Kyle McNeil
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Hi, can someone please give me feedback and a rough mark out of 34 and possibly a grade for this exam answer on Macbeth?

Q:
Starting with this speech, explore how far shakespeare presents macbeth as a violent character.

A:
Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a violent character in the extract and throughout the play using exaggerated language and graphic detail. Macbeth is shown to be a hero at the start because of his violent nature as he kills Macdonald who is a traitor. Ironically, Macbeth ends up becoming the traitor that is murdered by Macduff at the end of the play.

In the extract, the Scottish army which is led by Macbeth and Banquo are fighting rebel armies from Norway and Ireland. Shakespeare contrasts the eerie opening scene with the brutality and 'bloody execution' of the battlefield, this sets a violent mood for the rest of the play. The Captain and Duncan describe Macbeth as 'brave' and 'valiant', at this point he's a hero who's loyal to his king and country. The violent imagery describing Macbeth at the start of the play is honourable: his violence on the battlefield is for the king, he is praised and rewarded for killing a treacherous thane (Macdonald): ‘Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chaps / And fixed his head upon our battlements’. Macbeth shows his courage and strength by cutting his enemy open from his navel to his face, the violent verb ‘unseamed’ emphasises how Macbeth opens him up. This violence eventually leads to his downfall which is ironic. It all seems very fluid in motion, this connotes Macbeth is very strong and is unphased by horrifically killing another man.

Throughout the play, Macbeth is described as a ‘tyrant’ because he rules selfishly, using violence. He's rarely referred to ‘king’ which shows that the other characters don't accept him as the true King; a bad king is ‘bloody, Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name.’ Malcolm's describing Macbeth's reign here - he's ‘avaricious’ because he's motivated by selfish greed, his lies make him ‘false’ and ‘deceitful’, and he's ‘bloody’ because he uses violence to keep control over his people. Macbeth removes Macdonald’s head and displays it from the battlements which has a clear purpose. When Shakespeare was writing, anyone sentenced to death for treason, such as Guy Fawkes after the failed Gunpowder Plot, would be hung, drawn and quartered and their heads would be shown on pikes on Traitor’s Gate. This was the gateway prisoners would pass through as they entered the Tower of London and this was done to make sure people thought twice before acting against their king and country. At the end of the play, Macduff removes Macbeth’s head, Macduff seems to be displaying it as he asks them to look at it: ‘Behold where stands / the usurper’s cursed head’. This moment makes Macbeth’s heroism at the start a bit ironic which implies he was a hero for killing Macdonald who was a traitor to the king. On the other hand, almost immediately after that Macbeth becomes a traitor as he murdered the king and took over Scotland. However, this links back to the witches’ statement: 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'. The warriors fighting believed in the heroic code: "it was honourable to die in battle." This is why Siward says that his son 'parted well'. The battles were 'bloody' and violent, however participating, fighting and dying was bravely very honourable. This is why Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan seems evil – he killed him while he was sleeping and he did not give Duncan a chance to meet him equally in battle.

Furthermore, violence leads to more violence in Macbeth. Macbeth murders the king and murders to protect his crown thereafter. He even orders for a child to be murdered. The violence of killing King Duncan is clear from the blood on Macbeth’s hands, Macbeth was especially cowardly in the murder and he prevented him from a warrior’s death. Macbeth refers to his hands as ‘a sorry sight’ this evokes that he has done something incredibly weak in murdering Duncan and one who he was honour-bound to serve and protect. After King Duncan’s murder, Macbeth steps away from murdering others with his own hands, he prefers to send murderers to do this for him. This suggests he is still ashamed of using violence against those who don’t deserve it. Alternatively, this could show that he cares so little about human life that he carelessly gives the job of murdering to other people. ‘It will have blood they say: blood will have blood’, Macbeth says this after seeing Banquo’s ghost. This metaphor conveys that once a violent act is committed, more violence will follow. One violent act causes more and more violence. After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth continues to kill others in an attempt to stop anyone else from taking his throne: he hires men to murder Banquo and his son, he hires men to murder Lady Macduff and her son, the guilt of murdering Duncan drives Lady Macbeth to suicide and the murder of Duncan, Lady Macduff, and her son causes Macduff to kill Macbeth. Macbeth will also stop at nothing to protect his crown, he punishes those disloyal to him (including women and children). He sends murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, who escapes. After Macduff leaves for England, Macbeth sends more murderers to kill his wife and children in their home. The murder of Macduff’s son can be seen: ‘he has killed me, mother’, the murder of children is very violent and devastating because children are symbolic of innocence so they cannot protect themselves. Shakespeare uses emotive language here because Macduff's son is calling out to his ‘mother’ and he is young. This violence reflects how evil Macbeth has become.

In conclusion, we can see that Macbeth is an extremely violent character and Shakespeare presents this through the use of exaggerated language and graphic detail like he murders Macduff's son who is only a child. So what the play gives us is two different types of violence: one that is acceptable and one that is criminal; the first holds Scotland together while the second tears it apart.

This is for GCSE AQA English Literature!
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user816452627358
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(Original post by Kyle McNeil)
Hi, can someone please give me feedback and a rough mark out of 34 and possibly a grade for this exam answer on Macbeth?

Q:
Starting with this speech, explore how far shakespeare presents macbeth as a violent character.

A:
Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a violent character in the extract and throughout the play using exaggerated language and graphic detail. Macbeth is shown to be a hero at the start because of his violent nature as he kills Macdonald who is a traitor. Ironically, Macbeth ends up becoming the traitor that is murdered by Macduff at the end of the play.

