Below is an AQA GCSE Practise Paper for Macbeth. The question is from the June 2019 GCSE exam paper for AQA GCSE English Literature.

Use it to practise planning and writing, either as a full mock exam in timed conditions – or working through it in your own time and at your own pace.

Thanks for reading! If you find this resource useful, you can take a look at our full online Macbeth course here. Use the code “SHAKESPEARE” to receive a 50% discount!

This course includes: 

  • A full set of video lessons on each key element of the text: summary, themes, setting, characters, context, attitudes, analysis of key quotes, essay questions, essay examples
  • Downloadable documents for each video lesson 
  • A range of example B-A* / L7-L9 grade essays, both at GCSE (ages 14-16) and A-Level (age 16+) with teacher comments and mark scheme feedback
  • A bonus Macbeth workbook designed to guide you through each scene of the play!

For more help with Macbeth and Tragedy, read our article here.


Read the following extract from Act 1 Scene 2 of Macbeth and then answer the question
that follows.
At this point in the play, the Captain tells Duncan about Macbeth’s part in the recent

Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonald –
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him – from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied,
And Fortune on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak,
For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name –
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like Valour’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chaps
And fixed his head upon our battlements.


Starting with this speech, explore how far Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a violent

Write about:
• how Shakespeare presents Macbeth in this extract
• how far Shakespeare presents Macbeth as a violent character in the play as a whole.
[30 marks]
AO4 [4 marks]

If you’re studying Macbeth, you can click here to buy our full online course. Use the code “SHAKESPEARE” to receive a 50% discount!

You will gain access to over 8 hours of engaging video content, plus downloadable PDF guides for Macbeth that cover the following topics:

  • Character analysis
  • Plot summaries
  • Key quotes
  • Deeper themes
  • Context

There are also tiered levels of analysis that allow you to study up to GCSEA Level and University level.

You’ll find plenty of top level example essays that will help you to write your own perfect ones!