main driving force of villainy.

Macbeth was the hero of Scotland at the beginning of the story. It’s why he was presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor and Glamis in the first place. In the beginning, Macbeth never entertains the prospect of becoming king or killing his monarch in King Duncan. It’s the witches who leave these toxic thoughts to fester in his mind.

It would be easy to argue Macbeth could have easily ignored the witches. Although he willingly collaborated with them, it could be argued his loyalty to his family and his country would have overwritten the words of the witches. Macbeth does initially refute the idea of killing Duncan. It’s only when Lady Macbeth convinces him he does it.

Lady Macbeth uses all the powers at her disposal to convince Macbeth to kill Duncan, including questioning his manhood. To further cast Lady Macbeth in the shadow of an antagonist, Shakespeare causes her to die because of her own guilt. When she begins sleepwalking and rubbing her hands together, it’s clear her guilt has overtaken her. Her admission of guilt is an example that she herself knows she did wrong, although she never admits this on stage before her suicide.

The issue with Macbeth is once he kills Duncan he would find it impossible to return to what he was before. He had no choice but to become king and rule the country. Some people may argue the killing of his former friend Banquo is an example of the villainy that lays beneath Macbeth’s character, but this is not the case.

By this point, Macbeth is an inescapable position. He has reacted like humans do in such situations, by entering a form of survival. He knows he has to be harsh to maintain himself. The presence of the ghosts and his subsequent madness demonstrates he always feels guilty and he never revels in his new position. In many ways, he despises what he has become and he doesn’t thank Lady Macbeth or the three witches for the parts they played in his story.

Overall, Macbeth has been directed by powerful forces influencing him. After he kills Duncan, he has no choice but to keep up the charade, because he knows if the truth was ever known he and his family would be executed.

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macbeth argumentative essay thesis

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.

30 Macbeth Essay Topics

Most commonly assigned as required reading for high school and college students, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. The play is set in medieval Scotland and chronicles the rise and fall of its eponymous protagonist, Macbeth, who murders his way to the throne but is ultimately undone by his ambition and paranoia.

While Macbeth can be a challenging read, it is also one of the most rewarding, offering a complex and multi-layered exploration of themes like ambition, morality, and fate.

If you are tasked with writing an essay on Macbeth, there are many possible essay writing formats you can use to analyze, compare, summarize, and discuss the play. This guide will walk you through writing a Macbeth essay and provide 30 Macbeth essay topics to get you started on your next writing assignment.

Argumentative Essay Writing for Macbeth

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that asks you to take a position on a given issue or question. Argumentative essays are common assignments in high school and college, especially in literature courses.

In an argumentative essay about Macbeth, you will take one position on one of the play’s many themes and argue for your interpretation using specific evidence from the text.

Argumentative essay topics for Macbeth need to include both sides of the argument and should be framed as a question. For example, “Is Macbeth a tragic hero?” or “What is the role of gender in Macbeth?”

Once you have chosen your topic, you will need to find evidence from the play to support your position. Be sure to cite specific lines and passages from the text as evidence in your essay.

Comparative Essay Writing for Macbeth

Comparative essays ask you to compare and contrast two or more things such as characters, themes, motifs, plot elements, etc. A comparative essay about Macbeth can take many different forms, but one common approach is to compare the characters of Macbeth and Banquo.

When writing a comparative essay about Macbeth and Banquo, you will want to consider how they are similar and different. What motivates them? How do they react to the events of the play? Are they good or evil? You can also compare and contrast other pairs of characters, such as Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff or Duncan and Malcolm.

Persuasive Essay About Macbeth

In a persuasive essay, your goal as the writer is to convince your reader to agree with your position on a given issue or question. Like an argumentative essay, you will want to use evidence from the play to support your claims.

When writing a persuasive essay about Macbeth, you can take a position on anything from whether or not Macbeth is a tragic hero to what motivates the characters in the play.

