Macbeth intro&concl.

Introduction = road map.

Destination = question you have been asked.

Plan your route (brainstorm).

Let examiner know what directions you’ll take.

During the play, Macbeth loses but ultimately regains our sympathy

You must immediately address the question. Don’t simply agree 100% with the question – give a more balanced & detailed response:

“There is no doubt that our sympathy for Macbeth ebbs and flows throughout the play. (1) Initially, I had mixed feelings about his character – although a valiant soldier he also seemed to relish violence. (2) Following the murders of Duncan and (3) Banquo my sympathy for him declined at first but then reappeared in the face of his profound remorse. (4) However his brutal tyranny as King and his unnecessary murders of Lady Macduff and her children annihilated any sympathy I had left. (5) He never fully regained my sympathy, despite delivering a very moving speech upon hearing news of Lady Macbeth’s death”. (6) (Also discuss how the play ends)

Conclusion = highlights of your journey.

•Don’t give a summary of the story. Don’t introduce new information.

•Repeat the main idea (thesis) you’ve developed in your answer–but rephrase. Be wary of repeating exactly what you said in the introduction – change your phrasing if you repeat an idea.

•Sum up the major things you’ve learned from studying this aspect of the play.

•Show how what you have said has proven and/or disproven the question.

CONCLUSION: “Thus I only partially agree with the statement that “Macbeth loses but ultimately regains our sympathy”. His increasingly violent, volatile and reckless behaviour made it more and more difficult for me to sympathise with him, so in that sense he did lose my sympathy completely, particularly following the murders of Lady Macduff and her children. I can identify with his suicidal despair when his wife dies, and his reluctance to commit any more crimes when Macduff challenges him to fight. However, he never fully regained my sympathy because I couldn’t excuse the way he brought Scotland to its knees. Ultimately, his death seemed a fitting punishment for the bloody tyranny of his reign as King”.

4 responses to “Macbeth intro&concl.

  1. paper 2 is so time pressured it is unbelievable…for this how many points are expected? and will I stick to a point a paragraph?

    • The time pressure is crazy I agree and I was always a slow writer so I never wrote a lot in exams, I just crammed a huge amount into each and every sentence. Writing well and having a razor focus on the question asked is the key. You still need to do lots of prep in advance or you’ll spend too long trying to plan the ‘perfect answer’ in the exam. Study by choosing a question and figuring out what your six paragraphs would be to respond to that question in the exam. Pace your way through the plot. Be highly selective in what you include – the play is long and time is short. This seven minute summary cartoon of the play is invaluable
      Watch it seven times and you won’t be wasting time in the exam grasping in your brain for ‘what happened next’. The better you know the play the quicker you’ll be at planning your six paragraphs. Also remember you are being rewarded for every relevant point you make, you are NOT being punished for what you leave out. You will only use maybe 15% of what you know about Macbeth in your answer. If you try to include everything you know, then you’ll run out of time for every question.

  2. how do I incorporate seeing the play Macbeth into my answer? I don’t want it to come across unnatural or just bring it up randomly 🙂 thanks!

    • Sometimes the question lends itself to discussing a performance you’ve seen (e.g. if asked to discuss the elements which make the play a compelling drama). You can only bring it up without it seeming completely random if you’ve got a point to make.
      So, for example, if you were discussing Macbeth’s character you could make an observation like this:
      “In the performance of Macbeth we attended, Cormac Carney played Macbeth as a man completely unable to resist his wife’s manipulative rhetoric. However, I feel this absolved him of all blame. As I read the play I felt he was overly eager for someone to see his “black and deep desires“, eager to find an accomplice who would talk him into o’erleaping “all that impedes [him] from the golden round“. Were I to play this role, I would emphasise his culpability in all that unfolds rather than laying the blame exclusively at the feet of the ‘evil’ women – the witches and his wife – who bring the evil within him to the fore”.
      You’re right that you don’t want to just randomly start talking about it – you need to have something you want to say which is relevant in the context of the question you are answering. HTH.