MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

552 views

How do I analyse 'character' in my exam?

Character analysis is an essential skill used in all English Literature GCSE exams. The ways that a character is presented in a text, their importance to the overall meaning and their interactions with other characters are all useful ways to start interpreting and answering your exam question. You must always use specific textual references and quotes from the text where possible to support your answer.  

To illustrate this, I will use the example of a 'Lady Macbeth' character analysis: (Macbeth is studied with AQA/OCR/Edexcel)

Lady Macbeth is presented from the outset as a ruthless, ambitious and beguiling character. The first time she speaks in the play we see that she will not falter until her husband sits on the throne, and that devious and foul acts would not sit heavily on her conscience. She says in Act 1, scene 5 that she believes her husband is, "too full o' th' milk of human kindness" and that she wants to, "pour my spirits in thine ear". This is an example of foreshadowing because we are given an indication of the ways she will manipulate her husband to do as she would, in order to achieve her ambition. Not only are we immediately given an understanding of her merciless spirit, but a contrast between her character and that of her husband. This juxtaposition is important not only in our understanding of Lady Macbeth, as Macbeth’s nature emphasizes her immorality, but also in our understanding of Macbeth himself, as we can foresee how his weakness will allow him to be easily influenced by his wife. This is one way in which we can map out the interactions between characters. The immorality presented by Shakespeare in Lady Macbeth’s character, and the contrast between her own reaction to murder and Macbeth’s reaction, can teach us important lessons about the impacts of our actions and the corrupting power of unchecked ambition. This was Shakespeare’s ultimate goal when creating the character of Lady Macbeth, as he wanted an audience to be shocked by her actions. Lady Macbeth provides a cautionary tale showing what can happen to ‘king killers’; written during the tumultuous reign of James I, this play can be seen as a lesson showing what happens when we override the ‘divine right of kings’ a belief Shakespeare wanted to install in his audience. Connecting your answer to the context that the author was writing in will allow students to reach the criteria for the top grades.

Hannah R. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE French tutor, GCSE Germ...

1 year ago

Answered by Hannah, a GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

193 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Lauren F.

Degree: English (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:English Literature, English Language+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language
Biology
-Personal Statements-

“English student at Exeter but I'm also passionate about biology. Also studied at MSU in the U.S.A. ”

£22 /hr

Lucy M.

Degree: History and Politics (Bachelors) - Glasgow University

Subjects offered:English Literature, Politics+ 4 more

English Literature
Politics
History
French
English
-Personal Statements-

“Patient, calm and an excellent communicator. Vast experience tutoring and caring for children. Insightful and enthusiastic about my subjects.”

Tabitha W. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature ...
£30 /hr

Tabitha W.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:English Literature, English+ 2 more

English Literature
English
Drama
-Personal Statements-

“I am an English Literature student at the University of Warwick. I am very passionate about English and all it's various branches as well as Drama.”

About the author

Hannah R. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE French tutor, GCSE Germ...

Hannah R.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: History with a European Language (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered:English Literature, History+ 5 more

English Literature
History
German
French
English
Biology
-Personal Statements-

“About Me: Hi! I'm Hannah, I studied the IB diploma, graduating in 2015 and I am currently studying History and French at University College London.My passion for History means that I have a knowledge of many different periods, and wou...”

You may also like...

Other GCSE English Literature questions

How will I know if my interpretation of a text is right or wrong?

What is hyperbole?

How should I structure an essay?

How can I analyse a quote in depth?

View GCSE English Literature tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok