Could someone tell me what grade this Macbeth response is? Watch

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Dylan_Poole1
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Hey guys, I'm aiming for a grade 5/6 in English Literature. Would anyone mind taking a look at this practice of last year's paper to see if this hits the level? I'd really appreciate any general thoughts on how to improve it. This is by far my weakest subject and I really struggle with it.

In Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy, she speaks using very commanding language to Macbeth which reveals her huge ambition to achieve more power. The sentence “and shalt be what thou art promised” reveals her absolute determination to make Macbeth the king. Lady Macbeth is presented as a character who has a huge ambition but is restricted by the society she lives in where she is unable to achieve power herself as a woman. To achieve the power she craves, she must manipulate men and get power by using them. This may be interpreted as Shakespeare’s criticism of the time that women do not have the same number of opportunities as men and is unfair.

Shakespeare further presents Lady Macbeth’s ambition when Lady Macbeth uses a metaphor stating that Macbeth is “too full of the milk of human kindness”. This would be shocking to the audience because Macbeth has earlier been presented as “brave” by King Duncan himself, and as “Bellona’s bridegroom”. After Macbeth’s description as a brave and ruthless soldier, a woman describing him in a way that makes him out to be feminine would shock the audience and reveals that Lady Macbeth has a very dark mind and very sinister intentions, so uses Macbeth’s ambition for her own benefit to get her more power.

Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as believing ambition is noble, “And chastise thee with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round.” This statement is designed to shock the audience because regicide would probably have been the worst possible crime to commit, so Lady Macbeth describing it as ‘noble’ shows that she values ambition as a quality above everything else.

Many people believe that Lady Macbeth was the main driving force behind Macbeth’s decision to kill Duncan. Macbeth reveals to us he has doubts about the murder and considers not going through with it, “We will proceed no further in this business.” However, Lady Macbeth uses emotional blackmail and describes how she would have “plucked my nipple from its boneless gums”. It is clear from the way she acts around Macbeth that she has control over him.

Macbeth is presented as a man with a very heavy conscience, and even before the murder he sees apparitions, “is this a dagger I see before me?”. This rhetorical question reveals Macbeth’s already fractured mind. It suggests that Macbeth goes into the murder knowing full-well he is going to be haunted by it in the future, so his ambition over-rides all other emotions. He also says he will “sleep no more” showing he knows in the future he is going to feel very guilty about the murder, but he does not care because his ambition is driving him to carry out the murder anyway.

Macbeth admits in a soliloquy that he has no reason to kill King Duncan other than for his own ambition, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, only vaulting ambition”. This metaphor reveals that Macbeth fully accepts there is no good reason to kill the King, because he has no ‘spur’, so Shakespeare is presenting ambition as a very destructive force because it has the power to over-ride everything else that matters to Macbeth over one emotion.

Ambition is presented as a force that can destroy even the best and noble of men. Banquo was believed to be the descendant of King James I, so throughout the play is presented in a very positive light. However, before the witches even spoke to him or Macbeth, Banquo stated that he “dreamt last night of three weird sisters”. This would have been shocking to a Shakespearean audience because Banquo is fully associated with good Shakespeare is presenting his ambition to lead him to think about the witches which are associated with evil. In addition, when Banquo is speaking to the witches for the first time with Macbeth, he commands the witches to “tell me more”. This short, commanding sentence reveals his impatience with the witches that they are speaking with Macbeth more than him, so reveals he is very ambitious himself and wants to hear the witches’ prophecies. The different reactions of Macbeth and Banquo, with both being interested in what the witches have to say, is used by Shakespeare to reveal that even good men such as Banquo can be destroyed if they do not control their ambition like Banquo does by not acting on any prophecies.

The witches are also presented as ambitious characters. When Hecate meets with the witches, she states that Macbeth “loves for his own ends – not you”, which shows Macbeth does not love the witches but is only using them to help him get what he wants. The witches are ambitious for love and attention because they are used to show how marginalised women were at the time. Just as women may have been desperate for real love in a time when arranged marriage was very common, the witches are ambitious for love and attention because they are outcast from society and only turn to witchcraft to replace the love they do not have.

Overall, ambition is presented as a destructive force that can lead to the downfall of all good men.
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Amrd2013
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I would Say High Grade 6 or 7
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Dylan_Poole1
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(Original post by Amrd2013)
I would Say High Grade 6 or 7
Thanks for the quick response
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Amrd2013
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(Original post by Dylan_Poole1)
Thanks for the quick response
You are welcome
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Mesopotamian.
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It would help if you posted the original question so we could check how well you're linking your points, but other than that, I say that's a good 7. Improve by adding in alternative interpretations and highlight further the audience's response and writers intentions (You've made some good points already, just make sure this is consistent so the examiner is confident in your ability). You could also:
- zoom in on quotes more I.e. Analyze words as well as the general meaning
- analyze punctuation
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Dylan_Poole1
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
It would help if you posted the original question so we could check how well you're linking your points, but other than that, I say that's a good 7. Improve by adding in alternative interpretations and highlight further the audience's response and writers intentions (You've made some good points already, just make sure this is consistent so the examiner is confident in your ability). You could also:
- zoom in on quotes more I.e. Analyze words as well as the general meaning
- analyze punctuation
Thanks for your response, the question was How does Shakespeare present ambition in Macbeth. Extract was soliloquy with Lady Macbeth saying 'glamis thou art'
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