Literary Paragraph Writing: Explaining Inferences and Supporting with Evidence
Choose two of the following questions to answer in a single paragraph. Write a first draft. Bring both drafts to class tomorrow. You will be choosing one to revise and will be writing a final draft in class.
1. Who is more ambitious Macbeth or Lady Macbeth? Why?
2. What purposes are served by the episode involving the Porter?
3. How does the dagger soliloquy create an atmosphere, advance the plot, and reveal character?
Both Macbeth and his wife have clear ambitions for the throne; however, it is Lady Macbeth’s ambition that ultimately moves the couple to take action. When Macbeth first hears the prophecies of the witches his mind does “yield to that suggestion,/ Whose horrid image doth unfix [his] hair”, but he quickly pushes aside the thought deciding to wait to see if “chance will have [him] King”(1.3.133-134, 1.3.142). His ambition is consistently tempered by his conscience. In contrast, Lady Macbeth never wavers in her ambition. Once she receives Macbeth’s letter, she is eager for him to return home so that she can “pour [her] spirits” into the ears of her husband (1.5.26). She is relentless in her pursuit of Macbeth, pursuing him even after he has told her that they “will proceed no further in this business” (1.7.31). She defies gender norms by questioning and belittling her husband. His word is not final for her. Once she convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan, she is an active participant in the murder. She “drugg’d [the] possets” of the guards, calms Macbeth when he becomes “infirm of purpose” and “gild[s] the faces of the grooms” with the blood of the murdered Duncan (2.2.6,152, 56). She does not murder Duncan himself, but the fact that she considers murdering him in his sleep demonstrates how ambitious she truly is. She does not murder him herself because he “resembled/ [Her] father,” but the very thought of taking Duncan’s life is ambitious because it would drastically be outside gender role norms for her to take the active lead in this situation. She restrains herself because she knows that her power must come through Macbeth, so he must be the one to commit the murder. Lady Macbeth’s early ambition is only paralleled with Macbeth’s ambition as the play continues.
Of the two paragraphs that you wrote, determine which one is better. How did you decide? Explain how you improved your writing in the revised version. What did you need to change? Why did you choose this one to improve?