Essay Questions on William Shakespeare's Macbeth
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Discuss the various roles of the witches in ‘Macbeth’ with special emphasis on Coleridge’s remark that “the witches have the power of tempting those that have been tempters themselves.” What is, at the end of the play, your attitude to Macbeth? Admiration, sympathy, disgust, or any other attitude? Justify your view by referring to scenes or extracts. (June 1986) Analyse the nature of kingship in ‘Macbeth’ by drawing your information from Shakespeare’s presentation of King Duncan, of Malcolm and –by contrast – of Macbeth. Macbeth is neither a loathsome nor a heroic character, but a mixture of both. Discuss. (September 1986) ‘Infirm of purpose’: in how far is this impression you receive of Macbeth justified? ‘This even-handed justice / Commends th’ingredients of our poisoned chalice / To our lips.’ Put these lines in their proper context. Explain them and show how they come true for Macbeth. (June 1989) Banquo is dramatically as important alive as dead. Discuss. Do you agree with the view that Macbeth is fighting a lost battle against forces beyond his control? (September 1991) ‘She should have died hereafter’. The relation between Macbeth and his wife stands as long as they have a common aim. Macbeth is too weak for the part he has chosen to play. (September 1992) ‘Life .... is a tale /Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.’ Does Macbeth’s nihilistic conclusion (Act V, Scene V) mean that Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ offers a view of a meaningless world, full of horrors and suffering, without any positive moral values? Discuss the importance of the Porter Scene (Act II, Scene III). (June 1993) Assess the importance of the supernatural in ‘Macbeth’. Comment on the nature and dramatic function of the Ghost Scene. (June 1994) Describe what happens in Lady Macbeth’s ‘Sleeepwalking Scene’ at the...
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