30 Macbeth Essay Topics

Most commonly assigned as required reading for high school and college students, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. The play is set in medieval Scotland and chronicles the rise and fall of its eponymous protagonist, Macbeth, who murders his way to the throne but is ultimately undone by his ambition and paranoia.

While Macbeth can be a challenging read, it is also one of the most rewarding, offering a complex and multi-layered exploration of themes like ambition, morality, and fate.

If you are tasked with writing an essay on Macbeth, there are many possible essay writing formats you can use to analyze, compare, summarize, and discuss the play. This guide will walk you through writing a Macbeth essay and provide 30 Macbeth essay topics to get you started on your next writing assignment.

Argumentative Essay Writing for Macbeth

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that asks you to take a position on a given issue or question. Argumentative essays are common assignments in high school and college, especially in literature courses.

In an argumentative essay about Macbeth, you will take one position on one of the play’s many themes and argue for your interpretation using specific evidence from the text.

Argumentative essay topics for Macbeth need to include both sides of the argument and should be framed as a question. For example, “Is Macbeth a tragic hero?” or “What is the role of gender in Macbeth?”

Once you have chosen your topic, you will need to find evidence from the play to support your position. Be sure to cite specific lines and passages from the text as evidence in your essay.

Comparative Essay Writing for Macbeth

Comparative essays ask you to compare and contrast two or more things such as characters, themes, motifs, plot elements, etc. A comparative essay about Macbeth can take many different forms, but one common approach is to compare the characters of Macbeth and Banquo.

When writing a comparative essay about Macbeth and Banquo, you will want to consider how they are similar and different. What motivates them? How do they react to the events of the play? Are they good or evil? You can also compare and contrast other pairs of characters, such as Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff or Duncan and Malcolm.

Persuasive Essay About Macbeth

In a persuasive essay, your goal as the writer is to convince your reader to agree with your position on a given issue or question. Like an argumentative essay, you will want to use evidence from the play to support your claims.

When writing a persuasive essay about Macbeth, you can take a position on anything from whether or not Macbeth is a tragic hero to what motivates the characters in the play.

Unlike an argumentative essay on Macbeth, a persuasive essay about the play will need to be heavily opinionated to make a convincing argument. Be sure to take a clear and definitive stance on your chosen topic, and use specific evidence from the play to support your claims.

Narrative Essay About Macbeth

A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story. In a narrative essay about Macbeth, you will be asked to recount and describe an event or series of events from the play. Your goal in a narrative essay is not to take a position or argue a point but simply to tell the story in an engaging and interesting way.

Formatting Citations for a Macbeth Essay

Since you will need to cite directly from the play to back up the arguments and comparisons drawn from the play, it’s essential to understand the correct formatting for quotations from Macbeth.

If you are asked to write in MLA formatting (standard at most educational institutions), each quotation will need to be ended with the speaker’s name in italics, followed by the act, scene number, and line number(s) in parentheses.

For example:

“…Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” ( Macbeth 5.5.17-28).

If the quoted text is more than one line, be sure to separate each verse with a forward slash as follows:

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” ( Macbeth 5.5.17-28).

If the quoted text is part of a conversation, use block quotations by indenting each line of the quoted text 1″ from the left margin (hit the TAB button twice). Additionally, you’ll need to capitalize all of the letters in the name. End the quote with the plays name, act, and scene number as follows:

HAMLET. To be, or not to be–that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them… ( Hamlet 3.1.56-60)

You’ll notice that after the initial 1″ margin, each subsequent line will also need an additional indentation. If quoting dialogue from two or more people, each person should start with capital letters and an indented 1″ margin:

FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly’s done,

When the battle’s lost and won . ( Macbeth 1.1.1-4)

With the vast amount of information and things to discuss in the play Macbeth, it can be hard to narrow it all down to one topic. But, with this list of 30 Macbeth essay topics, you should have no trouble coming up with an essay to fit your needs.

  • How does Macbeth’s character change throughout the play?
  • Is Macbeth a tragic hero? Why or why not?
  • Who is most responsible for Macbeth’s downfall?
  • Discuss the role of gender in Macbeth.
  • Is ambition a positive or negative trait? Use examples from Macbeth to support your claim.
  • How does Shakespeare use the supernatural in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the role of fate in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship.
  • Discuss the role of deception in Macbeth.
  • What motivates the characters in Macbeth?
  • Is violence ever justified? Use examples from Macbeth to support your claim.
  • Discuss the theme of ambition in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast the characters of Macbeth and Banquo.
  • Discuss the theme of power in Macbeth.
  • Discuss the theme of loyalty in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of the witches in Macbeth?
  • How does Shakespeare use foreshadowing in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the role of greed in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of Macbeth’s soliloquies?
  • Discuss the theme of betrayal in Macbeth.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s attitudes toward power.
  • Discuss the theme of sanity vs. insanity in Macbeth.
  • Discuss the theme of appearance vs. reality in Macbeth.
  • How does Shakespeare use irony in Macbeth?
  • What is the significance of blood in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the theme of corruption in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of nature vs. nurture in Macbeth?
  • Discuss the theme of good vs. evil in Macbeth.
  • What is the significance of the title “Macbeth”?

With these Macbeth essay topics, you should have no trouble coming up with an essay to fit your needs. Remember to cite all quotes and paraphrases from the play Macbeth and use MLA format.

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121 Macbeth Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Inside This Article

Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is a tragedy that tells the story of a Scottish general named Macbeth who becomes consumed by ambition and power. It is one of Shakespeare's most famous and enduring plays, exploring themes of ambition, guilt, and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

If you are studying Macbeth and need some inspiration for essay topics, look no further! Here are 121 Macbeth essay topic ideas and examples to help you get started:

  • Analyze the role of the witches in Macbeth and their influence on the characters.
  • Discuss the theme of ambition in Macbeth and how it leads to the downfall of the main characters.
  • Explore the theme of guilt in Macbeth and how it shapes the actions of the characters.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's reactions to guilt and the consequences of their actions.
  • Discuss the role of gender in Macbeth and how it influences the characters' actions and decisions.
  • Analyze the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and how it evolves throughout the play.
  • Discuss the theme of betrayal in Macbeth and how it drives the plot forward.
  • Explore the theme of fate in Macbeth and how the characters try to defy or accept their destinies.
  • Analyze the role of blood in Macbeth and how it symbolizes guilt and violence.
  • Discuss the theme of power in Macbeth and how it corrupts the characters.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth's ambition with that of other characters in the play.
  • Analyze the role of the supernatural in Macbeth and how it influences the characters' actions.
  • Discuss the theme of appearance vs. reality in Macbeth and how it impacts the characters' perceptions of themselves and others.
  • Explore the theme of justice in Macbeth and how the characters seek retribution for their actions.
  • Analyze the role of madness in Macbeth and how it affects the characters' decisions and behaviors.
  • Discuss the theme of loyalty in Macbeth and how the characters' loyalty to one another changes throughout the play.
  • Explore the theme of prophecy in Macbeth and how the characters interpret and react to the prophecies they receive.
  • Analyze the role of manipulation in Macbeth and how the characters use it to achieve their goals.
  • Discuss the theme of morality in Macbeth and how the characters struggle with their sense of right and wrong.
  • Compare and contrast Macbeth's downfall with that of other tragic heroes in literature.
  • Analyze the role of the natural world in Macbeth and how it reflects the characters' emotional states.
  • Discuss the theme of power dynamics in Macbeth and how they influence the characters' relationships.
  • Explore the theme of loyalty vs. betrayal in Macbeth and how it shapes the characters' actions.
  • Analyze the role of prophecy in Macbeth and how the characters' belief in fate affects their decisions.
  • Discuss the theme of violence in Macbeth and how it drives the plot forward.
  • Analyze the role of gender in Macbeth and how it influences the characters' actions and decisions.
  • Discuss the theme of deception in Macbeth and how the characters use it to achieve their goals.
  • Explore the theme of morality in Macbeth and how the characters struggle with their sense of right and wrong.
  • Discuss the theme of madness in Macbeth and how it affects the characters' decisions and behaviors.

