Past Exam Questions on ‘Macbeth’ – Update

Standard

2014

‘Macbeth’s relationships with other characters can be seen primarily as power struggles which prove crucial to the outcome of the play.’ Discuss the above statement in relation to at least two of Macbeth’s relationships with other characters. Support your answer with suitable reference to the play, ‘Macbeth’.

or

‘Throughout the play, ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare makes effective use of a variety of dramatic techniques that evoke a wide range of responses from the audience.’ Discuss this view with reference to at least two dramatic techniques used by Shakespeare in the play. Support your answer with suitable reference to the text.

2013

‘The variety of significant insights that we gain into Macbeth’s mind proves critical in shaping our understanding of his complex character’. Discuss this view, supporting your answer with suitable reference to the play, ‘Macbeth’.

or

Shakespeare makes effective use of disturbing imagery in the play, ‘Macbeth’. Discuss this statement with suitable reference to the text.

2009

‘Macbeth’s murder of Duncan has horrible consequences both for Macbeth himself and for Scotland.’ Write a response to this statement. You should refer to the play in your answer.

or

‘”Macbeth” has all the ingredients of compelling drama.’ Write a response to this statement, commenting on one or more of the ingredients, which in your opinion, make ‘Macbeth’ a compelling drama.

2007

‘The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth undergoes significant change during the course of the play.’ Discuss this statement, supporting your answer by suitable reference to the text.

or

‘Essentially the play ‘Macbeth’ is about power, its uses and abuses.’ Discuss this view of the play, supporting your answer with the aid of suitable reference to the text.

 

2004

‘Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ invites us to look into the world of a man driven on by ruthless ambition and tortured by regret.’ Write a response to this view of the play ‘Macbeth’, supporting the points you make by reference to the text.

or

‘The play ‘Macbeth’ has many scenes of compelling drama.’ Choose one scene that you found compelling and say why you found it to be so. Support your answer by reference to the play.

 

2003

‘We feel very little pity for the central characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play.’ To what extent would you agree with the above view? Support your answer by reference to the play.

or

‘In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil.’ Write your response to the above statement. Textual support may include reference to a particular performance of the play you have seen.

 

1995

Discuss the course and nature of the resistance to Macbeth’s rule in the play. Support your answer by relevant quotation or reference to the play.

or

‘Kingship, with all its potential for good or evil, is a major theme of the play ‘Macbeth’.’ Discuss this view, supporting your answer with quotation from or reference to the play.

 

1991

‘The eternal struggle between good and evil – a struggle in which evil comes very close to victory – is the central them of the play ‘Macbeth’.’ Discuss this view and show how the struggle is illustrated in the imagery of the play. Support your answer by reference or quotation.

or

‘While there are redeeming features in the character of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a ruthless opportunist whose ambition for her husband supersedes all moral considerations.’ Discuss this view, supporting your answer by reference or quotation.

 

1987

‘The Banquo Macbeth has killed is not the innocent soldier who met the witches and scorned their prophecies, nor the man who prayed to be delivered from temptation. He is a man whose principles have been deeply compromised.’ Discuss this view, supporting your answer by quotation or reference.

or

Discuss the way in which the language of the play ‘Macbeth’ contributes to the creation of the atmosphere of evil and violence which pervades the play. Support your answer by relevant quotation or reference.

 

1983

‘The witches in ‘Macbeth’ are malevolent creatures, who originate deeds of blood and have power over the soul.’ Discuss the role of the witches in the play in the light of this statement. Support your answer with appropriate reference or quotation.

or

Discuss the way in which light/darkness, violent imagery and unnatural happenings are used in ‘Macbeth’ to create atmosphere. Support your answer with appropriate quotation or reference.

 

1979

‘Their partnership in guilt, which at the beginning of the play is a strong bond between them, gradually drives Macbeth and his wife apart, until they go down to their separate dooms, isolated and alone.’ Discuss this view, with the aid of suitable quotation or reference.

or

‘Lady Macbeth is no monster. She is a loyal (though misguided) wife, not without tenderness and not without conscience.’ What do you think of this estimation of Lady Macbeth? Support your answer with relevant quotation or reference.

 

1975

‘In ‘Macbeth’ Shakespeare does not present Macbeth as a mere villain, but succeeds in arousing some measure of sympathy for him.’ Discuss the character of Macbeth in the light of this statement, supporting your answer by relevant quotation or reference.

or

‘In ‘Macbeth’ the inner self is conveyed, not through the ideas expressed, nor through the actions performed, but by means of an elaborate pattern of imagery and symbolism.’ Test the truth of this statement by considering any two of the play’s central characters and the images and symbols associated with them. Support your answer by relevant quotation or reference.

 

1971

‘In the play ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare had heightened our experience of wickedness and disorder by setting them against a background of goodness and order.’ Discuss this view with the aid of appropriate reference or quotation.

or

Discuss the view that Lady Macbeth has more in common with the Witches than with Lady Macduff. Support your answer with suitable reference or quotation.

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