Macbeth: Essay Topics
1) The supernatural plays an important role in Macbeth. To what extent does it motivate Macbeth's actions?
2) Discuss King Duncan and examine what contribution he makes to the play.
3) In constructing Macbeth, Shakespeare dramatically altered historical characters to enhance certain themes. Examine Shakespeare's sources and discuss why he made these radical changes.
4) Is Lady Macbeth more responsible than Macbeth for the murder of King Duncan? Is Lady Macbeth a more evil character than her husband and, if so, why?
5) The sleepwalking scene in Act V is one of the most memorable in all of drama. Relate this scene to the overall play and examine what makes Lady Macbeth's revelation so provoking.
6) Choose two of the minor characters in Macbeth and examine how they contribute to the play's action.
7) The witches tell Banquo that he will be the father of future kings. How does Banquo's reaction reveal his true character?
8) Examine Macbeth's mental deterioration throughout the play.
9) Discuss the speech Macbeth gives upon hearing that his wife is dead in Act V, Scene V. How do his words capture one of the major themes in the drama?
Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?
Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
An Elizabethan Christmas
Clothing in Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
Going to a Play in Elizabethan London
Research Your Topic
Macbeth: The Complete Play with Annotations and Commentary
The Metre of Macbeth: Blank Verse and Rhymed Lines
Macbeth Character Introduction
Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)
Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
Soliloquy Analysis: She should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)
Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
The Psychoanalysis of Lady Macbeth (Sleepwalking Scene)
Lady Macbeth's Suicide
Is Lady Macbeth's Swoon Real?
Explanatory Notes for the Witches' Chants (4.1)
Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)
A Comparison of Macbeth and Hamlet
The Effect of Lady Macbeth's Death on Macbeth
The Curse of Macbeth
James I and Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
Macbeth Q & A
Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
What is Tragic Irony?
Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth
Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy
Shakespeare's Workmanship: Crafting a Sympathetic Macbeth
Temptation, Sin, Retribution: Lecture Notes on Macbeth
Untie the winds: Exploring the Witches' Control Over Nature in Macbeth
What is Tragic Irony?
Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama