Renaissance lesson 10: Macbeth

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In deze les zitten 56 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 2 videos.

time-iconLesduur is: 45 min

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 Introduction I
The play -  tragedy written between 1605 - 1606.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

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What do you think? What is Macbeth going to be about? 

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Macbeth - setting

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Macbeth (1606)
  • Scottish influence in England as James VI of Scotland (=James I of England) ascended the English throne in 1603. 

  • History of the scottish kings Duncan and Macbeth. 
  • These events really happened: Macbeth did indeed murder King Duncan in 1040 and Macbeth was defeated by Malcolm's army. 
  • However, Shakespeare put in many made-up events and characters

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King James I
- Macbeth written in 1606,
   under James I reign
- James I of England =
   James VI of Scotland 
- Witch-hunting
   (James's obsession)
- 4000 women killed

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Macbeth & James I
- Written for King James I
- Focused on Scotland
- Focused on kings & courts
- Focused on witches
= all interests of King James I 

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Do you agree? People who are striving to get ahead often step on other people.
YES
NO

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Do you agree? People who are involved in criminal activities can still feel love, fear, and concern for other people.
YES
NO

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The 16th century England: Elizabethan England
By the time Shakespeare was born, Queen Elizabeth - Henry VIII's eldest daughter was in power. Her 44 years on the throne provided the kingdom with more stability than the previous short-lived reigns. All citizens of England were subjects to the whims of the church and the monarchy, but the theatre experienced the greater freedom, unknown to the previous generations. This was partially because Queen Elizabeth herself was a patron of the theatre, and under the patronage of her successor, King James I, Shakespeare's company of actors became known as ' The King's Men'. Of course, this doesn't mean it was a total free-for-all for playwrights like Shakespeare. Much of the subject matter of their plays reflected the sentiments of the sitting monarch, with positive portrayals of their ancestors and references to current politics that were sympathetic to the monarch's cause. After all, there was no 'freedom of speech', and the price of falling out of grace with the king or queen could very well be your life. 

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Slide 13 - Tekstslide

In 1558, Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, came to the throne following the death of her Catholic half-sister, Mary I. Her 44-year reign, though not without ideological tensions and conflict, provided stability to the country, firmly established Protestantism as the state religion and consolidated England’s position as a political power in Europe. This shift in England’s political fortunes was accompanied by a remarkable flowering of vernacular literary expression and an unprecedented increase in knowledge of the world beyond England. The Elizabethan era is considered one of the most prolific in the history of English literature, producing such poets and dramatists as Sidney, Spenser, Donne, Marlowe, Jonson and Shakespeare.
As an unmarried queen, Elizabeth had to establish her authority in a patriarchal society and refute the widespread conviction that women were unfit to rule.  Possibly in order to retain her independence and political power, Elizabeth never married, skillfully prolonging marriage negotiations and playing one faction against the other. This meant, however, that she died childless in 1603, bringing an end to the Tudor dynasty.
The crown then passed to Elizabeth's appointed successor, James VI of Scotland, whose ascent to the English throne marked the beginning of the Stuart dynasty.

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25 July 1603
James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England
On this day in 1603, James VI of Scotland was crowned James I of England and Lord of Ireland – a personal union that helped found today's United Kingdom.
Born in 1566, James became the Scottish king while barely one year old, after the murder of his father (Lord Darnley) and the forced abdication of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, on the orders of Elizabeth I.
However, he wasn't very patriotic, visiting Scotland only once after being crowned King of England.
The first of the British Stuart kings was also famous for commissioning the Authorised King James Version of the Bible in 1611, hailed as the standard text for the next three centuries.
James's failure to give lenient treatment to Britain's Catholics, however, led to a Catholic plot to blow up parliament in 1605 – the inspiration for Guy Fawkes night. James also annoyed parliament by asserting his divine right to rule, while constantly asking them for more money.
In these post-Brexit times, it is good to note that James encouraged European peace, including ending a long-running war with Spain in 1604.
Macbeth
2 slide summary... 