Unlike an argumentative essay on Macbeth, a persuasive essay about the play will need to be heavily opinionated to make a convincing argument. Be sure to take a clear and definitive stance on your chosen topic, and use specific evidence from the play to support your claims.

Narrative Essay About Macbeth

A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story. In a narrative essay about Macbeth, you will be asked to recount and describe an event or series of events from the play. Your goal in a narrative essay is not to take a position or argue a point but simply to tell the story in an engaging and interesting way.

Formatting Citations for a Macbeth Essay

Since you will need to cite directly from the play to back up the arguments and comparisons drawn from the play, it’s essential to understand the correct formatting for quotations from Macbeth.

If you are asked to write in MLA formatting (standard at most educational institutions), each quotation will need to be ended with the speaker’s name in italics, followed by the act, scene number, and line number(s) in parentheses.

For example:

“…Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” ( Macbeth 5.5.17-28).

If the quoted text is more than one line, be sure to separate each verse with a forward slash as follows:

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” ( Macbeth 5.5.17-28).

If the quoted text is part of a conversation, use block quotations by indenting each line of the quoted text 1″ from the left margin (hit the TAB button twice). Additionally, you’ll need to capitalize all of the letters in the name. End the quote with the plays name, act, and scene number as follows:

HAMLET. To be, or not to be–that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them… ( Hamlet 3.1.56-60)

You’ll notice that after the initial 1″ margin, each subsequent line will also need an additional indentation. If quoting dialogue from two or more people, each person should start with capital letters and an indented 1″ margin:

FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly’s done,

When the battle’s lost and won . ( Macbeth 1.1.1-4)

With the vast amount of information and things to discuss in the play Macbeth, it can be hard to narrow it all down to one topic. But, with this list of 30 Macbeth essay topics, you should have no trouble coming up with an essay to fit your needs.

  • How does Macbeth’s character change throughout the play?
  • Is Macbeth a tragic hero? Why or why not?
  • Who is most responsible for Macbeth’s downfall?
  • Discuss the role of gender in Macbeth.
  • Is ambition a positive or negative trait? Use examples from Macbeth to support your claim.
  • How does Shakespeare use the supernatural in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the role of fate in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship.
  • Discuss the role of deception in Macbeth.
  • What motivates the characters in Macbeth?
  • Is violence ever justified? Use examples from Macbeth to support your claim.
  • Discuss the theme of ambition in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast the characters of Macbeth and Banquo.
  • Discuss the theme of power in Macbeth.
  • Discuss the theme of loyalty in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of the witches in Macbeth?
  • How does Shakespeare use foreshadowing in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the role of greed in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of Macbeth’s soliloquies?
  • Discuss the theme of betrayal in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s attitudes toward power.
  • Discuss the theme of sanity vs. insanity in Macbeth.
  • Discuss the theme of appearance vs. reality in Macbeth.
  • How does Shakespeare use irony in Macbeth?
  • What is the significance of blood in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the theme of corruption in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of nature vs. nurture in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the theme of good vs. evil in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of the title “Macbeth”?

With these Macbeth essay topics, you should have no trouble coming up with an essay to fit your needs. Remember to cite all quotes and paraphrases from the play Macbeth and use MLA format.

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Essay Prompts

Preliminary Essay Assignment

Directions: Because writing a research paper involves utilizing both primary and secondary sources, it is important for you to develop a sound argument before attempting to incorporate other people’s opinions. For this assignment, you are to write a multi-paragraph essay utilizing only Macbeth to answer one of the following prompts. These are your research paper prompts and this essay is the first step in the research paper process.

1. Do the witches (or weird sisters) control the events in the play? Why or why not?

2. Does Shakespeare want us to believe that the witches are real, supernatural, and/or projections of Macbeth's imagination?

3. What is the function of (dramatic, situational, and/or verbal) irony in the play?

4. What kind of marriage do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have? Do you think it is a good one? Why or why not?

5. How would you characterize Lady Macbeth? Does her appearance in the sleepwalking scene alter your perception of her from previous scenes? Why or why not?

6. One of the major themes in Macbeth is appearance vs. reality. What effect do the episodes or instances dealing with appearance vs. reality have on our understanding of the play?

7. What is the purpose of comedy and the comedic characters in Macbeth?

8. What is the importance of imbalances of nature in Macbeth?

9. Macbeth is the central character in the play who is described as both brave Macbeth and butcher Macbeth. Which of these descriptions fits Macbeth best?

10. Who is responsible for Macbeth’s downfall? (The witches, Lady Macbeth and/or Macbeth himself?)

11. How is the mood of evil developed in Macbeth? (Consider the setting, themes, actions of the characters, etc.)

12. What is the importance of the supernatural elements in Macbeth? How do they affect the action of the play?

13. The theme of sleeplessness is introduced early in the play and carried throughout. What causes these sleep disturbances? What ends them for each of the characters involved? Is sleep regarded as a soothing balm for a life well-lived? (Remember that sleep is often another metaphor for death.)

14. Some playgoers and readers say that Lady Macbeth is the reason that her husband murders King Duncan. Others claim that the killing was his responsibility alone. What do you think?

15. How is Macbeth an example of a Shakespearean tragic hero? What is his tragic flaw and how does it affect the events of the play?

16. Do gender roles actually have an impact upon the course of events in this play? (Consider, for example, the roles of Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff—and even the witches)

17. The characters and actions of the play Macbeth suggest very strongly what qualities a good king needs to have. What are those qualities, and who, if anyone possesses them? (Consider comparing Duncan, Macbeth and/or Malcolm)

18. What is the purpose of soliloquies in Macbeth? How do they reveal the stages in the process of Macbeth’s and/or Lady Macbeth’s downfall or moral decline?

19. In what ways is Shakespeare significantly changing the original historic record of the real Macbeth in his play?

20. What would have been the attitude of Shakespeare’s audience toward the supernatural events in Macbeth? After all, three witches, a ghost, and extremely odd events in nature are included for a reason. Explore what those reasons are.

Research Assignment Requirements

* The paper you produce must have 3 secondary sources plus the primary one—Macbeth for a total of 4 sources minimum.

* All sources must be authoritative; that is, they MUST be scholarly. You may not use sources outside of the library databases or library books unless approved by the teacher in writing. Avoid using .com, .net, .org type websites outside the school databases. Sources that are a full-length chapter or article in a book or periodical pertaining to your topic will be more helpful.

* You may not use anything from Wikipedia or any encyclopedia. You may not use any material from Spark Notes, Cliff’s Notes, Pink Monkey, or any other commercially prepared study guide of that nature. Other unacceptable sources include plot summaries such as Bloom’s “Plot Summary,” Foster Masterplots, and Schmoop.com.

* Your final essay must be 3 full pages typed (5 pages max.), not including the Works Cited page which should be the last page of your paper.

* No paper will be considered for grading without submission to Turnitin.com.

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Persuasive Essay About Macbeth

Macbeth persuasive essay

Table of contents:

  • General idea
  • Hook/thesis

As you are looking into writing an essay on Macbeth, there are many directions you can take it and different elements of the play you can discuss as topics. The role of Lady Macbeth as the true villain of the story is always a good angle to go for, or you can argue that Macbeth is more of a tragic hero than a true villain, or you could write an essay on the folly of ambition, using Macbeth as an example.

Your introduction should start with a hook getting your readers’ attention, something shocking or interesting that will draw them into the case you’re about to make. Then set out your thesis. This is probably the most important sentence you’re be writing in your persuasive essay. Don’t be wishy-washy, make it bold and decisive.

Hook and thesis examples

Hook & Thesis: Is there truly free will, or is our fate already set for us? The answer is somewhere in between, for our ambitions and our passions may drive us, but it is our choices that show us who we truly are.

Hook & Thesis: “There’s no fate but what you make,” says the Terminator, and he was right. Macbeth’s fate is his own fault in the end, and he had a dozen different chances to stop, to do what was right, and spare himself from ultimate disgrace and death, but he didn’t turn back at any one of them.

