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Or even if I can see why, the thought of taking it out is wrenching. If you recognise yourself in the above, there are two crucial things to realise.The first is that something has to change: because doing well in high school exam or coursework essays is almost totally dependent on being able to pin down and organise lots of ideas so that an examiner can see that they convincingly answer a question.It means looking at the directions the question provides as to what sort of essay you’re going to write.
Evaluate the importance of the three witches in bringing about Macbeth’s ruin.
Are we supposed to believe in the three witches in Macbeth?
It’s not actually that important how original you are, how compelling your writing is, how many ideas you get down, or how beautifully you can express yourself (though of course, all these things do have their rightful place).
What you’re doing, essentially, is using a limited amount of time and knowledge to really answer a question.
“Within Macbeth’s representation of the witches, there is profound ambiguity about the actual significance and power of their malevolent intervention” (Stephen Greenblatt). I’ve organised the examples into three groups, exemplifying the different types of questions you might have to answer in an exam.
The first group are pretty open-ended: ‘discuss’- and ‘how’-questions leave you room to set the scope of the essay. Beware, though – this doesn’t mean you don’t need a sturdy structure, or a clear argument, both of which should always be present in an essay.
However, the detail of the phrasing of the question will significantly affect the way you write your essay.
You would draw on similar material to address the following questions: Discuss Shakespeare’s representation of the three witches in Macbeth.
Students tend to find these sorts of questions the most difficult to answer, but once you’ve got the hang of them I think the title does most of the work for you – often implicitly providing you with a structure for your essay.
The first step is breaking down the quotation into its constituent parts- the different things it says.