In conclusion, Macbeth is a rich and complex play that offers a myriad of themes and topics for analysis. Whether you are exploring the characters' motivations, the role of the supernatural, or the consequences of unchecked ambition, there is no shortage of material to discuss. Hopefully, these 121 Macbeth essay topic ideas and examples have sparked your interest and inspired you to delve deeper into this timeless Shakespearean tragedy.

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20 Essays About Macbeth – Exploring A Tragic Play Through Written Words

Is Macbeth a tragic hero? Here are 20 essays about Macbeth that can help you explore this and other questions.

Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare initially performed in the early 1600s, explores the decline of the character Macbeth as his ambition drives him mad. As Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, literary critics and school students often discuss this play.

In the story, Macbeth is given a prophecy from three witches that he is destined to become King of Scotland. His wife overhears, and she joins him on a quest to make this happen that ends in several murders.

Like all of Shakespeare’s works, this play lends itself well to interesting essay topics. If you need to write one, these ideas for essays about Macbeth will get you started. You might also be interested in these essay topics about Macbeth .

For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers .

1. Explore Macbeth’s Mental Deterioration

2. discuss what mental health problems macbeth had, 3. explore gender roles in macbeth, 4. determine macbeth’s tragic flaw, 5. decide if the witches in macbeth are real, 6. compare and contrast macduff, banquo, and macbeth, 7. discuss the role of blood in macbeth, 8. determine how macbeth’s ambition led to his downfall, 9. decide whether macbeth is a moral play, 10. which macbeth betrayal is worse, 11. what motivated macbeth’s actions, 12. compare and contrast macbeth and banquo’s behaviors after hearing the prophecy, 13. sleep as a theme in macbeth, 14. who is responsible for macbeth becoming king of scotland, 15. how macbeth’s ambition and paranoia intertwine, 16. does macbeth have free will, or is he serving fate.

  • 17. What Is the Main Root of Evil in Shakespeare’s Play, Macbeth?

18. Who Really Pushed Macbeth to Murder?

19. are malcolm, macduff, or banquo necessary characters in the play, 20. how do you feel about macbeth at the end of the play.

Essays About Macbeth

The character of Macbeth goes through a significant mental health crisis throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth seems like a mentally healthy and stable individual. As the story unfolds and his greed for power increases, his mental health declines.

This essay could discuss what caused the mental health decline in the play’s main character, or it could simply explore the progression. There are many ways to take this essay idea and expand it into an intricate piece. A closer look at Macbeth’s mind reveals several fascinating scenarios.

Mental health is a theme of the play Macbeth . Today, more knowledge about mental health conditions and their effects makes it possible to explore these themes more deeply. An engaging Macbeth essay idea would be to examine what mental health concerns he possibly had.

This essay idea requires a little bit of research outside of the play itself. You will need to research potential mental health conditions that line up with Macbeth’s character development. However, it can be an exciting way to explore the character more in-depth.

Gender roles in the Shakesperean world are interesting to explore when contrasting them to modern ideas about gender and the role of women in society. Lady Macbeth begins to take on masculine characteristics in this play as she pushes Macbeth towards Duncan’s murder and takes the dominant role in the marriage.

Lady Macbeth actually asks the spirits to take away her gender at one point in the play. The weird sisters also disrupt the traditional gender roles of Shakespeare’s time. They even boast beards, which further indicates this disparity.

The realities of human nature mean that people have inborn character traits that make life more challenging for them. A tragic flaw is a character’s defect that eventually leads to their downfall. Since Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy, the main character has a tragic flaw that is the eventual cause of his demise.

What is Macbeth’s tragic flaw? Answering this question can lead to a detailed essay. Your conclusion may be different from someone else’s conclusion. Within the article, you can explore the proof that your idea about Macbeth’s tragic flaw is the right one.

The weird sisters in Macbeth are some of the unique characters in the play. Yet because many of the themes are about ghosts and dreams, the reader is left to wonder whether or not these witches are real.

This topic could create an exciting essay. The writer would look at different aspects of the play to determine whether Shakespeare is alluding to the witches’ reality or leaving them as a figment of Macbeth’s imagination, using the essay to discuss the potential proofs.

This essay topic gives the writer the chance to show the similarities and differences between these three characters. Throughout doing so, the writer can argue whether one of the characters is the story’s true villain. The differences and similarities would provide a significant amount of writing material.

With this topic, the writer could compare and contrast all three or pick just two, depending on the length of the essay. The writer should look at character qualities and the players’ actions within the story.

Essays About Macbeth: Discuss the role of blood in Macbeth

Throughout the play, blood serves as a symbol of guilt . For example, Macbeth says: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” He feels the blood will never be off his hands, indicating his guilt’s depth.

Lady Macbeth says, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!. Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” As she tries to remove a bloodstain no one else can see, it is clear she also feels tremendous guilt for her crimes.

Explore the role of blood in the play and discuss how it symbolizes guilt in your essay. 

Many literary critics believe that Macbeth’s ambition was his tragic flaw. His ambition makes him repeatedly kill because he must continue killing to cover up his past murders. All of this drive to be the king of Scotland makes him lose control.

The downfall of his unbridled ambition is shown when he murders Macduff’s wife and children. This part of the play shows that Macbeth has lost all control over his dream, and this action is what causes many to call it his tragic flaw.

A moral play is one where justice is served in the end. Macbeth loses his life, which could indicate justice served for the murder of Duncan. However, others may argue that there is very little morality throughout the play.

Can a play about murder and unbridled ambition indeed be a moral play? This is the question you must try to answer through this essay. It has no right or wrong answer, so spend some time considering it.

In the play, Macbeth betrays two people. First, he crosses King Duncan by plotting and executing his murder. Second, he betrays his friend Manquo by killing his family.

This essay will discuss which of these two betrayals is considered worse. Is it worse to betray a monarch, or is it worse to betray someone close to you? The answer will be based on your opinion, and you can use the essay to explain and defend your choice.

Macbeth’s actions in the play stem from a deeper motivation, but you need to figure out how to express just what that is. Is he motivated by his ambition primarily, or does the fear of the supernatural spur him to action?

Take a look at the clues in the play to determine your answer to this crucial question, then craft an essay that proves your choice. You may discover a motivator that few have written on. Use it well, and you can compose an engaging article on this topic.

Both Macbeth and Banquo’s behaviors change after hearing the witches’ prophecy. You can create an essay that compares these responses and contrasts them. Take some time to study them before you begin writing.

This type of character analysis and contrast works well for an essay. It shows your critical thinking abilities. With this essay topic, you can also explore the negative and positive changes the characters experience throughout Shakespeare’s play.

In Macbeth , the main character spends a lot of time asleep and having dreams. This fact means that sleep is a central theme of the play, and that idea can create an exciting essay topic option.

