Macbeth Essay Topics

Instructor: Alicia Taylor

Alicia has taught students of all ages and has a master's degree in Education

These essay topics will help students explore and understand the major themes and characters of Macbeth. These prompts will help students create expository essays, compare and contrast essays, as well as more in-depth persuasive and research essays.

Expository Essay Prompts

These prompts require students to create a simple argument based on textual evidence. They are appropriate for 3-5 page essays.

  • What prophecies are given in Macbeth? How are they fulfilled throughout the play?
  • What is the role of ambition in the lives of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Malcolm? What ambitions do they have, and where do their ambitions lead them?
  • In Act I, Scene 5, Lady Macbeth expresses many wishes. Which of these come true over the course of the play?
  • How does deception shape the plot of Macbeth? Who deceives whom in Macbeth? How do half-truths shape the plot of Macbeth? Who tells half-truths in a harmful way?
  • Macbeth displays a belief that one unnatural event creates ripples that upset the whole natural world. What unnatural things happen in the play after King Duncan's murder?
  • What actions do Macduff and Malcolm take during the play? Are they villains or heroes?

Compare and Contrast Essay Prompts

These prompts require students to compare and contrast important aspects or characters from Macbeth. Each prompt is appropriate for high school or college students writing 4-6 page essays.

  • Compare and contrast Macbeth and Malcolm. Both of these men plot to kill the king. What else makes them similar? What makes them different? Be sure to explore motivations, ways of speaking, and lineage.
  • Examine the dialogue in Act I, Scene 7 and Act IV, Scene 3. How does Lady Macbeth attempt to influence Macbeth? How does Macduff attempt to influence Malcolm? What makes their efforts similar and different?
  • How does Banquo's response to the prophecies in Act I, Scene 3 compare to Macbeth's response? What makes their reactions similar and what makes them different?
  • Compare and contrast Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff. Pay attention to their attitudes, their responses to threatening events, and how they regard their families.
  • Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seem to go insane over the course of the play. How are their insanities different from one another? How are they similar?
  • How does Macbeth change over the course of the play? Compare and contrast the Macbeth of Act I with the man he becomes in the later acts.

Persuasive Essay Prompts

These persuasive essay topics require students to create and support a thesis in an effort to persuade the audience. Each prompt is appropriate for high school or college students writing 5-7 page essays.

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