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Writing A Synthesis Essay On Macbeth: Instructions For Students

Writing a synthesis essay is one of the critical skills every student should possess. In this writing assignment, you should synthesize all available information about a certain theme or question and present it efficiently to support your argument. If you are assigned to write a synthesis paper on any literary work for your English class, you should carefully examine all elements of the piece of literature (characters, imagery, setting, tone, etc.) and think how the author uses these elements to reach a certain goal. A synthesis essay on Macbeth is your chance to demonstrate your deep knowledge of the play, and the following instructions will help you do it efficiently:

  • Read a prompt carefully.
  • Pay attention to the key verbs used in a prompt and respond to them in your paper. For example, you may be asked to assess the development of events in Macbeth, analyze Shakespeare’s use of techniques in the play, or characterize the relationship between Macbeth and his wife. The key verbs in these prompts are “assess”, “analyze”, and “characterize” correspondingly, and you should be focused on them throughout your writing.

  • Read the play and collect the evidence.
  • Take a pencil and start reading. Underline phrases, images, and scenes that are relevant to your essay question. Note in the margin what these phrases mean and what ideas come to your head in the process of reading. Be sure to take evidence from different parts of the play.

  • Prioritize your evidence.
  • Organize your evidence starting with the strongest points and ending with the weakest ones. If you cannot weave all details into your paper, use only the strongest points in it.

  • Come up with your thesis statement.
  • Look through your notes and pick three to five key points answering the prompt. Create your thesis statement on the basis of these ideas.

  • Develop an outline.
  • Never write a synthesis paper without a proper outline. Decide what information should be included in each body paragraph.

  • Create an effective introduction.
  • In your introductory paragraph, set a context, i.e. explain what theme in Macbeth you are going to address. State your thesis in a final sentence of your introduction.

  • Write the body.
  • Present your key points in the topic sentences of separate body paragraphs. Support each of them with enough supporting evidence. Use direct quotes from Macbeth and your independent observations to prove your thesis. Make sure that all body paragraphs are equally strong.

  • Wrap your essay up with a good conclusion.
  • Try not only to summarize your thesis but also to outline the questions that need further research.

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