Why do you think Shakespeare relies on sleep so much in his story? Is there a parallel between the decline in mental health and the increase in the sleep of the main character? This essay idea can go quite far as you delve into the topic.

As the play nears its climax, Macbeth moves from being the thane of Cawdor to the King of Scotland due to his betrayal and murder, but who is responsible? Is Lady Macbeth the responsible party, or do the witches have a role to play? Is the responsibility all on Macbeth himself?

The story of the tragic hero can have quite a few responsible parties. You may come to a different conclusion than another writer. If you can clearly defend your choice, you have a solid essay idea on your hands.

Towards the end of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth’s ambition and paranoia become so entwined that it is hard to tell one from the other. This progression could make for an interesting essay topic. You could explore the progression, then show how his obsession made it impossible to enjoy his role as king.

To make this essay topic work, you will want to look at the fact that the sad end of the play shows Macbeth without the potential to produce an heir and thus no hope for a future legacy. His ambition and paranoia mixing in this way eventually led to his downfall.

Because of the witches’ prophecy, one could argue that Macbeth lacks free will in the play and instead is simply following the fate prophesied to him. On the other hand, you could also argue that everyone has free will, regardless of what some weird sisters say.

Once you decide your stand on this question, take a close look at the play to determine the proofs that show whether or not Macbeth has free will. Then expound on your findings in your essay.

17. What Is the Main Root of Evil in Shakespeare’s Play,  Macbeth ?

Is the desire for power what causes the evil in the play, or is it Macbeth’s ambition? Is it the underlying forces of evil from the weird sisters or something else? Study the play and determine what you think the root of evil is.

Once you choose, make a case for your choice. Show proof from the play that backs your choice. While there are many causes for the tragedy, you should be able to build a case for one central underlying cause.

There are two characters in the play that push Macbeth to embrace his ambition and pursue it to the point of murder. First, the three witches make the prophecy that gets him thinking about murder.

However, a closer study of the play shows that his wife, more so than the weird sisters, causes him to cross that ethical line and become a murderer. So in your essay, you could easily argue that Lady Macbeth, not the three witches, led to his demise.

As you consider the play’s plot, consider whether any of these three characters could be left out without changing the meaning or direction of the story. You may find that one or more is an unnecessary character.

After discovering who the unnecessary character is in the play, you can discuss it in your essay. Expound on why the character does not bring anything of value to the storyline and how you feel the play could move along better without them.

A final essay topic about Macbeth is a more personal one. Discuss how you feel towards the main character when the play is over. Do you have compassion for his mental illness and overall plight, or are you disgusted by his actions?

Because this is an opinion piece, be careful to explain why you feel the way you do. Expound on your attitude using examples from the play to make this an effective essay.

When studying a piece of literature , understanding what makes up a story can help you discuss and analyze it more effectively. Read our article on  literary elements .

macbeth compare and contrast essay topics

Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

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Study Guide: Macbeth: Comparative Analysis

  • Key facts about Macbeth
  • Historical & Political Background
  • Character Infographics
  • Macbeth Character Map
  • Understanding Shakespeare
  • Macbeth Quiz
  • Comparative Analysis

Comparative analysis

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare:

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth)
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.

From "The comparative essay", Vikki Visvis & Jerry Plotnick, in Writing Advice , University of Toronto, accessed 5/06/2017, <http://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/comparative-essay/>

Literary Comparison

A literary comparison essay is an essay that examines two or more works in relation to one another. It examines a select set of similarities and differences. When reading for analysis, you are not reading for a surface understanding, you are reading to understand why things happen and what the deeper meaning behind a character is, or a setting, or an event.

Block vs Point-by-point Comparative Essay Structure

To deconstruct the topic thoroughly: rewrite the topic in your own words; ask questions of the topic; brainstorm ideas, list your key points in order to ensure that you do not ignore any key element of the topic. Consider which quotations and/or specific text references you can draw on to illustrate and illuminate your key points. Order your points to allow for a logical and cohesive discussion and ensure that you have selected enough examples and quotations for each text to enable sufficient comparison to unfold.

  • Harvard Writing Center: How to write a comparative analysis An article outlining the five elements required to write a good compare-and-contrast essay.
  • Using Textual Evidence A collection of tips on quoting and using textual evidence and the technique of close reading, as well as some basic literary terminology you may find helpful to know.
  • Literary devices and terms List of literary devices with detailed definition and examples.
  • Author's craft: Literary devices A useful website that explains the use of literary devices and their effects.
  • Compare and contrast transition words Some compare and contrast transition words to help in your writing.
  • Comparative linking phrases Some key phrases or words that you might want to use when linking sentences and paragraphs in a comparative analysis.
  • Transitioning - beware of velcro A velcro transition will not persuade an essay's readers that they are in the hands of a serious writer with something serious to say.
  • Types of papers: Compare and contrast To write a compare/contrast essay, you’ll need to make NEW connections and/or express NEW differences between two things.
  • Comparative essay terminology Flashcards and audio - also links to a quiz.

Sample compare/contrast essays

  • Sample compare-contrast essay outline A sample outline for an essay comparing and contrasting Achilles’ and Odysseus’ attitudes toward war. Although this sample mentions only one paragraph per topic sentence, you may have more than one paragraph supporting each main point.
  • Comparing two novels How to compare two novels in a comparative essay with examples.
  • << Previous: Macbeth Quiz
  • Last Updated: Mar 5, 2024 3:42 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.stalbanssc.vic.edu.au/macbeth

The Study Blog :

Simplified macbeth essay guide: summary, key themes, topics and examples.

By Evans Jan 07 2021

Have you ever been so excited about something that you threw reason out of the window? Maybe a palm reader tells you that you will marry your celebrity crush and you end a long term relationship to pave way for this celebrity crush? We have all been silly at some point in life, ambition making us forsake the voice of reason. This is basically what Macbeth is all about; a prophecy that ruins the life of a gallant soldier as he attempts to bite more than he can chew. Before we learn how to write a Macbeth essay, let's begin by looking at the summary and key themes in Macbeth

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Summary of Macbeth

Shakespeare's Macbeth starts with two Scotland generals, Macbeth and Banquo. The two are on their way after fighting two separate enemies. On the way, they meet with three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will be made thane and will later on become king of Scotland. They also tell Banquo that although he will never become king, he will sire a line of kings. When the first part of the prophecy is fulfilled, Macbeth is full of ambition that he does not see reason. He kills King Duncan and becomes the king in his place. Afraid of the rest of the prophecy coming true, Macbeth, instigated by his wife, kills Banquo, and his downfall begins. Macbeth will destroy anything and anyone to protect his power. He is so determined to ensure that the last part of the prophecy does not come true, which only leads to people hating his tyrannical rule and him facing an untimely death.

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Macbeth key themes

'Ambition is a drug that makes its addicts potential madmen .' Before the prophecy, Macbeth seems okay with his life. However, the moment he learns that he can become much more, he loses all control and allows ambition to blind him. At first, he kills King Duncan against his better judgment. However, once he kills to clinch power, he can't seem to stop. He kills whoever tries to oppose him, and finally, he ends up dead.


The supernatural plays a massive role in Macbeth. Macbeth is thrown into a frenzy when the witches tell him that he will be made thane and that later on, he will become king of Scotland. When the first part happens on its own, Macbeth decides to give the prophecy a push and kills King Duncan. Later on, he will do anything to make sure that the rest of it doesn't come to pass.

