Could someone help me grade this answer and tell me where I need to improve?

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AaronSR
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Hi everyone,
I'm currently in Year 11, and have my mocks at the end of November and start of December. Could you please mark this answer for a Literature Paper 1 question, and tell me where to improve.

Q: How does Shakespeare present ambition in Macbeth
A:

Shakespeare’s Macbeth shows the consequences of Macbeth’s ambition which eventually leads to his downfall. It is clear to the audience that Macbeth’s ambition overrules his mind and spurs him onto the path of evil, with the help of Lady Macbeth.

Given that this play was written in 1606, it is no surprise that the social conventions of the Jacobean era meant that the men were seen as the most important figure compared to the women. Lady Macbeth breaks these boundaries and does not conform to these expectations. She repeatedly attacks Macbeth through metaphors, portraying her ever growing ambition, as she needs to coerce him to murder King Duncan to pursue her ambition. The symbolism of innocence from the metaphor of ‘Too full of the milk of human kindness’ suggests that Lady Macbeth depicts Macbeth as weak and not having ambition. She uses this metaphor of ‘milk’ to perhaps highlight her ambition which could create fear in the audience as no woman has outstepped the boundaries. Furthermore, Shakespeare uses the contrast between the symbol of innocence and in Act 1, Scene 7 where Lady Macbeth would ‘dash the brains out’ of a child for her aim to become Queen. Where Lady Macbeth uses the noun ‘human’ it suggests that Lady Macbeth is no longer human and sees that as a weakness as Macbeth has not been fully corrupted by the supernatural. Furthermore, this could possibly make Lady Macbeth appear as almost superhuman as she manages to outstep the boundaries of a higher class woman and tries to persuade Macbeth into committing regicide. Shakespeare, possibly could have used this to dissociate Lady Macbeth with humans, to create terror within the audience and hatred towards Lady Macbeth.



On the other hand, we see that in Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth describes that he has a ‘vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself and falls’, showing that Macbeth acknowledges that his hamartia is his powerful and ruthless ambition which leads him towards a path of evil, eventually leads to his self-destruction as his ambition ‘o’erleaps itself and falls’. This metaphor of his ambition emphasises from the verb ‘vaulting’ that he has to overcome hurdles to fulfil his ever growing ambition. However, it also shows that Macbeth is easily corrupted by his ambition as he recognises that his ambition is a weakness and a problem which has taken over himself. This portrays Macbeth as a puny and decrepit character, contrasting the dual meaning of his powerful yet dangerous ambition. Furthermore, as Lady Macbeth interrupts in on his soliloquy, it structurally shows that Lady Macbeth has a stronger and more powerful ambition than Macbeth himself. It also shows that Macbeth’s ambition has weakened him to the point where a woman could now control Macbeth in any way she wanted. This almost, mocks Macbeth’s masculinity as he can no longer control himself and has to be at Lady Macbeth’s command, as she destroys and attacks his masculinity to manipulate Macbeth.



Alternatively, Macbeth’s ambition is seen as a strong and powerful as it keeps spurring him on even at his death, after Macduff announces he was ‘untimely ripped’ from his ‘mother’s womb’ meaning that he misinterpreted the prophecy from the trickery of the Witches. Even though, Macbeth knows he is going to fail his ambition pushes him further until he reaches his death, as he still continues to fight for his life. Possibly, it could also not be ambition which spurs him on but it could be his loyalty to himself which keeps him going. This could create pity within the contemporary audience for Macbeth as he is portrayed as a tragic hero through his nobility and bravery yet his weakness overpowers himself. It could also show that Macbeth is using his final chance to demonstrate his masculinity and power, as the social expectations of the Jacobean era meant that men were seen as important and noble figures in society, by not giving up and wants to go down fighting as he ‘will not yield […]to be baited by the rabble’s curse’. This shows that Macbeth now trusts his judgement more than the prophecies, where he was once captivated by this and marking it as a ‘strange intelligence’. Furthermore, Shakespeare, may have portrayed Macbeth like this to perhaps show that his Macbeth’s ambition will never be fulfilled as he will always want more power and fortune, showing that Macbeth’s arrogance could impel him to go further.



Overall, Shakespeare shows the consequences of Macbeth’s hamartia, his ambition, by his death in Act 5, Scene 8, and the destruction of the great chain of being. Shakespeare, intention could possibly be to warn the audience on the consequences of regicide as the Gunpowder Plot took place in 1605, a year before this play was written. From this, Shakespeare shows the importance of great chain of being, where the supernatural consequences of propelling ambition, caused horses to turn ‘wild in nature’ where they cannibalised each other. This would have been important as the contemporary audience would have been extremely religious so showing elements of God’s power would have emphasised Shakespeare’s purpose even further. It could also be a biblical allusion to the story of Adam and Eve and how they were captivated by greed and evil could reflect both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.


Thank you.
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anrandomguy
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I don't think I can mark this response because I don't have any experience in marking responses, not to mention that I haven't studied English for over a year now, but I can definitely make a few comments.

"Given that this play was written in 1606, it is no surprise that the social conventions of the Jacobean era meant that the men were seen as the most important figure compared to the women."
It may be best to remove "it is no surprise that" as it's a little clunky. You have also used the superlative form of the adjective 'important' when making a comparison, which is incorrect. You should use a comparative adjective instead, such as: 'men were considered to be more important than women'.

"She repeatedly attacks Macbeth through metaphors, portraying her ever growing ambition, as she needs to coerce him to murder King Duncan to pursue her ambition."
You should hyphenate 'ever growing'. You should try to avoid repeating less-common words in a sentence. To avoid the repetition of 'ambition', it may be best to rephrase this sentence slightly - you could write something along the lines of: '...ambition since she hopes that this technique will coerce him to murder King Duncan - the next step in her plan for Macbeth to become king.

"The symbolism of innocence"
I would change this to 'The symbolism of a child's innocence' to emphasise where this idea of innocence comes from in your quotation.

"perhaps highlight her ambition which could create fear"
You've used quite a bit of conditional here, suggesting that you lack confidence. While sometimes, if you are presenting multiple (potentially opposing) interpretations of a quotation it is a good idea to use the conditional mood, here it would be best to get rid of the word 'perhaps' and either say 'creates fear' or, if you still don't want to make a definite statement (which is perfectly reasonable in this case, since it is unlikely that any single statement would inspire fear in every member of the audience) 'may create fear'.

"contrast between the symbol of innocence and in Act 1, Scene 7 where Lady Macbeth would ‘dash the brains out’ of a child for her aim to become Queen."
Here you need to change this sentence slightly to make it read properly. I would again suggest that you write 'the symbol of the innocence of a child', and you also need a noun, such as '...and Lady Macbeth's brutality in Act 1, Scene 7 where she would...'.

"Where Lady Macbeth uses the noun ‘human’"
Just to make this phrase read a little better I would change it to 'Lady Macbeth's use of the noun 'human' '.

"this could possibly make Lady Macbeth". "Shakespeare, possibly could have used this to"
In these sentences, the use of the word 'could' is right, but I would recommend that you get rid of 'possibly' as it doesn't really add anything.

"dissociate Lady Macbeth with humans"
This should be 'dissociate Lady Macbeth from humans', and you might add that this choice makes her seem supernatural (this point could then give you the opportunity to add more context in that the fear of the supernatural was more acute in the Jacobean period).

"On the other hand,"
Maybe you could start the paragraph with a different phrase, as the point you make in this paragraph doesn't necessarily present an opposing view.

"ambition emphasises from the verb ‘vaulting’ that"
This should be 'is emphasised by'.

"ever growing ambition."
'ever growing' should be hyphenated.

"problem which has taken over himself."
This should be 'problem by which he has been overtaken' (overcome also works).

"puny and decrepit character,"
I feel like there are probably other adjectives that would better suit your point here - maybe 'weak-willed', for example? You might also use the idea of a puppet. This isn't necessarily related to the question you're answering but I think there's an interesting comparison to be drawn between Macbeth being controlled by his wife and the difficult path that Shakespeare had to walk between presenting unconventional ideas (at least for the time) such as powerful female characters, or a fictional Thane-***-King who does objectively terrible things and comes from the same bloodline as King James, and conforming to societal expectations and traditions (writing plays that can be interpreted in such a way that Shakespeare is not executed). You might be able to make this point relevant if you describe the ideas Shakespeare presents as ambitions for a more progressive society, but maybe this would be too much of a stretch.

"interrupts in on"
You should remove 'in on'.

-------------
I'm running out of time to keep writing this now, so I would recommend that you go through the rest of your response in a similar way, checking that the grammar is up to scratch, and ensuring that your phrasing means what you want it to.
I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't say that you're already punching at a very high level. As you can probably tell by the size of each change that I have recommended, I've been going through your work with a fine-tooth comb - which isn't to say that I've spotted every mistake, or that my own writing is better than yours - but I thought that since you're already doing so well it only makes sense to hold your writing to a high standard.
As for large improvements, I think that in some places you may be able to even more thoroughly deconstruct quotations - if you can analyse multiple features of each quotation and relate them to your point then you'll be in a very good position.
For this question specifically, I think you might be able to look into other characters - the knee-jerk reaction of every student reading this question is to talk about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but what about King Duncan? You might suggest that, since he is already the most powerful man in the play, he is blinded to Macbeth's intentions not by ambition but by a lack thereof - it is in this regard that he makes such an effective foil to Macbeth, since he is almost the complete opposite. As a more general point: when constructing your response, don't forget that since the examiner may already have read the same response a thousand times if you write about something new, at the very least talking about something new could attract his attention. Equally, don't try and present a new viewpoint if it's too much of a stretch, but maybe just bear this in mind.

Hope some of this has helped, and your response is great!
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AaronSR
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#3
Report Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#3
(Original post by anrandomguy)
I don't think I can mark this response because I don't have any experience in marking responses, not to mention that I haven't studied English for over a year now, but I can definitely make a few comments.

