macbeth help :( Watch
im a student who's going into year 10. i want to start a little bit of my revision now so my life will be totally easier.
im doing macbeth for my english gcse but i have no idea what you're meant to revise. i understand you have to do analysis and the translation and stuff. but i dont understand the rest eg:themes.
if any of you guys have smashed your macbeth english exam i really could do with some help as well as how you revised it and what you did to help you like resources etc.
thank you to anyone who replies (hopefully someone will)
Your question about the themes- read the play first. What's the mood? One of the themes is good vs evil. Another is light and darkness. You'll learn all this as you go along.
Honestly, studying a Shakespeare play can be pretty hard to grasp the first time round, so I'd wait until your teacher goes through it with you, then begin your revision. I loved Macbeth and the CGP guide book was a life-saver, so invest in that. Best of luck, but don't just focus on Macbeth! You have 2 other books and a poem anthology to study too.
tysm for replying!
the thing is though my teacher has started to go through it but tbh she's not a great teacher at all. so ive turned to my own independance for support. ive also used sources like mr bruff's youtube channel. i'll definetly be investing in the cgp book as i really wasnt sure if it was good enough. thank you, i really do need it now that there's the new gcse grading system! i promise i won't focus on macbeth! its the only thing that we've started for gcse english (which is so damn bad of my school).
tysm for replying!
My school was awful with pacing our learning! We spent the first year basically on Macbeth, and then a couple of months before our exams we started on our poem anthology. I was extremely annoyed. Sounds like you're really motivated though, so I've no doubt you'll do well. The new grading system is annoying, yup, but at least your teachers know what they're doing now Ours didn't, so it was all a bit messy haha.
omg im not kidding my school is seriously awful! i don't even know either of the two books that im doing and we've only started doing one of the poems out of the anthology! that sounds terrible! i really hope my school isn't the same - if they are i'll have to rely on my independence again! ahahaahhaha i guess i am motivated i just want to prove those around me that you can do well in your gcse's whether or not you went to a private school.
So for some tips:
- Follow the same essay structure for all of your essays, it makes your life so much easier, trust me. I think it's important to revise exam technique too!! This is what I did:
Introduction + 3 Paragraphs + Conclusion.
In each paragraph this is the structure I followed:
1. Introduce your idea, for example: "Shakespeare presents Macbeth's state of mind as ... because ..."
2. Provide one quotation from the extract you are given (embed it, as if it naturally flows in the sentence. Rather than saying " This is because it says that ' ...... ' ". This gives your essay a more critical "feel" and is way more sophistated rather than saying "it said", which examiners love.)
3. Say what the quotation means. As in what is the quotation trying to tell you? Is it reinforcing that Macbeth's state of mind is unstable? How? It's good to also mention which device Shakespeare is using. Good ones to mention are stuff like Lexical Fields, Metaphors, Onomatopoeia, etc etc... Try to stay away from using Alliteration as your main piece of evidence but there's no harm in bringing it up of course!! The more indepth and difficult to discover your devices are the better, but mention as much as you possibly can. :' )
4. Say HOW this quotation supports your line of argument. I can't remember much about the play lol but for example you could say that the Lexical Field of Blood in the speech after he murders Duncan (I... Believe it's that speech. Please don't quote me on that. You can also say this for the Dagger Speech for sure though!). Like how blood is metaphorical for his guilt, and how his hands are now stained with this burden because he killed the King... Just as an example. It's SO important that you link this to your idea for this paragraph and the question itself (linking to the question shows the examiner that you are on topic!! It's best to be really obvious with this. If the essay question is about Macbeth's state of mind I literally just say "and as a result this reflects Macbeth's state of mind because..." Be super obvious. Better to be safe than sorry.
5. Aaaaaand if you though that was a lot, repeat 2 - 4 once again in the same paragraph! But instead with a quotation of your own (that's not in the extract, but from the rest of the play instead). You need to reference other parts within the play, 100%, please do this!! Examiners specifically look for this even if you want a passing grade.
All of that... 3 times, for each paragraph. One idea per paragraph, 2 quotations per paragraph (one from the extract, one from the rest of the play), summarize your idea, and please please link back to the question at the end of your paragraph before you move onto the next one. And don't forget context!! You can add content wherever. You should add context at least once, but I implemented it twice just to be on the safe side.
- Phew. Okay, now for revising itself... Make flashcards if you find them useful! I made individual flashcards for each character and each theme in the play, along with just the quotations relevant to them (I used at least 4 / 5 per theme / character, so you have a selection to "choose" from when writing your paragraphs).
- Mindmaps work for me so what I did was make mindmaps for everything. Characters, themes, context, scenes, you name it. There's a lot to memorize so I wouldn't recommend bombarding your mindmaps with a ton of information, it might seem a bit daunting that way.
- And in general, if you need a "translation" of the scene you're working on, use Spark Notes. My life saviour when it comes to translating old English into modern English.
- Try to come up with a few "favourite" quotations. Ones that you can say so much about. And also definitely ones with lots of devices in as subject terminology can gain you a lot of marks too. Oh and also examiners love when you can think about more than one interpretation for each quotation. If you can't think of an alternative interpretation, don't worry, but if you can that's great!
This was very very long haha but I hope this was helpful at least a little bit!! If you have any more questions feel free to ask me here or DM me, I'd be more than happy to help. Good luck in your Gcsesssss :' )