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 John Green will briefly explain the plot and will provide some interesting details on Macbeth.

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4

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00:12
What? Wait a minute ... the Bard's play?
A
Yup, more superstition
B
Ah ... the bearded guy you mean ...
C
Right ... wasn't he a member of the Bard?
D
Yes, the Bard ... i.e. Shakespeare, duh

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00:24
In one word this play is ...
A
sad
B
violent
C
exciting
D
comic

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02:40
Event 1
Event 2
Event 3
Event 4
Event 5
Event 6
3 Witches say: MacBeth will become Thane of Cawdor 
MacDuff made the woods come alive and wasn't born out of a woman
Lady MacBeth went insane and killed herself
Banquo and Macbeth talk to 3 witches
Banquo's sons are in danger
Macbeth fails kills Duncan.

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12:04
TRUE
FALSE
The witches are out to cause trouble.
Supernatural elements were put in the play to flatter king James.
The killing of kings is always a touchy subject - goes against divine rights etc. 
Macbeth  is a Tragedy + History play.
MacDuff was not born of a woman and made the woods come alive
This play was the start of reallife witchhunts.
The play explores the difficulty of fate vs choice.

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A = false: it's the belief in the prophecies that did the damage - Macbeth acting on it. His actions are his choice, not the witches'. 

D = there are historical elements but he took quite a few liberties (partly to appease his patron).

F = that's like an ongoing debate. Perhaps Middleton helped write Macbeth. (Max. 100 lines if that were indeed the case.)
Macbeth - important scenes
First meeting with the three witches

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FIRST WITCH

All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!


SECOND WITCH
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!


THIRD WITCH
All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!






Modern translation: 
FIRST WITCH
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Glamis!
(= huidige titel van Macbeth, thane = soort baron)
SECOND WITCH
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Cawdor!
(= titel van een andere edelman)

THIRD WITCH
All hail, Macbeth, the future king!

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Macbeth - important scenes
Lady Macbeth persuading Macbeth

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Macbeth - important scenes
Dagger scene

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Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.


I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Is this a dagger I see in front of me, with its handle pointing toward my hand? (to the dagger) Come, let me hold you. (he grabs at the air in front of him without touching anything)
 I don’t have you but I can still see you. Fateful apparition, isn’t it possible to touch you as well as see you? Or are you nothing more than a dagger created by the mind, a hallucination from my fevered brain? 

I can still see you, and you look as real as this other dagger that I’m pulling out now.

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Act 4. The Witches prophecies:
 “Beware Macduff,” 

“none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth.” 

 Macbeth will be invincible (onverslaanbaar):  
"until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill  Shall come against him.”

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Can you think of a weird loophole for one of the prophecies?

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Macbeth - important scenes
Lady Macbeth beset by guilt, takes her own life
Next: Macbeth's famous response to death of his wife: 

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Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!


Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
How the days stretched out – each one the same as the one before, and they would continue to do so, tediously, until the end of history. 
And every day we have lived has been the last day of some other fool’s life, each day a dot of candle-light showing him the way to his death-bed. Blow the short candle out:
 life was no more than a walking shadow – a poor actor – who goes through all the emotions in one hour on the stage and then bows out. It was a story told by an idiot, full of noise and passion, but meaningless.

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Loopholing the prophecies... 
c-section
caesarean section = keizersnee
A very rare procedure then, performed only when a woman died during childbirth)

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Final scene: a blood-curling struggle with McDuff. 
Macbeth: I can not be harmed by a man born to a woman. 
McDuff: I was untimely ripped from my mother's womb. 

Then McDuff kills Macbeth. 
Malcolm is the new king of Scotland 

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About the play (page 57):
  • shortest of Shakespeare's tragedies
  • theme: ambition
  • 5 acts (see next slide for an overview per act)
  • blank verse: poetry written in lines of ten syllables (lettergrepen) without rhyme. 
  • Gravitas: characters are portrayed as the sort of people who deserved respect of the audience. 

