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An Introduction to Macbeth

Year 11 English 2013

Sarah Merat

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of An Introduction to Macbeth

An Introduction An Outline of Macbeth The Characters
of Macbeth Who Are The Characters? Character Diagram A Macbeth
Listening Game Some Film Versions A Trailer for Macbeth Reading Macbeth Marking Up a Text Deep Thoughts - The Themes The Beauty of Macbeth Who Likes Shakespeare? Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, but it could also be considered a history play. Shakespeare based his play on actual historical events recounted in Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland. First published in 1577, the Chronicles include the story of an 11th-century Scottish king named Macbeth.

In writing Macbeth, Shakespeare was paying a compliment to his new king James I. In the play Macbeth is offered a glimpse of Banquo’s sons, what he’s seeing is the line of royal succession that will lead the current rule of England - James I. When Macbeth was performed for the king, a mirror was actually held up so that James I could behold himself as the present-day descendent of Banquo. Fate versus free will
Does Macbeth make his own fate or is it already set in stone?
The nature of evil
Is evil a supernatural thing or is it man?
Appearance versus reality
How can we tell good from evil if everyone is wearing a mask?
The effect of guilt on the human mind
Can people do wrong and live with the consequences?
The nature of Kingship/leadership
Are Kings born or are they made? Do Kings need to win the loyalty of their subjects? It is not so easy to read Macbeth. This is partially to do with the language, but it is mostly to do with the fact it is a play which should be performed not a novel that should be read.

As such we will 'perform' Macbeth together as a class.

We will also be relying on some film versions in class. Due to time constraints we are not likely to watch a whole film in class. As such I suggest that you go and watch a film version of Macbeth NOW so you get a good idea about what is going on in the play. Set in modern Melbourne and focusing on gangland warfare, this film is all over the shop. It does feature Sam Worthington without a shirt a lot of the time - but he is without question the least impressive Macbeth I have ever seen. The script is confusing and, if I didn't know the story before I watched it, I would have had no idea what is going on. Not available online - however it is easy enough to track down. I am going to read you a synopsis of Macbeth.

After I am done I am going to ask you some questions about the synopsis.

Get a question right and you get a tasty prize! For Holiday Homework you had to identify the main characters of Macbeth, let's make sure we are all on the same page.

Who are the main characters?

What are their charcteristics? With you list of characters I now want you to create a character diagram that demonstrates the relationships between each of the characters.

I would like you to use Bubbl.Us. to do this.

Keep a screen shot of this - you will need it later. Deep Thoughts - The Images Blood
“It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood”

Darkness and Night
“And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp”

“Not in the legions/ Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d/ In evils to top Macbeth”

Sorcery and supernatural forces
the witches, the apparitions, Banquo’s ghost

Opposites that are indistinguishable
“Fair is foul and foul is fair” Staring Ian McKellen (a.k.a. Gandalf) and Judi Dench (a.k.a. M) this is literally a performance of Macbeth by the London based Royal Shakespeare company filmed in 1979. It is not super exciting to watch because it is so paired back, but the performances are outstanding it is easy to follow and watching it is a really good way to understand the text. A Performance of Macbeth
Royal Shakespeare Company 1979 The Tragedy of Macbeth
Roman Polanski 1971 Unlike the last one - this is meant to look like a film not a play and as a result some of the text is edited out - and other things added in. It is a bit dated but still enjoyable to watch. Polanski has added a scene at the end that really adds to the 'Tragedy', much like Luhrmann did with Romeo and Juliet. Macbeth
Rupert Gould 2009 The latest - and definitely the creepiest version of Macbeth I have seen. Set in the future under a Hitler/Stalin dictatorship this Macbeth is fun to watch - although it is very long. Despite the update it is true to the original text Macbeth
Geoffrey Wright 2006 https://bubbl.us/ Never Say Macbeth! Shakespeare's play Macbeth is said to be cursed, so actors avoid saying its name (the euphemism "The Scottish Play" is used instead).

If an actor speaks the name "Macbeth" in a theater prior to a performance, he or she is required to leave the theater building, spin around three times, spit, curse, and then knock to be allowed back in.

There are several possible origins for this superstition:
One is the assumption that the song of the Weird Sisters is an actual spell that will bring about evil spirits.
Another superstition is the belief that the Globe Theatre was burned down during a performance of Macbeth.
There is also a legend that the play itself was cursed because the first time it was ever performed, the actor playing Macbeth died shortly before or after the production (accounts vary). Another version of this legend claims that it was the actor who played Lady Macbeth who died during the play's first production run and that Shakespeare himself had to assume the role.
Another legend claims that the original production of the play used actual witches and witchcraft, and so the play is cursed.
Full transcript