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Question: Macbeth practice exam questions: not timed

Starting with the extract of Act 1 Scene 3, how does Shakespeare present attitudes towards duty?
- How Shakespeare presents attitudes towards duty in this extract
- How Shakespeare presents attitudes to duty in the play as a whole

Answer: Shakespeare presents duty in Macbeth as a destructive sense of responsibility which, regardless of being considered an amiable trait in the principal acts of the play (dutiful, that is) by the end, Shakespeare clarifies to the audience that duty requires the placing of expectations, which if not met can cause belligerence and dissatisfaction. This is performed by his exploration of the two most common sources of duty; duty to one’s king and
duty to one’s country.

Firstly, in this extract duty to one’s king is shown to be a formidable attribute by Shakespeare’s perpetual use of pecuniary imagery. For instance, the semantic field of money and compensation created by the terms ‘recompense’, ‘payment’ and ‘service I owe’ is explicitly utilised by Shakespeare to emphasise the value inherent in the duty one felt to their monarch in the eleventh century. In fact, as sh...(short extract)

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  • Subject: English Literature
  • Course: English Literature
  • Level: A-Level
  • Year: Not applicable
  • Mark: Not available
  • Words: 894
  • Date submitted: October 25, 2019
  • Date written: Not available
  • References: No
  • Document type: Essay*
  • Essay ID: 8749

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