Select one of the following topics, which are taken
from the open-ended question prompts for the AP exam, and develop a well supported essay about Macbeth. Be sure to indicate which question you are addressing. Include
the word count.
1. In retrospect,
the reader often discovers that the first chapter of a novel or the opening scene of a drama introduces some of the major
themes of the work. Write an essay about the opening scene of a drama or the first chapter of a novel in which you explain
how it functions in this way.
2. Unlike the novelist,
the writer of a play does not use his own voice and only rarely uses a narrator's voice to guide the audience's responses
to character and action. Select a play you have read and write an essay in which you explain the techniques the playwright
uses to guide his audience's responses to the central characters and the action. You might consider the effect on the audience
of things like setting, the use of comparable and contrasting characters, and the characters' responses to each other. Support
your argument with specific references to the play. Do not give a plot summary.
3. From a novel
or play of literary merit, select an important character who is a villain. Then, in a well-organized essay, analyze the nature
of the character's villainy and show how it enhances meaning in the work. Do not merely summarize the plot.
4. The eighteenth-century
British novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, "No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have
a man's mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same
From a novel or play choose a character (not
necessarily the protagonist) whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires, ambitions, obligations,
or influences. Then, in a well-organized essay, identify each of the two conflicting forces and explain how this conflict
with one character illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. You may use one of the novels or plays listed below or
another novel or work of similar literary quality.
5. One of the strongest
human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how a character in a novel or a drama struggles
to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay
how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work.