Guilt plays quite a significant theme in Macbeth. Macbeth feels guilty for killing King Duncan and Banquo. He chooses to deal with that guilt by killing more people, which makes it worse. Macbeth is not the only one being eaten up by guilt. Lady Macbeth slowly loses her sanity after encouraging her husband to kill against his better judgment. She begins sleepwalking, believing that the king's blood is in her hands and there is nothing she can do to wash it off. She does not get a way out of the guilt that is slowly costing her sanity.

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macbeth compare and contrast essay topics

How to write a Macbeth essay

There's nothing as sweet as getting lost in one of Shakespeare's tragic drama. Macbeth is an interesting play to read. However, reading it for school might not be as fun since it involves a lot more than just reading a beautiful story for its beauty. You have to read it, understand it, and analyze it for whatever essay you are supposed to write. Lucky for you, you do not need to worry about that. Paperperhour.com has a team of the best writers who excel in writing literary essays. You do not have to worry about failing in your Macbeth assignment with the right writer.

Macbeth essay topics

There are so many topics that one can write about when it comes to Macbeth. In some cases, the professor will provide you with a given topic and ask you to write a Macbeth essay on it. However, you might be required to choose the essay topic for yourself in some cases. You do not need to worry about how to go about it in such a case. Paper per hour  has provided a list of Macbeth essay topics that you can choose from.

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Critical essay topics for Macbeth

  • Macbeth is the villain of the play. discuss 
  • Discuss the influence that the witches have on Macbeth.
  • What is the role of the women in Macbeth? How does society treat women?
  • Is Lady Macbeth responsible for bringing Macbeth to power or for ruining him?
  • What do Macbeth's visions symbolize?

Analysis essay topics for Macbeth Essay

  • Analyze the prophecies given by the witches. Do all the prophecies come to pass?
  • What are the roles of Macduff and Malcolm?
  • Analyze contributions of two minor characters
  • The role of light and darkness in the play
  • Development of Macbeth as a character in the play
  • Analyze Banquo's reaction to the witches' prophecy
  • Look at the lies, and the half-lies told in the play and their significance.
  • Analyze Macbeth as a tragedy drama

Comparative essay topics for Macbeth

  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Banquo. Are there any similarities between them? What sets them apart? Can we easily dismiss Macbeth as the villain of the play?
  • How do Macbeth and Banquo react to the news of the prophecy? How does the prophecy bring out their true selves?
  • Compare between Macbeth, the main character, and Vladimir Putin. How are they similar? What differences do they have?

Controversial essay topics on Macbeth

  • Describe the seven sin in Macbeth
  • How does Macbeth fit in the Greek mythology?
  • Who is responsible for the death of Macbeth?
  • Who would make the best king for Scotland?

Why you should let paper per hour write the Macbeth essay for you

Getting the right essay topic is the first step to answering a Macbeth question. However, if you are not yet sure of what to write about, worry not; our experts are here to help you out. You do not need to struggle with a Macbeth essay while we have experts whose joy comes from working on such essays . With paper per hour, you are assured of:

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macbeth compare and contrast essay topics

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Macbeth: Shakespeare’s Comparisons and Contrasts

Throughout Macbeth Shakespeare uses comparison and contrast to bring out characteristics of his main character, Macbeth. Shakespeare uses comparison with Duncan, Lady Macbeth, and Banquo to bring out aspects of Macbeth’s character. After hearing of Macbeth’s courageousness on the battlefield, Duncan, a good and honest king, bestows the tittle of Cawdor on Macbeth. The king then proclaims his son Malcom to be Prince of Cumberland, in effect designating him as successor to the throne of Scotland.

This dramatic announcement of Duncan’s hosen successor marks the beginning of an ironic story. It is at this point in the play that we, the audience, become fully aware of Macbeth’s intentions to murder the king. Duncan hails Macbeth as his “worthiest cousin” and blindly entrusts his fate to one whom he considers his “peerless kinsman. ” Shakespeare concentrates on Macbeth’s courage so that he can contrast it later on with the terror and panic of Macbeth’s psychological anguish.

Lady Macbeth will stop at nothing -not even murder- to satisfy her driving ambition. She worries that Macbeth is “too full of the milk of human kindness” to go after the throne. She wants to be tough and begs the spirits to “unsex me here. ” Macbeth, on the other hand, hesitates to murder Duncan for several reasons. Among these reasons the earthly consequences frighten him the most. How would his new subjects react? Would the kingdom disrupt in chaos? Furthermore Macbeth cannot escape present punishment if he fails.

We see Lady Macbeth’s persuasiveness producing a new courage in her husband and that courage s manly enough to perform murder. Therefore, Macbeth has no reasons for murdering Duncan except for his “vaulting ambition,” his lust for power . Throughout the play we see Lady Macbeth’s and Macbeth’s conscience, or lack of, change places. Macbeth transformed from having a guilt ridden conscience to having no conscience what so ever. However, Lady Macbeth changes from having no conscience at all to becoming so guilt ridden that she took her own life.

Like Macbeth, Banquo is courageous. The sergeant who reports to Duncan egards Banquo as being Macbeth’s equal in physical bravery. However, after Macbeth murders Duncan he fears Banquo. For Banquo, besides being Macbeth’s brave and courageous friend is an honorable man; Banquo will avenge the king’s murder . Macbeth struggles with a guilty conscience and a fear of Banquo’s retribution. After contrasting Macbeth with these three characters it is easy to see how Shakespeare created within his hero a growing fear of both the physical and moral consequences of murder.

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Macbeth Essay Topics & Ideas

Use our essay topics suggestions to impress your reader.

  • Argumentative Macbeth Essay Topics
  • Macbeth Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Macbeth Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Macbeth topics about symbolism, essay examples on this topic.

Macbeth is one of the greatest and most powerful emotional tragedies by William Shakespeare with a difficult fate. The tragedy of the crime and punishment of the real Scottish king Macbeth. In pre-revolutionary Russia, the play was banned due to its dangerous exposing power. The authorities were frightened by the monumental scenes of regicide and the abundance of blood.

In the Western theater world, there is a strong belief that a curse hangs over tragedy and that its productions are replete with various dangers. Even the simple pronunciation of the name within the walls of the theater brings danger to it. Legend says that in the scene with the witches, Shakespeare used genuine spells, which aroused the wrath of the practicing witches, who cursed everyone who would be involved in Macbeth. And, funny as it may seem, the list of misfortunes and misunderstandings that happened in Macbeth’s productions is really the most impressive.

How to Choose Essay Topic on Macbeth?

  • Choose a topic that you are interested in and can write about. You should be able to write about the topic for at least five minutes without getting bored or losing your train of thought.
  • Make sure you have enough information on the topic to write an essay with at least three paragraphs, each having at least three sentences.
  • Choose a topic that will allow you to use evidence from the play to support your argument.
  • Choose a topic that is broad enough to allow you to explore the subject in depth, but narrow enough that it’s not too broad.
  • Choose a topic that will allow you to develop an argument and also allow for counterarguments (if needed).
  • Make sure your thesis statement reflects all of these elements, but does not include any unnecessary details from the body paragraphs.

Tips on How to Write Macbeth Essay

Macbeth is a play that has been around for centuries, and it remains popular today. There are many reasons why people love this play: the intricate plot, the language, the drama and suspense. Whatever your reason for reading or writing about Macbeth, here are a few tips on how to write an essay on Shakespeare’s famous play.

  • Choose a thesis statement that reflects your opinion of the play. You should be able to support your thesis with examples from the text.
  • Be sure to cite your sources so that you can avoid plagiarism (and get credit for your work).
  • Use quotes from the text when explaining any concepts that may be unfamiliar to you or your audience (e.g., “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble”).
  • Use active verbs in order to engage readers with action-oriented sentences (e.g., “Lady Macbeth died because she poisoned Duncan”).
  • Be sure not to overuse adjectives or adverbs; they can detract from your thesis by making it too wordy!

 Argumentative Macbeth Essay Topics

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Lady Macbeth’s real name was Gruoch and Macbeth’s real name was Mac Bethad mac Findlaích.

  • Aristotle’s Tragic Hero in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • The ‘Supernatural Scenes’ In Macbeth
  • The Change of Macbeth’s Personality
  • The Character of Macbeth
  • The Downfall of Lady Macbeth
  • The Downfall of Macbeth
  • Macbeth, A Tragic Hero
  • Macbeth: A Play for Our Time
  • Macbeth: A Tale of Two Theories
  • Additional Scene To Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • Consequences of Macbeth’s Murder of Duncan
  • Changing Relationship Between Macbeth ; Lady Macbeths
  • Characteristics and Proof of Macbeth
  • Different Stages of Development In Macbeth
  • Influence of The Supernatural In ‘Macbeth’
  • Is Lady Macbeth A Modern Female Role Model?
  • Is Lady Macbeth A Monster?
  • Lady Macbeth Has Been Described As A Fourth Witch. Do You Consider This To Be Fair Judgement?
  • Lady Macbeth Is Responsible for The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Macbeth Guilty for His Own Do
  • Macbeth Hero or Villain?
  • Macbeth His Fear and His Conscience
  • Macbeth Imagery of Act One
  • Macbeth Importance of Ambition
  • Power In Macbeth
  • Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
  • Role of Ambition In Macbeth
  • Role of Lady Macbeth
  • Traditional and Non-traditional Masculine Representations in Macbeth
  • Macbeth Is A Statement of Evil
  • Macbeth Is Guiltier Than Lady Macbeth
  • Macbeth Tragedy Or Satire
  • Macbeth Tragedy or Satire Research
  • Macbeth Witches’ Brew Notes
  • Macbeth- Appearance Vs. Realities
  • Macbeth- Monster or Man
  • Letter to Lady Macbeth
  • Victim of Fate Macbeth
  • Macbeth’s Inner Turmoil
  • Macbeth’s Mental Deterioration
  • Macbeth’s Vaulting Ambition
  • Macbeth: Characteristics of Macbeth That Led to His Downfall
  • Macbeth: Darkness, Evil, and Tragedy
  • Macbeth: Destiny of Each Character Is Predetermined
  • Macbeth: Macbeth A Murderer?
  • Macbeth: Significant Quotes From Scene Iv
  • Macbeth: Tragic Hero
  • Macbeth: Who Killed Duncan
  • Macbeth’s Vaulting Ambitions
  • Macbeth’s Character Development
  • Macbeth’s Character Development In Act 1 Scene 7
  • Macbeth’s Descent Into Evil
  • The Theme of Appearance and Reality In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’
  • The Witches In Macbeth
  • With Reference To The Soliloquies, Analyse Macbeth’S Mental Deterioration
  • Macbeth Polanski or Freeston
  • The Macduffs Are Foils To The Macbeths Sample
  • The People Versus Lady Macbeth
  • Lady Macbeth’s Character Changes Throughout The Play

What arguments does Lady Macbeth use to convince Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth taunts him for his fears and ambivalence, telling him he will only be a man when he carries out the murder. She states that she herself would go so far as to take her own nursing baby and dash its brains if necessary. She counsels him to “screw [his] courage to the sticking place” and details the way they will murder the king (60).

What are some examples of evil in Macbeth?

Examples Of Evil In MacbethWilliam Shakespeare ‘s Macbeth Essay. 2015 Macbeth Research Paper When studying literature or reading a play, our attention is drawn to the protagonist or antagonist.A Discussion On Morals And Freedom Essay. Women Are The Most Evil In Macbeth Essay.

What is good and evil in Macbeth?

Macbeth Thesis Statement. In beginning of the play “Macbeth”, the main character Macbeth is depicted brave and faithful soldier and has a significant role before the king. He is the Thane of Glamis and does not need any monetary benefits.

What is a thesis statement for Macbeth?


✨ Best macbeth Topic Ideas & Essay Examples

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  • Ways in Which Macbeth and Banquo Are Presented In Act 1 Scene 3 and elsewhere in the play, Macbeth is presented as being; smart, greedy, evil, mysterious, and overly ambitious. Banquo is also presented as; under-appreciated, reliable, calm, and brave. However after Macbeth’s predictions he ….
  • Macbeth Blood Motif In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the word blood has many different meanings. Its meaning seems to change from good to evil as the play progresses. It also is a reoccurring theme throughout the play. I think that it helps strengthen the theme of the ….
  • The Butcher and Fiend Side of Macbeth Throughout the play, many opinions are expressed about Macbeth. At the start Shakespeare engages the audience’s sympathy for him by revealing the positive way in which Macbeth the character is perceived by others. Macbeth is deeply lauded and very ….
  • MacBeth And His Chang Throughout The Play Throughout this play, Macbeth journeys from a noble, loyal soldier to a power-hungry, deceptive monster, destroying any obstacle in his path. These obstacles are sometimes people, including the former King Duncan and his friend Banquo. Evil and ….
  • Theme Of Birds In Macbeth As one of the very first lines of Macbeth by William Shakespeare makes clear, “Fair is foul and foul is fair”(I, i, 12-13). Contradictions exist throughout the play in numerous motifs and symbols, including birds. What birds represent in literature ….
  • Macbeth Language – Grade D for This Paper! How dose Shakespeare make Act 1 Scene 7 and Act 2 Scene 2 dramatic? Shakespeare was a writer in the Elizabethan times, he wrote many of plays but he never published them, one of the plays that he wrote was Macbeth. Macbeth is a play which is loosely ….
  • Literary Devices in Macbeth Without literary techniques most literature would be colorless. Therefore these techniques are really important in bring for thing successful authorship. Not merely do they make involvement, they besides help in the development of characters, this ….
  • Shakespeare’s Macbeth Character Macbeth “Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites us to look into the world of a man driven by a ruthless ambition and tortured by regret” Macbeth, A tragic hero, a lost sole, merciless murderer. Whatever you may see him as, you must acknowledge that firstly ….
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare: The Symbol of Blood Macbeth: Blood Macbeth: Blood I am going to prove that in the play Macbeth, a symbol of blood is portrayed often(and with different meanings), and that it is a symbol that is develope 2. Lady Macbeth: A Wife In Support Of Her Husband Lady Macbeth: A ….
  • Masculinity and Macbeth Masculinity is a sensitive subject often defended in bar fights or made fun of in juvenile jokes. A man will go to great lengths to preserve his masculinity and to prove he truly is a man. It may seem strange and even silly to most women for a man ….
  • Macbeth Soliloquy Analysis Devices Symbolism is cunningly used in this soliloquy. Blood becomes a symbol of guilt but before it symbolized evil, so you see a transition Macbeth is feeling with his interior guilt. “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so ….
  • Letter of Lady Macbeth My love, my husband is getting crazy, I not know what to do about this. Maybe it was the presion, because he had sent to kill Banquo and his son, but he the kid scape. Maybe it was the visit ere that abhor scene he made, I hate he is getting like ….
  • The Light of Macbeth in Play “The Tragedy of Macbeth” Throughout the play The Tragedy of Macbeth, it is a non-stop action thriller with more blood than ever seen before in most plays. The play was made that way for a specific reason, so William Shakespeare made it the most bloody, gruesome and shortest ….
  • Macbeth Text Analysis – Act 2 Scene 1 Many different techniques are used in Macbeth to help the reader become involved in the story. These techniques include character portrayal, framework, imagery and contrasting. Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy, which shows the downfall of a noble ….
  • Whose character is more interesting; Macbeth or Lady Macbeth? In this essay, I am going to see if Macbeth, or his wife, Lady Macbeth is the more interesting character. Both characters play very important roles in the play, and both are interesting in different ways. The word interesting can men different ….
  • Macbeth Act 2 Scene 1 As Macbeth makes his way toward the king’s bedchamber, he encounters Banquo with his son Fleance. Banquo has been unable to sleep and explains to Macbeth that he has been dreaming of the weird sisters. After arranging to meet again in order to ….
  • Macbeth Reflection Having a moral center helps guide people to see the rightness and the wrongness in a situation. This moral center give people the opportunity to stay focused on the right path than to roll over and give yourself up to a wrong decision. In the play ….
  • The Pride of the Characters Willy Loman and Macbeth Any great accomplishment can make someone feel proud about their work. It makes one feel good; it raises a person’s spirits. “No question, pride has its good points.” (The Toronto Star, Nov 1999) Then again, there are also the bad points of pride ….
  • Macbeth act 3 writing assignment Gross Domestic Product is defined as the market value of services and goods that are made in the country in one year. This is an indication of the normal living situation in a country. On the contrary, real GAP is a nation’s total output of goods ….

