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What would be a good thesis statement for this Macbeth essay prompt?here is the...

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jennafrostlol | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2009 at 5:50 AM via web

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What would be a good thesis statement for this Macbeth essay prompt?

here is the prompt:

through sharp contrast, a character foil enhances certain traits of a central character. Analyze how one or more secondary characters operate as foils and are employed to develop both character and theme in macbeth.

im having trouble thinking of a thesis statement/theme statement. please help!

thank you in advance. i struggle so much with english...it's not my first language.

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markchambers1966 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 15, 2009 at 11:32 PM (Answer #1)

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through sharp contrast, a character foil enhances certain traits of a central character. Analyze how one or more secondary characters operate as foils and are employed to develop both character and theme in macbeth...

What this means/is after is about how one character exists in the play to show us more about the main character.

Your thesis theme could be: 'How does Shakespeare use the character of Lady Macbeth to enable us to understand the motivations of Macbeth better?'

You could approach this from a feminist perspective...does Lady MacBeth serve a character purpose independantly of Macbeth, or does she exist only to tell us about Macbeth? For instance half way through the play when she ceases to 'be useful' she disappears, then returns later having gone insane and commits suicide. So she exists to show us how Macbeth can be manipulated by his wife and that he loves her at the start of the play ('dearest chuck') - she is ambitious for him and could be seen as acting as 'Eve' to tempt him to destruction - as indeed so could the witches.

Examine their relationship and consider if it is possible to see her as a true independant character, or is she only a plot device to get Macbeth to act in certain fashions.

Could be interesting...hope this has been helpful.

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted November 16, 2009 at 3:38 AM (Answer #2)

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Character-contrasts or Foils are quite common in drama and fiction. In 'Macbeth', almost all the other characters are drawn as foils to the protagonist. Lady Macbeth lacks her husband's imaginative insight and farsight, and she goes against her female self to goad Macbeth to Duncan's murder. Macduff is a man of genuine emotions and active goodness to oppose the usurping king, Macbeth. The king of England, bestowed with divine benediction, is a healing king, and thus another foil to the 'tyrant' Macbeth. There is a clear contrast between the good old king Duncan and the killer-king, Macbeth, unleashing a reign of terror to hold on to his kingship.

All these characters are unlike Macbeth in one or more aspects. Each of these foils highlights this or that aspect of Macbeth's character.

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