"Given that this play was written in 1606, it is no surprise that the social conventions of the Jacobean era meant that the men were seen as the most important figure compared to the women."
It may be best to remove "it is no surprise that" as it's a little clunky. You have also used the superlative form of the adjective 'important' when making a comparison, which is incorrect. You should use a comparative adjective instead, such as: 'men were considered to be more important than women'.

"She repeatedly attacks Macbeth through metaphors, portraying her ever growing ambition, as she needs to coerce him to murder King Duncan to pursue her ambition."
You should hyphenate 'ever growing'. You should try to avoid repeating less-common words in a sentence. To avoid the repetition of 'ambition', it may be best to rephrase this sentence slightly - you could write something along the lines of: '...ambition since she hopes that this technique will coerce him to murder King Duncan - the next step in her plan for Macbeth to become king.

"The symbolism of innocence"
I would change this to 'The symbolism of a child's innocence' to emphasise where this idea of innocence comes from in your quotation.

"perhaps highlight her ambition which could create fear"
You've used quite a bit of conditional here, suggesting that you lack confidence. While sometimes, if you are presenting multiple (potentially opposing) interpretations of a quotation it is a good idea to use the conditional mood, here it would be best to get rid of the word 'perhaps' and either say 'creates fear' or, if you still don't want to make a definite statement (which is perfectly reasonable in this case, since it is unlikely that any single statement would inspire fear in every member of the audience) 'may create fear'.

"contrast between the symbol of innocence and in Act 1, Scene 7 where Lady Macbeth would ‘dash the brains out’ of a child for her aim to become Queen."
Here you need to change this sentence slightly to make it read properly. I would again suggest that you write 'the symbol of the innocence of a child', and you also need a noun, such as '...and Lady Macbeth's brutality in Act 1, Scene 7 where she would...'.

"Where Lady Macbeth uses the noun ‘human’"
Just to make this phrase read a little better I would change it to 'Lady Macbeth's use of the noun 'human' '.

"this could possibly make Lady Macbeth". "Shakespeare, possibly could have used this to"
In these sentences, the use of the word 'could' is right, but I would recommend that you get rid of 'possibly' as it doesn't really add anything.

"dissociate Lady Macbeth with humans"
This should be 'dissociate Lady Macbeth from humans', and you might add that this choice makes her seem supernatural (this point could then give you the opportunity to add more context in that the fear of the supernatural was more acute in the Jacobean period).

"On the other hand,"
Maybe you could start the paragraph with a different phrase, as the point you make in this paragraph doesn't necessarily present an opposing view.

"ambition emphasises from the verb ‘vaulting’ that"
This should be 'is emphasised by'.

"ever growing ambition."
'ever growing' should be hyphenated.

"problem which has taken over himself."
This should be 'problem by which he has been overtaken' (overcome also works).

"puny and decrepit character,"
I feel like there are probably other adjectives that would better suit your point here - maybe 'weak-willed', for example? You might also use the idea of a puppet. This isn't necessarily related to the question you're answering but I think there's an interesting comparison to be drawn between Macbeth being controlled by his wife and the difficult path that Shakespeare had to walk between presenting unconventional ideas (at least for the time) such as powerful female characters, or a fictional Thane-***-King who does objectively terrible things and comes from the same bloodline as King James, and conforming to societal expectations and traditions (writing plays that can be interpreted in such a way that Shakespeare is not executed). You might be able to make this point relevant if you describe the ideas Shakespeare presents as ambitions for a more progressive society, but maybe this would be too much of a stretch.

"interrupts in on"
You should remove 'in on'.

-------------
I'm running out of time to keep writing this now, so I would recommend that you go through the rest of your response in a similar way, checking that the grammar is up to scratch, and ensuring that your phrasing means what you want it to.
I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't say that you're already punching at a very high level. As you can probably tell by the size of each change that I have recommended, I've been going through your work with a fine-tooth comb - which isn't to say that I've spotted every mistake, or that my own writing is better than yours - but I thought that since you're already doing so well it only makes sense to hold your writing to a high standard.
As for large improvements, I think that in some places you may be able to even more thoroughly deconstruct quotations - if you can analyse multiple features of each quotation and relate them to your point then you'll be in a very good position.
For this question specifically, I think you might be able to look into other characters - the knee-jerk reaction of every student reading this question is to talk about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but what about King Duncan? You might suggest that, since he is already the most powerful man in the play, he is blinded to Macbeth's intentions not by ambition but by a lack thereof - it is in this regard that he makes such an effective foil to Macbeth, since he is almost the complete opposite. As a more general point: when constructing your response, don't forget that since the examiner may already have read the same response a thousand times if you write about something new, at the very least talking about something new could attract his attention. Equally, don't try and present a new viewpoint if it's too much of a stretch, but maybe just bear this in mind.

Hope some of this has helped, and your response is great!
Hi there. Thank you for the response and I have noted down on what I need to improve on. Your feedback is much appreciated. I will try to include these corrections in my future essays to try and achieve the top marks.
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