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denouement =ontknoping

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About the witches... 
  • The witches’ beards, bizarre potions, and rhymed speech make them seem slightly ridiculous, like caricatures of the supernatural. 

  • Shakespeare has them speak in rhyming couplets throughout (their most famous line is probably “Double, double, toil and trouble, / Fire burn and cauldron bubble” in 4.1.10–11), which separates them from the other characters, who mostly speak in blank verse. 

  • The witches’ words seem almost comical, like malevolent nursery rhymes. Despite the absurdity of their “eye of newt and toe of frog” recipes, however, they are clearly the most dangerous characters in the play, being both tremendously powerful and utterly wicked

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What is the main theme of Macbeth?
A
Love
B
Ambition
C
Survival
D
Revenge

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In which country does Macbeth take place?
A
Scotland
B
England
C
Ireland
D
Wales

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Why does Macbeth kill King Duncan?
A
Because he is in the English army not the Scottish one
B
Macbeth wants to take his place as king
C
So Duncan can't kill him first
D
Because Duncan is in love with Lady Macbeth

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What does Macbeth do to his friends?
A
Organises a party to celebrate his being king
B
Gives them all jobs in the castle
C
Arranges for them to be killed
D
Gives them gold

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Who or what did the witches tell Macbeth would kill him?
A
The plague
B
A poison
C
A forest
D
His wife

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Questions page 57
1. Who has the stronger personality? Macbeth or Lady Macbeth?
  • Lady Macbeth is clearly a stronger personality. Macbeth hesitates, after the prediction of the three witches. Without his wife spurring him on, all of this would not have happened. 

 2. Are the witches instrumental in bringing about Duncan's murder?
  • They sure did! They predict a future for Macbeth that he hadn’t even dreamed of and when the first prediction comes true, his wife convinces him not to await the results of the other predictions – with all due consequences.

 3. Why is it necessary that Banquo has to die as well as his son?
  •  Banquo ‘will be the father of kings’, according to the witches, so if he stays alive, he might get other children, which would hurt MacBeth’s future.

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Questions page 57
4. The deeper meaning of Banquo's ghost appearing at the banquet?
  • Macbeth is plagued by his conscience, he is aware of what he has done and knows he is guilty of terrible crimes. That is why he sees the appearance of Banquo’s ghost.

5. Macbeth's state of mind in the passage "Tomorrow and tomorrow..."
  • He has become convinced that life has no meaning at all – but he himself has caused the situation he is in.

6. Macbeth says: "I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning would as tedious as go over (tedious = vermoeiend). 
  •  He means that he finds himself in such a terrible situation, that to go back and face the consequences would be as horrible as to go all the way. 

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Questions page 57
7. Macbeth is described as 'an essentially noble man who degenerates into a mere criminal'. 
  • Macbeth is, at first, described as a brave man, dedicated to his king. The witches’ prophesy changes his fate dramatically and, realising there is no way back, he becomes a murderer, an ordinary criminal.

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Supernatural Elements
- The witches
- Apparitions 
- Floating dagger (leads Macbeth
   to his victim King Duncan)
- Prophecies 

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Two acts in the reader: 
Act 1.7 = Lady Macbeth pushing Macbeth to kill King Duncan

Act 4.1 = the Witches and Macbeth 

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Which of the following is not an obsession of King James?
A
Kings & courts
B
Books & Laws
C
Scotland
D
Witch Hunting

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When was Macbeth written?
A
1602
B
1606
C
1615
D
1628

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Which of the following is not a supernatural element in Macbeth?
A
Apparitions
B
Witches
C
Prophecies
D
Ghosts

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Who do Macbeth and his wife kill?
A
King Duncan
B
King Bernard
C
King David
D
King Bob

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Macbeth is Shakespeare's... ?
A
Longest and bloodiest play
B
Shortest and bloodiest play
C
Longest and saddest play
D
Shortest and saddest play

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