The body of the essay is the place where you prove your points. Make each point individually. It may help to make an outline for this part of your essay. Then provide evidence backing up your points. You should have at least three in total before you even think about drawing to a conclusion.

Your conclusion should not necessarily present anything new to your audience. Instead, briefly go over the points you made. They are your last chance to convince your audience of what you’re saying, so it’s important that your summary is succinct and forceful. Remember the old adage to tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and then tell ‘em what you told ‘em ? Exactly like that, and that’s the best persuasive essay help you’ll ever hear.

Follow up the summary of your points with a request that the reader take some action, even if it’s just to think about your topic differently. Your conclusion should allow the reader to agree in their mind with you, and the action which you ask them to take should be practical and reasonable, something they can actually do. Here’s a few examples.

Conclusion examples

Conclusion: In summary, Macbeth was hard-headed, dangerously ambitious, and only lost his nerve long after it was too late. His wife was no better, but she didn’t push him anywhere he wasn’t initially willing to go. Macbeth’s fate was entirely just and he doesn’t deserve sympathy. Think about this: the Scottish play doesn’t have any heroes, only villains of one stripe or another.

Conclusion: It’s easy to judge Macbeth, but remember, all of this was foretold. His fate played a part in what happened to him, though, of course, he also made those choices which sealed it. Macbeth is a figure of tragedy and should be looked to as a warning of what might happen if you let your pride and ambition run unchecked.

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1 Deception and Disguise in Macbeth and the Modern World

Deception and Disguise in Macbeth’s World In the modern world, many things or persons present themselves as friendly, but in reality, they are toxic ones. This powerful quote, “Look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under it” (Act I, Scene 5, Lines 66-67), summarises an important theme in this tragic story. It […]

2 A Comparative Analysis of Macbeth and Richard III

Macbeth and Richard III: Two Paths to Villainy Macbeth and Richard III are both protagonists. They are villains driven by power and their lust for ambition. They are both villains who are driven by different forces that lead them to be evil and commit heinous deeds. In order to get the power they long for, […]

3 The Power Struggle in Macbeth: Ambition Unleashed

Introduction: The Pervasive Influence of Ambition: Analyzing Macbeth’s Downfall and Temptations Shakespeare was a prolific writer whose works included timeless themes. Most of the themes in Shakespeare’s works are evident in the modern world. “Macbeth” is a tragedy that highlights the downfall of Macbeth, a morally upright person at the beginning of the story, but […]

Writing About Literature

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Writing About Literature

Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics

Post your thesis statements by March 25th, along with tentative titles and questions about essay topics. The essay prompt has been posted to Blackboard and you will also submit the final draft of your essay to Blackboard by Friday, April 3rd.

29 thoughts on “ Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics ”

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For my thesis, I would like to explore and analyze Lady Macbeth’s character and the development of her character throughout the play. I was thinking of looking into whether her development was largely influenced by Macbeth’s prophecy or if her character was the one to influence how Macbeth’s prophecy came to be. I’m having trouble wording if but I have a thesis to work from: In this essay, I will analyze Lady Macbeth’s character progression and whether or not a connection exists to Macbeth’s prophecy.

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Kyla, go for it! I think you should focus on Lady Macbeth’s monologues in Act One, Scene Five and Act Five, Scene One.

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Can I get Your thesis

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Potential thesis: Although many blame the witches and their prophecies for Macbeth’s ill fate, it is actually his own fault. If Macbeth did not believe the witches’ prophecies, he probably wouldn’t have tried to control his “fate” which ended as a tragedy.

This is a great thesis and opens a lot of pathways for interpretation. You’ll have to explain why you put “fate” in scare quotes, as it suggests that you don’t believe fate is a major factor in the play. If you can do that, you’ll likely produce a lively discussion. Look to the debate on free will between Martin Luther and Erasmus in the “Contexts” section of the Norton Critical Edition.

