There is so much on-line content for Macbeth.
- Lit charts offer excellent overviews of themes: http://www.litcharts.com/lit/macbeth
- Cliff notes have excellent summaries and analysis of the play: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/m/macbeth/macbeth-at-a-glance
- BBC bitesize is a favourite for revsion: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english_literature/dramamacbeth/
There are also revsion guides, books and quizzes you can buy and work through. However, variety is the spice of revision, and interacting with the text will give you the best results, rather than just reading about it. Try using or creating a graph like the one below.
Each line denotes the rise and fall of power experienced by a particular character or type of character throughout the course of Macbeth. Take a good look and ask yourself:
- What is happening at each point of the play?
- Who might each line represent?
- Do you agree with the placement of each line?
- What evidence might you use in support of the power fluctuations plotted?
- Is there evidence which might challenge this?
Try making your own graphs. You could trace the patterns of theme, character or argument.
- To what extent does Shakespeare feature violence at each point of the play?
- How far are each of your chosen characters sane?
- How far are each of your chosen characters Tragic?
- How far do you agree with the assertion that Shakespeare is a misogynist?
‘Macbeth’ discussion points
Three ways to use these discussion points:
- Discuss the following statements. Your aim is to establish your argument in relation to each discussion point and use analysis of the text to support your interpretation.
- Create flash cards for each statement. Put the discussion point on one side and your ideas and key quotations on the other – then test yourself or a friend.
- You could also use these statements as practice essay questions. Just ask yourself: how far do you agree that
- Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have a good marriage, particularly considering the standards of the time.
- Lady Macbeth’s ambition is the driving force of the play.
- Macbeth is truly evil; thus, it is impossible for an audience of the play to experience catharsis.
- We must consider the genre of Tragedy when evaluating Macbeth’s character.
- Political legitimacy is the most important theme in the play.
- Shakespeare presents Duncan as a good king.
- Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a tyrant.
- Gender is the most important theme in Macbeth.
- Shakespeare subverts gender roles to create conflict and tragedy.
- Fate is the biggest catalyst in the play.
- Shakespeare characterises the witches as fantastical and grotesque.
- Macduff and Banquo are more likely heroes than Macbeth.
- Blood is a significant symbol in Macbeth.
- Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations are crucial to his development as a character.
- Shakespeare’s use of elision (certain key events occurring off-stage) is vital to the effect of the play on the audience.
- Ultimately, Macbeth is a play with a moral message.
- Shakespeare is enlightened in his representations of female characters.
- The Shakespearian context is crucial to unlocking the meanings in Macbeth.
- Children and inheritance are emotive and powerful motivators in Macbeth.
- The beginning and ending of the play demonstrate the true tragedy of Macbeth.
- Nature is an important theme.
- Lady Macbeth is admirable.
- Macbeth’s hubris is the reason for his downfall.
- The murder of Duncan’s guards is a pivotal moment in the play.
- Macbeth is a violent play for a violent time; there is nothing shocking in it.