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Shakespeare’s Macbeth An Introduction

Thursday, August 26, 2010


POP QUIZ! Name of Shakespeare’s wife and children. (4) Shakespeare’s place of birth. (1) Who was the monarch during England’s Renaissance? (1) Who was King James I? (1) Three main classifications of Shakespeare’s plays. Give one example each (6) Shakespeare’s other works (2) Define: a) Soliloquy b) Anachronism (2) How do you cleanse yourself of the “Scottish play’s” curse? (What should you do if you say the “M” word?) (3) Thursday, August 26, 2010


William Shakespeare Baptized 16 April 1564 - no birth certificates, records were with the Church Died 23 April 1616 - buried in Holy Trinity Church, Epitaph: “Good friend, for love’s sake forbear/To dig the bones interred here./Blest be the man that spares these stones,/And cursed be the man who moves my bones. Grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon Wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems Thursday, August 26, 2010


William Shakespeare Married Anne Hathaway, had 3 children: Susanna, Hamnet and Judith (twins). Hamnet dies, age 11 Bulk of his estate went to Susanna. To his wife Anne, his second best bed - an insult or a meaningful gesture? No surviving direct line - In 1670, Susanna’s only daughter (Elizabeth) dies without children

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Elizabethan Era Golden age in English history English Renaissance - flowering of English poetry, music and literature An age of exploration and expansion abroad A time of peace Before the royal union with Scotland

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespeare’s plays Written for The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (The King’s Men) - bought and performed his plays This playing company (or troupe) became one of the leading companies, later on patronized by James I Often performed at court and in theaters that Shakespeare co-owned, including The Globe in London Thursday, August 26, 2010


The Globe

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Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespeare’s plays Iambic pentameter - an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable da-DUM = 1 foot da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM = 1 LINE (five feet) Variations: da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, DUM-da, daDUM-da e.g.: toBE orNOT toBE THATis theQUEStion Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespeare’s plays In Medias Res - in the middle of things Puns - play on words References to blood -violence Foreshadowing

Shakespeare plays to the crowd: appealing to the people in the pit

Foil - a minor character whose purpose is to intensify a quality of a major character by contrast Soliloquy - dramatic monologue Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespeare’s plays References to ghosts Dramatic irony - character says one thing, the audience understands it another way Anachronism - something out of place in time References to night/light - they used natural light, so audience had to be reminded the scene was happening at night The last person to speak is alway the person of highest birth Shakespeare honors the sponsors of the play. Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Comedy Elizabethan comedy is different from modern comedy Has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between unmarried characters, light-hearted Greater emphasis on situations, not characters Young lovers overcome difficulty caused by elders, tension between characters, usually with family members Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Comedy Separation and reunification, deception between characters (esp. mistaken identity) Clever servant Multiple, intertwining plots Slapstick, puns, dry humor, witty banter, practical jokes Pastoral element (rural life idealized)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream Much Ado About Nothing The Merchant of Venice The Taming of the Shrew

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean History Plays based on the lives of English kings More accurately: English history plays A biased criticism of their own country e.g. King John, Edward II, Henry (IV, V, VI), Richard II, Henry VII War(s) of the Roses cycle - civil wars in England with some events dramatized by Shakespeare in the history plays

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Tragedy Some say connected to Aristotle’s precepts about tragedy: protagonist must be an admirable but flawed character Some say Seneca influenced his work - e.g. the eventual Stoic calm of the protagonist The last two tragedies seem to show last two stages of grief: depression and acceptance

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Tragedy Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar King Lear Macbeth Othello

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Dramatic Structure ACT 1: Exposition - introduces characters and setting, basic information about relationships between characters, an initial conflict between them. ACT 2: Rising Action - suspense builds up, “the plot thickens�, characters make decisions in response to opening conflict, these decisions complicate the action. ACT 3: Turning Point - characters or circumstances change (for worse or better) due to an action upon which main plot hinges. Central or focal point of the play Thursday, August 26, 2010


Shakespearean Dramatic Structure ACT 4: Falling Action - the unravelling of complications leads to the resolution of the conflict. ACT 5: Conclusion: In comedies, the celebration of a new order, new identities and a harmonious end to conflict expressed through marriage. This end is seemingly due to divine providence or supernatural occurrences. In tragedies, the restoration of moral and social order. Evil people are dead or no longer in power, this restoration of order comes at great cost.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Macbeth Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy Written between 1603 and 1607 Sources for the tragedy are the accounts of King Macbeth of Scotland, Macduff and Duncan in “Holinshed’s Chronicles”, a history of England, Scotland and Ireland familiar to him and his contemporaries The story itself is not based on reality, Macbeth in real life was an admired and able monarch

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Macbeth Themes include: Tragedy of character Tragedy of moral order Poetic tragedy Witchcraft and evil

Thursday, August 26, 2010

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