In a paragraph, how can I discuss the development of one theme from Macbeth by giving textual evidence of that theme?Please use direct quotes from Macbeth

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With the limitation of one paragraph, the choice of themes from Macbeth should also be limited to a smaller theme. Perhaps, then, a lesser theme such as Kingship vs. Tyranny could be discussed in a structure referred to as a "one-paragraph essay" composed of the following:

  • Topic Sentence (this is your general statement regarding the theme. e.g. In Shakespeare's Macbeth there is a thematic contrast between tyranny and kingship.)
  • Specific support
  • Specific support
  • Specific support
  • Reworded topic sentence

Important to the impact of this mini-version of an essay is, as you can see, sufficient support.  Also, in order to do a thorough examination of a theme in a paragraph, you will want to make each sentence rather long, using as many complex-compound sentences as possible so that you can include several ideas into one sentence. For example as your next sentence after stating the theme of Kingship vs. Tyranny, you could write something like this (which also exemplifies the type of sentence to write that is mentioned above):

In a conversation that takes place in Act III, Scene 4, Macduff meets Malcolm who, pretending that he would make a worse king than Macbeth, states that he desires power and possesses a violent temperament, yet at the same time he juxtaposes these faults with his recognition of the qualities of a good king,

The king-becoming graces,
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, (4.3.103-106)

From this first support, then you can explicate the tyranny of Macbeth in contrast to that of Duncan by citing passages earlier in the play that denote Duncan's benevolence such as Macbeth's words himself as he is reluctant to kill the man who has befriended him in Act I, Scene 7, and, later Malcolm, who later in Act IV discusses the tyrannical nature of Macbeth. (Follow the blueprint given for the one-paragraph essay, and you will have a coherent, unified paragraph.)


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