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AQA GCSE Eng Lit Paper 1: Macbeth Scheme Model Responses

Shane Richardson | Wednesday November 21, 2018

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  • AQA GCSE Eng Lit Paper 1: Macbeth Scheme Model Responses
  • AQA GCSE English Literature Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel Assessment Pack

These response focuses on the passage in the sample paper produced by AQA.

Sample Response Grade 4/5 (C)

Lady Macbeth is presented as a powerful woman in this scene because of the way that she uses language and her evil intent. One of her first references is to a ‘raven’ which is symbolic of a bird of death. This is significant because it shows she is not afraid, she accepts death, and this shows her power as a not just a woman but as Macbeth’s wife. She also shows power because she refers to ‘my battlements’ which is an odd use of the word for a female in this situation because surely it is Macbeth’s castle. This is important because as the play continues to develop, we see that Lady Macbeth is in fact the more powerful of the two characters. It is interesting as well that as this speech develops, Lady Macbeth begins to become even darker in her fascination with evil spirits. She invites them to ‘take my milk for gall’ which implies that she wants to be stripped of any kind of maternal instinct that she possesses. This is interesting because in a sense, with Duncan coming to her castle, and as a hostess, she has an almost maternal role in protecting him. Therefore, in the way that she asks to be stripped of this element of her personality, it is almost as if she’s preparing herself for an evil act. This links back to earlier in the passage when she says ‘unsex me here’: she no longer wants to be a woman and this is because she associates being female with weakness. In order to be cruel, she thinks she has to embody male traits.

Commentary

There is a clear engagement with the question and the topic in this extract from a response. The response is tightly focused on the language – which we can see from the number of embedded quotations – and making confident...


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