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Gcse Macbeth Essay Questions

In English Literature Paper 1, you will answer the first half on Shakespeare (Macbeth), and the second half on An Inspector Calls.

Macbeth Questions:

  • Worth 40 marks in total (half of the whole paper, one quarter of the whole Literature GCSE)
  • question a) will be an extract from the play which you have to analyse. This tests AO2: analysis language, form and structure.
  • question b) will ask you to write a short essay about a similar theme in the rest of the play. This tests AO1: interpretations, use of quotations and answering the question, AND AO3: historical and literary context.
  • You have an hour to answer the Macbeth questions, so you should spend 30 minutes on each section.
  • Both sections are worth 20 marks.

If you are struggling to remember what is happening in each of the scenes, go to the No Fear Shakespeare website or use the following script: macbeth_no_fear_script copy.

Use the following knowledge organiser to help you test your knowledge:

Macbeth Knowledge Map

General revision activities to help with characters and themes:

Macbeth Model Paragraph

Macbeth 3 CASTLE

Castle writing frame

Macbeth Key Quotations

Macbeth Theme and character revision clock

Macbeth Key Quotations Analysis

The following resources will help you with examination technique for the Macbeth portion of the exam.

WT Mock Lit 1 Macbeth

Macbeth WT

Statement Banks

Question Breakdown – Lit


Essay plan – questions

Extracts from Macbeth that you could use as exam practise are:


The raven himself.._

He hath almost..

_Is this a dagger..

_If it were done.._


Like this:




We will proceed no further in this business.

He hath honoured me of late, and I have bought

Golden opinions from all sorts of people,

Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,

Not cast aside so soon.


Was the hope drunk

Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?

And wakes it now to look so green and pale

At what it did so freely? From this time,

Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard

To be the same in thine own act and valour

As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that

Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,

And live a coward in thine own esteem,

Letting I dare not wait upon I would,

Like the poor cat i'th'adage?


Prithee, peace.

I dare do all that may become a man;

Who dares do more is none.


What beast was't then

That made you break this enterprise to me?

When you durst do it, then you were a man.

And to be more than what you were, you would

Be so much more the man. Nor time, nor place

Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.

They have made themselves and that their fitness now

Does unmake you. I have given suck and know

How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:

I would, while it was smiling in my face,

Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums

And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn

As you have done to this.


If we should fail?


We fail?

But screw your courage to the sticking-place,

And we'll not fail.

Act 1 Scene 7

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