✍ Macbeth Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

macbeth compare and contrast essay topics

  • Murder and Macbeth
  • Polanski and The Animated Tales Versions of The Macbeth Witches In Act 1 Scenes 1 and 3
  • Power and Greed – Macbeth
  • Power Authority and Corruption In Macbeth
  • Appearance Vs Reality In Macbeth
  • A Comparison of Macbeth and Star Wars
  • Ambition and Power Destroy Macbeth
  • Lady Macbeth: The Real Power Behind The Throne
  • Lady Macbeth: A Wife In Support of Her Husband
  • Lady Macbeth’S Insanity
  • Duality of Human Nature In Macbeth and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Duncan I of Scotland and Lady Macbeth
  • Elizabeth and Darcy Macbeth and Banquo
  • Compare and Contrast Macbeth and Hamlet
  • Comparing and Contrasting Hamlet and Macbeth
  • Comparing Human Nature In Macbeth and Dr Jekyll
  • Comparing Macbeth and Personal Experiences
  • Ma?bet? – Lady Macbeth’S Influence
  • Macbeth – Discuss The Dramatic Significance of Act 2 Scene 2
  • Macbeth – Downfall of A Hero
  • Guilt in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”
  • Macbeth – Supernatural Forces In Macbeth
  • Macbeth – The Use of Blood Imagery
  • Macbeth and Blind Ambition
  • Macbeth and Dramatic Representation
  • Macbeth and Free Will Sample
  • Macbeth and His Change Throughout The Play
  • Macbeth and Inferno Sample
  • Greed for Power and Wealth In Macbeth
  • The Punishment of Female Rebellion In ‘The Bacchae’ and ‘Macbeth’
  • The Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
  • The Roles of Masculinity and Femininity In Macbeth
  • Shakespeare’S Macbeth and Sam Raimi’S A Simple Plan
  • The similarity of “A Simple Plan” and “Macbeth”
  • Hap By Thomas Hardy and Macbeth By William Shakespeare – A Literary Comparison
  • The Role of Lady Macbeth for The Death of King Duncan

What are the similarities between Macbeth and Banquo?

Macbeth and Banquo are similar in status and skills. They have both served their king well, and come from good families. The difference is in their reactions and choices. They both heard the prophecy of the witches, which said Macbeth would be king, but Banquo’s descendants would be kings.

What is the relationship between Macbeth and Macduff?

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth put their personal relationship and their own needs above the well-being of the country. Macduff, however, puts his loyalty to Scotland above his love and loyalty to his wife and children. He leaves them in danger while he flees and helps raise the standard against Macbeth.

What are facts about Lady Macbeth?

Facts about Lady Macbeth 1: the wife of King Duncan The wife of King Duncan and Lady Macbeth were actually cousins or siblings based on some genealogists. The claim to the throne of Scotland was at the hand of Duncan’s wife. This situation put Lady Macbeth in hatred and jealousy.

What is a summary of Macbeth?

Shakespeare’s Macbeth

The phrase ‘steal my thunder’ comes from Macbeth.

  • Analyze The Rise and Fall of Macbeth
  • Analysis of Feudalism In William Shakespeare’S ”Macbeth” Sample
  • Analysis of Gender Roles In Macbeth
  • Analyzing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’S Relationship Sample
  • How Does Lady Macbeth Change During The Course of The Play ‘Macbeth’
  • How Does Shakespeare Create A Sense of Evil and Disorder In Act 1 of Macbeth?
  • How Does Shakespeare Create A Sense of Evil In Macbeth?
  • How Does Shakespeare Create Sympathy for Macbeth?
  • How Does Shakespeare Portray The Witches In Macbeth?S
  • How Does Shakespeare Retain A Degree of Sympathy for Macbeth
  • How Does William Shakespeare Build Up Tension During Macbeth In Act Two, Scene One and Two?
  • How Is Lady Macbeth Presented By Shakespeare?
  • How Male/Female Relationships Are Portrayed In Macbeth and Poems
  • Critical Analysis of Shakespeare’S Macbeth
  • Explain How Shakespeare Uses Gender Roles In Macbeth
  • Explore Feelings of Horror and Tension Are Created In Macbeth and I’M The King of The Castle
  • Explore Shakespeare’S Presentation of Lady Macbeth In Act 1 Scenes 5 and 7
  • Explore The Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
  • “How Do You Think Shakespeare Makes Lady Macbeth Change During The Course of The Play So Dramatic?”
  • “Macbeth”: Losing Moral Values for Ambition
  • “Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites Us To Look Into The World of A Man Driven By A Ruthless Ambition and Tortured By Regret”
  • Choose Two Scenes In Macbeth and Explore How Shakespeare Creates Dramatic Effects Through His Dialogue, Setting, Character and Plot Development
  • Discuss How Shakespeare Creates Tension In Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth
  • Do You Agree With The Argument That Macbeth Is Responsible for His Own Downfall?
  • Evaluate The Impact of Internal and External Forces On Macbeth’S Tragic Downfall
  • Lady Macbeth Soliloquy Analysis
  • What Did Macbeth’S Character, Words, and Actions Show About Changes In His Character?
  • Who Is More To Blame for The Murder of King Duncan? Macbeth or Lady Macbeth
  • Who Is Responsible for Macbeth’s Downfall?
  • Who Is To Blame for The Death of King Duncan In The Play Macbeth?
  • Whose Character Is More Interesting
  • Was Macbeth A Victim of The Witch’S Misleading Prophecies?
  • Ways In Which Macbeth and Banquo Are Presented In This Scene and Elsewhere In Shakespeare’S Play
  • To What Extent Is Macbeth Responsible for His Own Downfall?