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I was thinking about using the idea of tyranny and masculinity for my thesis, such as other thanes or princes want to overthrow MacBeth because they felt that he was acting tyrannical. Lady MacBeth says she wants to unsex herself when she decides to kill Duncan and Malcolm tells MacDuff that he is “unknown to woman, never was forsworn” so it seems that being a man reinforces the right to kill someone. A rough thesis would be: MacBeth is right to be overthrown because he is acting tyrannical, and Malcolm will be a better king because he’s the son of King Duncan and he’s more manly than MacBeth.

Petvy, I think you’re onto something with the problem of tyranny in Macbeth. It’s not immediately clear how you could tie that in with the distortions of maculinity in the play in only four to five pages, so I’d suggest focusing on either tyranny or masculinity (or its corruption). In either case, you have to talk about why Macbeth becomes a tyrant: it has a lot to do with the ways he interprets the prophecies from the witches, who represent (along with Lady Macbeth) grotesque distortions of femininity.

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Macbeth’s actions throughout the play are an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. He believes what the witches tell him about his fate and becomes intoxicated by the possibility of achieving power, which is the reason he commits all those evil acts and pays the ultimate price for it in the end, not because he is simply fulfilling his destiny.

This is promising, Ilya! Pick two or three scenes to focus on in your reading of Macbeth’s response to the prophecies.

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Throughout the novel, there are many symbols used to depict evil. Light and darkness are amongst the most common ways to show that light is good and dark is bad. In a more analytical approach, we can see that without the light Macbeth is in the dark for too long and causes him to become blind to goodness. From the beginning, all that has been described to be dark or involved in darkness have affected Macbeth into becoming corrupt and mad, such as the ‘midnight’ witches and the absence of the candles that Lady Macbeth so persistently carried towards the end. A working thesis for me would be how the use of light and darkness ultimately affected/foreshadowed that Macbeth would become corrupted and even guilty for the actions he had taken.

Karyna, it’s important to remember that a novel is a certain genre of writing. Macbeth is a play. Jane Austen’s Emma (which we’ll read in a few weeks) is a novel.

Classifications aside, the light/dark theme in the play is a big topic with lots to think about. Can you narrow it down to certain things that happen in light versus in darkness? For instance, Macbeth worries that he’ll never be able to sleep soundly again after he murders Duncan. Is there something to be said about the imagery juxtaposing darkness with sleeplessness brought on by guilt?

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Possible Thesis:

Darkness, concerning dusk, exceeds its function as a mere setting characteristic by acting as a symbol of foreboding. Approaching darkness (nightfall) mentioned as a setting descriptor is often followed by nefarious or immoral actions, such as murder.

I am most likely going to change the topic I’m writing on. If I’m unable to fully rationalize my thoughts for the other topic I had in mind, I’ll fall back onto this original thesis.

Cory, try and find a few passages where a character describes or reacts to the darkness. I’m wondering if the Porter might be a good character to look to. Banquo’s murderers might also be worth discussing. As for major characters, there are plenty who present responses to darkness, especially in Act II. And maybe there’s a parallel between the pervasive darkness in the play and Scotland’s peripheral position in relation to England. Scotland is a grim, wild, foul-weathered place: any parallels between the setting of the play and the qualities of darkness espoused in it?

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The circumstances that surround Macbeth’s rise to power allude to an evil power. The witches were written into this play during Shakespeare’s time where hysteria took precedent. Despite Shakespeare’s time being different from Macbeth’s time, there is still an emphasis on morality and what is considered to be a ‘sinful’ act or righteous. The presence of witches and prophecies may have been used to let the audience understand the meteoric rise of Macbeth was not truly ‘good’ or ‘righteous’. The witches are shown to be malevolent, and Macbeth’s association with these otherworldly figures notions towards an unjust claim to power. These allusions to an evil power include the stress on the number 3, which is known to represent evil and unholiness. For example, there are three witches, three roles that Macbeth takes on, and three prophecies.

