As a class, we need to have a tighter grasp of textual evidence to use in our exam responses. This means finding, and memorising, quotations.
As you know, the best way to use quotations in your responses is as follows:
- Select short quotations – choose the most relevant part of the text.
- Embed your quotations into the flow of your answer – avoid ‘a quotation to prove this is…’
- Use lots of them throughout your response – they don’t all need to be analysed in detail, sometimes using a quotation can simply uplift your response and show your familiarity with the text.
To kick-start your essential quotation work, I’ve skim read Macbeth online and chosen a few important quotations. These have been reduced to no more than 6 words per quotation, and most are under that. Keeping your quotations small means that you’re more likely to remember them.
This list of quotations is generally in order of the play (from Act 1 to Act 5). There are some marked with asterix’ (*) I did this to indicate that these things were said about Macbeth by other characters:
* “Brave Macbeth”
“Black and deep desires”
“Proceed no further”
“False face, false heart”
“Is this a dagger?”
“Amen stuck in my throat”
“Fruitless crown, barren sceptre”
“Affliction of terrible dreams”
“Full of scorpions”
“Be innocent of the knowledge”
“Saucy doubts and fears”
“Blood will have blood”
“In blood stepped so far”
* “Something wicked”
“Firstlings of heart, firstlings of hand”
“Forgot the taste of fears”
“Life’s but a walking shadow”
“Sound and fury, signifying nothing”
“Bear-like, I must fight”
“Juggling fiends, double sense.”
* “Dead butcher”
Take time to remember these. Write them down and display them. Get someone to test you on them by reading the first word only. Skim read the text and make a similar list for Lady Macbeth. The list of things you can do is limitless – the only barrier is you!