In the extract, the Scottish army which is led by Macbeth and Banquo are fighting rebel armies from Norway and Ireland. Shakespeare contrasts the eerie opening scene with the brutality and 'bloody execution' of the battlefield, this sets a violent mood for the rest of the play. The Captain and Duncan describe Macbeth as 'brave' and 'valiant', at this point he's a hero who's loyal to his king and country. The violent imagery describing Macbeth at the start of the play is honourable: his violence on the battlefield is for the king, he is praised and rewarded for killing a treacherous thane (Macdonald): ‘Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chaps / And fixed his head upon our battlements’. Macbeth shows his courage and strength by cutting his enemy open from his navel to his face, the violent verb ‘unseamed’ emphasises how Macbeth opens him up. This violence eventually leads to his downfall which is ironic. It all seems very fluid in motion, this connotes Macbeth is very strong and is unphased by horrifically killing another man.

Throughout the play, Macbeth is described as a ‘tyrant’ because he rules selfishly, using violence. He's rarely referred to ‘king’ which shows that the other characters don't accept him as the true King; a bad king is ‘bloody, Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name.’ Malcolm's describing Macbeth's reign here - he's ‘avaricious’ because he's motivated by selfish greed, his lies make him ‘false’ and ‘deceitful’, and he's ‘bloody’ because he uses violence to keep control over his people. Macbeth removes Macdonald’s head and displays it from the battlements which has a clear purpose. When Shakespeare was writing, anyone sentenced to death for treason, such as Guy Fawkes after the failed Gunpowder Plot, would be hung, drawn and quartered and their heads would be shown on pikes on Traitor’s Gate. This was the gateway prisoners would pass through as they entered the Tower of London and this was done to make sure people thought twice before acting against their king and country. At the end of the play, Macduff removes Macbeth’s head, Macduff seems to be displaying it as he asks them to look at it: ‘Behold where stands / the usurper’s cursed head’. This moment makes Macbeth’s heroism at the start a bit ironic which implies he was a hero for killing Macdonald who was a traitor to the king. On the other hand, almost immediately after that Macbeth becomes a traitor as he murdered the king and took over Scotland. However, this links back to the witches’ statement: 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'. The warriors fighting believed in the heroic code: "it was honourable to die in battle." This is why Siward says that his son 'parted well'. The battles were 'bloody' and violent, however participating, fighting and dying was bravely very honourable. This is why Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan seems evil – he killed him while he was sleeping and he did not give Duncan a chance to meet him equally in battle.

Furthermore, violence leads to more violence in Macbeth. Macbeth murders the king and murders to protect his crown thereafter. He even orders for a child to be murdered. The violence of killing King Duncan is clear from the blood on Macbeth’s hands, Macbeth was especially cowardly in the murder and he prevented him from a warrior’s death. Macbeth refers to his hands as ‘a sorry sight’ this evokes that he has done something incredibly weak in murdering Duncan and one who he was honour-bound to serve and protect. After King Duncan’s murder, Macbeth steps away from murdering others with his own hands, he prefers to send murderers to do this for him. This suggests he is still ashamed of using violence against those who don’t deserve it. Alternatively, this could show that he cares so little about human life that he carelessly gives the job of murdering to other people. ‘It will have blood they say: blood will have blood’, Macbeth says this after seeing Banquo’s ghost. This metaphor conveys that once a violent act is committed, more violence will follow. One violent act causes more and more violence. After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth continues to kill others in an attempt to stop anyone else from taking his throne: he hires men to murder Banquo and his son, he hires men to murder Lady Macduff and her son, the guilt of murdering Duncan drives Lady Macbeth to suicide and the murder of Duncan, Lady Macduff, and her son causes Macduff to kill Macbeth. Macbeth will also stop at nothing to protect his crown, he punishes those disloyal to him (including women and children). He sends murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance, who escapes. After Macduff leaves for England, Macbeth sends more murderers to kill his wife and children in their home. The murder of Macduff’s son can be seen: ‘he has killed me, mother’, the murder of children is very violent and devastating because children are symbolic of innocence so they cannot protect themselves. Shakespeare uses emotive language here because Macduff's son is calling out to his ‘mother’ and he is young. This violence reflects how evil Macbeth has become.

In conclusion, we can see that Macbeth is an extremely violent character and Shakespeare presents this through the use of exaggerated language and graphic detail like he murders Macduff's son who is only a child. So what the play gives us is two different types of violence: one that is acceptable and one that is criminal; the first holds Scotland together while the second tears it apart.

This is for GCSE AQA English Literature!
Hello, this is a fantastic answer! There are lots of clear points and evidence in your answer! The only improvement I would give you is to refer more to context as you haven't wrote much about context. Also, you could add a bit more information about how Shakespeare presents Macbeth in the extract you have been given as you have written a lot about the whole play but not as much about the extract.

I would give this answer about:
Analysis: 23/30
AO4: 3/4
Total: 26/34
Approximately a grade 7 or 8
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Kyle McNeil
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#3
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#3
(Original post by user816452627358)
Hello, this is a fantastic answer! There are lots of clear points and evidence in your answer! The only improvement I would give you is to refer more to context as you haven't wrote much about context. Also, you could add a bit more information about how Shakespeare presents Macbeth in the extract you have been given as you have written a lot about the whole play but not as much about the extract.

I would give this answer about:
Analysis: 23/30
AO4: 3/4
Total: 26/34
Approximately a grade 7 or 8
Thank you so much for your feedback!
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