(i) “Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites us to look into the world of a man driven on by ruthless ambition and tortured by regret.” Write a response to this view of the play, Macbeth, supporting the points you make by reference to the text.
Mark ex 60 by reference to the criteria for assessment using the following breakdown of marks.
60 marks A+ B C D E-
100% 60 – 51 42 33 24 23 – 0
30% 18 – 16 13 10 8 7 – 0
10% 6 – 5 4 3 3 2 – 0
Expect candidates to respond by treating of both ambition and regret, though not necessarily equally. Allow that candidates may view Macbeth as a man “driven on” by the ambitions of others in his world, e.g. Lady Macbeth, Malcolm, Banquo, and so on. Expect the focus of discussion, in such cases, to centre on the impact that the ambitions of others make upon Macbeth. Code A for ‘ambition’, R for ‘regret’, and A/R for points combining the two. Possible points:
- his eager response to the witches
- the killing of Duncan and Banquo
- his obsession with ‘vaulting ambition’
- he embarks on a tyrannical rule, determined to hold on to power - Lady Macbeth, however, questions his capacity to be ruthless - his soliloquies repeatedly qualify the ruthlessness of his character Etc.
- Macbeth wrestles with his conscience
- he is plagued by visions of his evil deeds and their consequences - following the murder of Duncan he is incoherent and tormented - he is haunted by the realisation that he has achieved a ‘fruitless crown’ and a ‘barren sceptre’
- his mind is ‘full of scorpions’
- for him life becomes progressively more empty and worthless Etc.