Sounds great, Chiara! There are some materials in the back of the Norton Critical Edition pertaining to the witches (Hecate in particular). Ian McKellen’s interview might be a good place to start.

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In this paper I will argue that Macbeth’s endless ambition overpowers fate and his destiny is brought by his own free will.

Good thesis, Jordan. Discuss the claims about predestination and free will made by Martin Luther and Erasmus. Their essays are in the supplementary materials of the Norton Critical Edition of Macbeth.

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Psychology and subjective reality are prominent themes in Macbeth; Banquo’s ghost, the floating dagger, voices, and blood spots are only imagined by Macbeth as he unravels throughout the play. Lady Macbeth’s insomnia and hand-washing shows the psychological effect the murders have had on her. In the end, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are both perpetrators of their own demise; they actively seek to fulfill Fate and in turn are plagued by their own minds.

Mary, these are great passages to focus on for your thesis. I like the insinuation you’re making here: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth try to manipulate Fate, but all they end up doing–over and over again beginning with the murder of Duncan–is speed up its process.

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This is amazing, I am doing something similar to your thesis and took some ideas from yours thank you!

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Thesis: Throughout the play, Macbeth’s actions and decisions that he’s made seem to show an underlying sense of fear that fuels them. Fear can be controlling and influential on human beings and can sometimes dictate the path of their lives, all of which can be said for the character of Macbeth. From the witches’ prophecy to the various murders he orchestrates, fear is used as a motivator within Macbeth to commit unspeakable actions and as a result, drove him into losing touch with his sense of sanity and reality, slowly becoming unhinged at the hands of fear.

Very good, Lanz! Highlight passages where a character implies or specifically mentions being afraid (or conversely, feeling courageous).

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Potential Thesis Statement: By doing the wrong thing cause of greed, power, and other influences( In this case the witches) can often lead to negative outcomes, bad results, situations to become worse, and anxiety. This is what I’m thinking about using as a thesis statement, but still a little unsure. Sorry for the late response I thought the other Macbeth post was the forumn where I was suppose to write our blog response/thesis for the Macbeth essay originally.

Tayyab, this is an interesting general statement to make in relation to the events of the play, but maybe just focus on Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s responses to the witches’ prophecies. This way, you’ll have a coupe of very specific scenes towards which you can direct your close reading. As a bonus, you don’t have to spend time and energy wondering about the moral of the story. Focus instead on what the characters say and do and how and what these words and actions mean within the world of the play. Look to the supplementary materials in the back of the Norton Critical Edition for more guidance, and let me know if you have further questions.

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My thesis will be about self perception and it’s connection to the choice that people believe they are supposed to make. In the case of MacBeth, he heard a prophecy and his self perception changed from being a thane to a king. Really late response but I couldn’t think of anything original til now.

Aiden, reorient your thesis to avoid making generalizations about “people.” Focus only on how self-perception troubles the characters in Macbeth, particularly as it pertains to what certain characters believe about fate versus free choice. Look to the essays by Luther and Erasmus on this topic for guidance.

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For my second essay I plan to move forward to investigate Lady Macbeth’s psychosis. There’s much to analyze when it comes to Lady Macbeth’s behavior and speech. However, I’m afraid I’ve chosen a topic that is too big for a four to five-page essay. Should I focus on a specific act or scene for the essay? Additionally, I’m having difficulty wording my thesis. This is what I have so far …

In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is an unconventional female character, who possesses a dangerous ambitiousness and ruthlessness to help Macbeth become King of Scotland. Her character encourages Macbeth to commit an evil act and unleashes something within hi. As more cruel murders take place, Lady Macbeth becomes unrecognizable through her anxious and erratic behavior.

I feel like I’m not really making a claim but just summarizing her character development in the play. Any suggestions or ideas are greatly welcomed!! Thank you!

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Thesis: In Macbeth, his aligned actions had played to his rise and his downfall, which only proved that determinism took control of the entirety of Macbeth’s life and the world around him. 

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macbeth argumentative essay thesis


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