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Stéfanie Leunissen

on 16 March 2016

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Transcript of MacBeth

William Shakespeare

Historical Background
Macbeth written in the later part of 1606
James I had been King of England for 3 years
The King's special interest: Witchcraft
1605: The Gunpowder Plot, a group of rebel Catholics tried to blow up the King and Parliament, Guy Fawkes
Macbeth the only Shakespearean play that's set in Scotland, 11th century
Tragedy Checklist
Basic rules and conventions of the genre 'Tragedy':
Dramatic work
Serious or somber theme
Hero's got a major flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force
Hero is destined for destruction and downfall
Shakespearean tragedies always end in death but with the promise of continuity
Blank Verse
(Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter)
An 'iamb' is an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one. 'Penta' means 'five', and 'meter' refers to a regular rhythmic pattern. So 'iambic pentameter' is a kind of rhythmic pattern that consist of five iambs per line. It's the most common rhythm in English poetry and sounds like five heartbeats:
The Play
divided into 5 acts
each act is divided into scenes
there is no pause between scenes,
the scenes in a play don't imply great changes
they imply a change in the grouping of characters.
the scenes are more persons-scenes than place-scenes
no painted scenery: less realistic, but more stylized
The Supernatural
The three weird sisters: 'weird' comes from 'wyrd' in Old English, which means 'fate'.
Shakespeare´s Life
born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon
married Ann Hathaway in 1582. Had 3 children
went to London in 1592 and became an actor
joined The Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594
in 1603 were renamed The King's Men under King James I
built the Globe Theatre
in 1612 he returned to Stratford
in 1616 William Shakespeare died
The Globe Theatre
an apron-stage: a roofed stage that jutted out
the pit: for the poor, the groundlings, in the open air
the gallery: for the wealthy, roofed, people could sit
the inner-stage: behind a curtain
the balcony: above the inner-stage
ba-DUM, ba-DUM, ba-DUM, ba-DUM, ba-DUM
In the following line, where Lady Macbeth urges her husband to wash his hands after he has murdered King Duncan.
and WASH this FILthy WITness FROM your HAND.
This is a classic iambic pentameter. And because the lines have no regular rhyme scheme we call it "Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter", a.k.a. "Blank Verse".
In Shakespeare's plays the nobility tend to speak in 'blank verse', which is a pretty formal way to talk. The commoners or, "Everyday Joes" tend to speak just like we do, in regular old prose.
a soliloquy
: a declamation by an actor, alone on the stage, in which he utters his thoughts. Other actors may be present, but they are supposed not to hear.
an aside
: a few lines in which an actor utters his thoughts. Other actors are supposed not to hear.
are meant to inform the audience of the characters' thoughts.
Tragedy = Deals with life's bitterness. The main characters meet with unfortunate events and end unhappily.
Tragic hero = A great man, usually placed high in society (king, nobleman), in the play we see him trying to achieve some goal, and consequently making certain choices, we witness his downfall often as a result of a weak spot in his character (fatal flaw).
Irony = Use of double meaning. One says one thing and at the same time suggests a further meaning.
Dramatic Irony = Special kind of irony. Depends on the fact that the reader (audience) knows more than the characters. Thus they can see a deeper meaning in remarks made by the characters.
Symbolism = In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses symbolism over and over again. Symbols related to: good/evil, light/darkness, order/chaos, heaven/hell
Imagery = in imagery (connected closely to symbolism) certain ideas keep coming back: blood, clothing (deception), light/darkness, nature, order/disorder, etc.
"Fair is foul and foul is fair"
The Witches:
people believed witches could tell the future
agents of the devil (evil)
old ugly women with beards
King James I of England (a.k.a. King James VI of Scotland) was really interested in witchcraft - he authorized the torture of witches in Scotland in 1591 and also wrote a book on the subject,
, in 1603.
Soliloquy, Act 3, Scene i
Main Characters
: noble, brave, ambitious, egoïstic, strong conscience (in the beginning), later remorseless, man of action, imagination, inside him there is a battle between good and evil
Lady Macbeth
: ambitious, remorseless (in the beginning), suppresses her conscience, manipulative towards Macbeth, no imagination, when she can no longer suppress her conscience she goes mad and kills herself
King Duncan
: King of Scotland, symbol of order, noble and good king, cannot distinguish evil, too trustful
: Macbeth's friend, noble and brave, ambitious, does not want to play unfair
: Duncan's son, a real and good 'king', will restore peace and order in Scotland.
: Duncan's other son
: Knocks at the gate after the murder, distrusts Macbeth from the beginning, a good man, didn't regard Macbeth as a mindless murderer, just believed he was a tyrant, avenges his wife's and children's deaths by killing Macbeth
Lady Macduff
: a good woman, she remains loyal to her husband till the end
Noblemen of Scotland
: Lennox, Ross, Menteth, Angus, Cathness
Act I
Macbeth as a 'good man' (heroism, loyalty). The witches an Lady Macbeth stimulate his ambition. The withces tell him the future, he believes them, trusts them, however he makes a mistake, he adds something, the murder of Duncan. The witches are dangerous, cannot be trusted, because they only give a fragmentary view of the future.
Act II
Macbeth as a ´bad´ man after the murder. He tries to forge his own future. He suffers from insomnia, nightmares, visions. All due to his troubled conscience.
Conflict between ´good´ and ´bad´ inside Macbeth. He chooses for evil. Kills Banquo, in order to secure his kingship. He doesn´t tell Lady Macbeth, he doesn´t need her anymore.
Act IV
Act V
Lady Macbeth cannot suppress her conscience any more. She gets mad and is guilt ridden. Macbeth is remorseless, no longer any conscience. He faces death like a man.
This Wordle (word cloud) for Macbeth shows the most important words of Act IV. In a Wordle, the more frequently the word is used in the act, the larger the word appears in the image.
Macbeth and his ´Dagger Speech´
The banquet scene
1. What predictions can you make for Act IV based on this image?
2. What ideas are most important?
3. How would you describe the atmosphere and mood of this act based on the word cloud?
4. Are there any words that surprise or confuse you in the Wordle? How do you think they might be used?
Macbeth and Macduff in mortal combat
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