What type of essay is a literary analysis?

Literary analysis essay is the kind of an essay on literature where you provide your own perceptions and observations about the chosen poem, play or novel for analysis. Professors may choose difficult literary works for analysis, and you will have to spend much time and efforts on the completion of this assignment.

Macbeth Summary. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It is filled with mystery, betrayal, blood, madness, regicide, honor, scheming and blood.

Is Macbeth A Tragedy Essays?

Macbeth Is a Tragedy Essay. William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth qualifies as a tragedy. A tragedy is a dramatic or narrative writing in which the main character suffers disaster after a serious or significant struggle but faces his or downfall in such a way as to attain heroic stature.

What is a literary device in Macbeth?

Throughout the play Macbeth, the use of five distinct literary devices can be found. The five literary devices that can be found are symbolism, allusion, alliteration, personification, and repetition.

Astor Place Riot

In 1849, Macbeth caused a riot in New York.

  • Backstory On Lady Macbeth
  • Blindness In Macbeth
  • Clothing Motif In Macbeths
  • Equivocation In Macbeth Sample
  • Macbeth and the Nature of Evil
  • Supernatural Forces In Macbeths
  • Figurative Language in Macbeth
  • Imagery Used By Lady Macbeth
  • Literary Devices Employed By Shakespeare In The Play Macbeth
  • The Power of Evil In Macbeth
  • The Power of Fate Vs. Free Will In Medea and Macbeth
  • The Supernatural Effect In Macbeth
  • The Symbol of Blood In Macbeth
  • Shakespeare: Foreshadowing In Macbeth
  • Moral Reversal Within Macbeth
  • Movie Review of Macbeth
  • Social and Cultural Context In “Macbeth” Sample
  • Masterful Portrayal of Mental Illnesses in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

How to write an essay on Macbeth?

Writing Macbeth essay topics is an exercise in looking at human flaws. Read and understand the play’s plot, character, and stage setting. What motivates the characters, and what are the circumstances of that period?

What are the symbols in Macbeth and how are they used?

Each time one of these symbols are used they are used as precursors to a theme or an important event. The first symbol, blood, represents Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s guilt. In Macbeth blood is everywhere from the beginning to the end. In Act 2 Scene 2 Macbeth got blood on his hands by murdering King Duncan.

What is the main idea of Macbeth?

This tragedy by the great English playwright is an introspection of fundamental human relationships and the roles of base desires in influencing these relationships. Writing Macbeth essay topics is an exercise in looking at human flaws. Read and understand the play’s plot, character, and stage setting.

What is the first symbol of guilt in Macbeth?

Macbeth William Shakespeare

Shakespeare talked up the role of Banquo in the play in order to flatter the reigning King, James I.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Hamlet — Compare And Contrast Hamlet And Macbeth


Compare and Contrast Hamlet and Macbeth

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macbeth compare and contrast essay topics

Macbeth & Frankenstein: Compare & Contrast Essay


In 1818, Mary Shelley published her most famous novel – Frankenstein, which became incredibly popular, and which is often thought to have spawned the whole genre of Science Fiction in literature. It has been praised for its originality and appeals to wide audiences while at the same time having great artistic value.

On the other hand, Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare around the year 1605. Apart from their popularity and fame, at first glance, one would have trouble finding any similarities between the two works. Frankenstein is a science-fiction novel written in the Gothic tradition in the 19th century, while Macbeth is a classic play written in the Elizabethan period by William Shakespeare.

However, on a closer look, it is easy to see how these two works are very similar when it comes to the overall message and idea. This is particularly evident when we compare the character of Macbeth with that of Frankenstein’s monster in terms of their tragic flaws. The transformations that corrupted Frankenstein’s creature and Macbeth are both triggered by envy, making these two characters analogous.

Frankenstein’s Monster & Macbeth: Supernatural Qualities of the Characters

First off, it is important to realize how Frankenstein’s monster and Macbeth were not corrupted from the beginning, but rather that the corruption was something that happened to them. The first impression the characters give is not that of someone who can easily become corrupted.

In the being of the play, we assume that Macbeth is akin to the king, a loyal soldier, and a person “full of the milk of human kindness.” We expect nothing evil from Macbeth until the witches approach him for the first time. His hunger for power increased after realizing that becoming a king is an open possibility. Frankenstein’s creature, on the other hand, used to be “kinder, more loving, and more poetic than his creator (Bissonette 110).

All that Frankenstein’s creature ever wanted was to be accepted by humans. He helped the family in the cottage to do the chores. He learned the language and the way in which humans interact so he could have a chance of acceptance. They both fell into evil because of their desire. Their tragic flaw was that their desire was stronger than their morals. Both of these characters started out as innocent beings but then turned into beasts.

A beast is depicted as a cruel, filthy, inhuman creature. Macbeth and Frankenstein are great examples of beasts. Macbeth shows no emotion towards the things that should matter to him. When Lady Macbeth committed suicide, Macbeth only uttered the following words, “She should have died hereafter; / there would have been a time for such a word.” (Shakespeare 5.5.18).

The realization that his wife is dead did not affect him on the emotional level. His killing spree caused him to become heartless and inhuman. Macbeth changed from a person “full of milk and human kindness” into a person for whom “death has no meaning (Waith 66)” Macbeth was willing to kill his friends and slaughter a whole family to get what he wants.

We can clearly see that Macbeth is really a symbol of a Machiavellian character in the world of literature when Eugene Waith (64) says, “His mental torments grows out of the conflict between the narrow concept of man as the courageous male and the more inclusive concept of man as a being whose moral nature distinguishes him from the beast” While Macbeth became a beast, Frankenstein’s creature really was a beast, at least in the physical sense. His physical appearance is nothing like the human body. As Kate Ellis puts it:

Had Victor not been so furtive about his desire to astound the world, he might have allowed himself time to make a creation his own size, one who mirrored the whole of him, not just the part of himself he cannot bring home. Nobody would accept him. He is just a beast in everyone’s eyes. Robert Walton could not recognize the sight he saw “a being that had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature” (Shelly 13)(Ellis)

However, when he saw Victor Frankenstein, he immediately recognized him as a human and pulled him aboard to help him. Frankenstein’s creature, similarly to Macbeth, became a beast on the inside, too. Frankenstein’s creature murdered everyone who mattered to Victor, and he did anything he could to get revenge on his creator.

These characters are good examples of beasts, but, again, they were not beasts from the start; it is rather that their personalities contained tragic flaws, which lead them to become ones. The difference, as I see it, is only in that Macbeth’s flaw was within himself, but Frankenstein’s creature became a beast out of the feeling of rejection and despair.

Both of these characters are creations for someone else’s benefit. Macbeth was happy with the power and the rank he already had, but people incited him to think differently. It all started when the weird sister told Macbeth of a prophecy of becoming king.

Without the weird sister, Macbeth would not have thought about killing Duncan. Lady Macbeth persuaded Macbeth to assassinate the king for her own benefits. The only way for her to gain power was to use Macbeth’s advancement and gain more power as he becomes more and more influential.

Things changed once the first murder happened. Macbeth became a new person, a person who can kill anyone that stands in his way, even friends and family. It is as Bernance Kliman says, “her [lady Macbeth’s] actual power over Macbeth, now that the murder has been committed is diminishing” (Kliman 73). This is because, after that, Macbeth’s ethical views change, and he himself becomes thirsty for blood and power.

