You’re likely to run across a number of comparative essay assignments in whichever kind or level of literature you take from middle school all the way up through graduate school. There will be many occasions where you will be given essay prompts to follow, but more often than not you will be allowed to choose your own readings to compare. Think outside the box and consider a comparative essay on Frankenstein and Macbeth. Although the two may seem tremendously different at first glance there are actually a lot of great things worthy of discussion between the two. Here are some tips for composing a strong assignment on these two classics:
In Macbeth, the main theme is often considered to be the destruction that comes when ambitious motives go unchecked. Similarly, Frankenstein deals with destruction as a result of science that is ambitious but misunderstood. In both cases, several innocent people die and while the subjects of each can be viewed as monsters, there is some level of sympathy for the two.
Consider writing a paper exploring destruction and the need for moral constraints both from within the main characters and from the people surround them.
Another major theme that occurs in both works is that of masculinity and cruelty. Look for ways in which the male lead characters are set apart from the female characters and how the male actions are often perceived as cruel. Frankenstein’s monster kills several along his path and goes as far as plan and enact murder as part of revenge. Macbeth is no different in his planning but his actions appear to be dictated in some way by manipulation from Lady Macbeth.
Write a comparative essay on this them focusing specifically on how they are perceived differently in each text. Look for comparisons in other characters to support your overall argument.
Each of these works has incredible scenic descriptions that play large role in how the characters respond to events occurring around them and how they react and behave towards one another. Consider how Shelley and Shakespeare each used scenery to describe the way the characters worked within each of the texts’ concepts. Would different sceneries have affected the characters differently? Try looking at minor characters for evidence either in support or against your argument. Do other characteristics – like weather or landscape – play as big a role?
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