Frankenstein’s creature is a creation of Victor Frankenstein for a reason, which is also, in a way, related to power. Victor Frankenstein created the creature for fame, fortune, and to be recognized as the father of a branch science. Victor Frankenstein is “trying to play God or usurp divine power in order to get fame” (Baldick 43). At the point when he succeeded in creating life, we become “confronted immediately by the displacement of God and woman from the acts of conception and birth” (Ellis).

The realization that humans are able to create life causes an immense feeling of power and self-sufficiency. Victor Frankenstein never thought about what the consequences of creating life would be. He rushed into it and did not even realize what his creation could be like until it actually came to life. “Victor doesn’t value the life he is to create so much as what the creation will give him (Lunsford 175)”.

If he had actually looked at what he was creating, instead of thinking only about the fame that the creation would give him, maybe he would have thought about it a little more. Once the creature came to life, he fled because the creature’s appearance was too monstrous and scary. “Victor’s worst sin is not the creation, but his refusal to take responsibility for it. It is as though God had withdrawn from his creation (Ellis)”.

It is true that knowledge is power and power corrupts, and Macbeth and Frankenstein’s creature are two pieces of evidence for that claim. Knowing that he can become a king caused Macbeth to become a monster. Knowing something that should not be learned corrupts the mind, “knowledge is shown to be double-edged, it has benefits and hazards.” Since Macbeth knows that becoming a king is not an impossible task, he starts to strive for it.

An example of this is when he says, “Stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires” (Shakespeare 1.4). Frankenstein’s creature, on the other hand, is quite different. If Victor Frankenstein had not had the knowledge or the motivation to create life, the monster would not have been made in the first place. Victor is an example of how having the wrong kind of knowledge can cause evil.

In other words, the knowledge itself is not valued neutral – there are simply facts about the world that are dangerous to know. Another way in which knowledge corrupted Frankenstein’s creature is the fact that he learned his true identity. Frankenstein’s creature believed that he resembles Adam in the sense that both of them have no knowledge. He realized that he is not like Adam and that he is more like Satan because Adam is a creation of God, and he ate the fruit of knowledge.

When he learned more about the lost paradise, he realized that he is very similar to Satan because Satan is a fallen angel. Realizing that he is not like one of the characters in Paradise Lost, lead him to conclude that he is a monster. This was when he decided to take revenge on Victor Frankenstein and kill everyone close to him. It is as Chris Baldick (54) says, “The condition of solitude cannot be cured, only sharpened, by knowledge.”

Both of these characters are victims of their own culture. The time setting of the story in Macbeth is in medieval times. During that time, status was the most important thing. Macbeth’s culture contributed to his desire for power and advancement through the ranks. Lady Macbeth urged Macbeth to kill Duncan and become a king because, at that time, people would do anything to rise in status and create a better future for themselves and their heirs.

Frankenstein’s creature is a victim of his culture, too. It is society that rejected him so he is, then, only a metaphor of a monster. Frankenstein’s creature is not really a monster. It is just that people see him as one. Frankenstein’s creature is actually a caring and loving person. He just needs to be accepted and not judged by his appearance.

The aspect of the supernatural is common to both characters. Macbeth caused supernatural occurrences when he killed Duncan. The play, as a whole, deals with the supernatural to a great extent.

The weird sisters cast spells, hover through the fog of filthy air, and even set a prophecy. Once Macbeth killed Duncan, everything just started to become supernatural. An example of this is when an owl killed a falcon, “A falcon, towering in her pride of place, was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed” (Shakespeare 2.4) and when horses started eating each other.

Another supernatural occurrence is when Macbeth is haunted by Banquo’s ghost and the scene when Macbeth sees the future kings. Frankenstein’s creature is, in a way, supernatural too because it is very disputable whether humans will ever become so knowledgeable as to create life. The creation of Frankenstein’s creature defies God and life. The creature is supernatural because he is made out of other people’s body parts.

Macbeth and Frankenstein’s monster are quite different, as well. Macbeth is more vicious and proud. Macbeth cold-bloodedly “cut [Duncan] from the nave to th’ chops, and fixed his head upon the battlement (Shakespeare 1.2.21)” Macbeth had no emotion. When Lady Macbeth died, he did not care and only said that she would have died anyway. Even though Macbeth knew he was going to die, he still fought till his death, “at least we will die with the harness on our back (Shakespeare 5.6.50).”

He knew his death is inevitable because the forest began to move, and he met someone that was not born of a woman – Macduff. Macbeth never regretted what he had done, but Frankenstein’s creature did. The creature is ashamed of the fact that he became a murderer. Unlike Macbeth, when Frankenstein’s creature noticed that Victor died, he was miserable and could not come to terms with what he had done. Victor Frankenstein was the only person that the creature could talk to and his only chance for acceptance.

Finally, there is one crucial difference that has to be mentioned, and that is the fact that Macbeth had a lot more control over his destiny and should, therefore, be thought of as responsible for his downfall much more than Frankenstein’s creature. In the case of Frankenstein’s creature, we can clearly identify several points at which other people determined his destiny.

The first point was when Victor created him without much consideration about the consequences. The second major point was when the family with which he spent time also rejected him for fear of being themselves rejected by the community. It is only after these two events took place that we could say that the creature should not have exerted such an act of terrible revenge upon his creator.

On the other hand, in the case of Macbeth, we did identify two external contributors to his downfall (his wife and the cultural setting), but it is clear that he was in a much better position than Frankenstein’s monster. What he simply needed to do was to reject any ideas of committing immoral acts for the sake of gaining power. Therefore, it is natural to conclude that more blame should be placed on Macbeth because he clearly had more of choice.

In conclusion, although it might appear that there is no basis for comparing Frankenstein’s creature and Macbeth, it seems that they are fundamentally similar in a number of ways, but they also have quite a few differences. I have pointed out that neither of them was corrupted from the start, and that corruption was rather something that happened to them.

In addition, it might be argued that the cause of their downfall was at least to an extent external to them, although this claim is much stronger in the case of Frankenstein’s monster. Furthermore, the search for knowledge and power also played an important role in the downfalls of both of them, the only difference being that in the case of the monster, the terrible consequences came as a result of somebody else’s search for knowledge.

The basic difference, which I would point out, is that it seems that Macbeth had more control over his destiny and thus had more responsibility for his downfall, while Frankenstein’s monster was, in fact, a result of a series of unfortunate events, and other people’s errors.

Works Cited

Baldick, Chris. In Frankenstein’s shadow: myth, monstrosity, and nineteenth-century writing. Oxford [Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press ; 1987. Print.

Bissonette, Melissa. “Teaching the Monster: Frankenstein and Critical Thinking.” College Literature 37 (2010): 106-120. Print.

Ellis, Kate. “Monsters in the Garden.” Frankenstein: The Pennsylvania Electronic Edition. N.p., n.d. Web. < http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Articles/ellis1.html >.

Kliman, Bernice W. Macbeth. Manchester: Manchester University Press ;, 1992. Print.

Lunsford, Lars. “The Devaluing of Life in Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN.” The Explicator 68 (2010): 174-176. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.

Waith, Eugene. “Manhood and Valor in Two Shakespearean Tragedies.” ELH: a Journal of English Literary History 17 (1950): 63-66. Print.

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