Macbeth Higher English Introduction Remember, remember In 1605, Guy Fawkes plot to blow up Parliament and thus assassinate King James I (of England, VI of Scotland) was foiled. Introduction - Macbeth In 1606, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth
(though it was not performed until 1611). Macbeth charts the rise and fall of the eponymous protagonist, as he murders the King (of Scotland) and attempts to become King himself. Due to the recent events, it was a very popular play! Themes and Context The Supernatural
King James I and VI wrote a treatise on the supernatural, entitled Daemonologie. He was thoroughly behind finding witches and burning them at the stake. Witches play a key role in Macbeths fate. Loyalty and Betrayal
The attempt on King James I and VIs life made this play very topical. There were other plots against him as well being the first Scottish king of England, he wasnt hugely popular. (His mum was Mary, Queen of Scots.) Macbeth was a real person in 11th century Scotland, though the play is not biographical.
Ambition and Lines of Succession Macbeth strives to become king, though he has no hereditary claim to the throne. James I did not have a direct claim to the throne either. It was a worry who would come after King James I and VI too, as he was the first Stuart king.
Characters Macbeth a prophecy spurs him to evil deeds to try to become king Lady Macbeth the brains of the operation. More strong-willed and ruthless than her husband Duncan King of Scotland at the beginning of the play Malcolm Duncans son and named heir to the throne Banquo Macbeths friend; a prophecy is also made about him MacDuff another Scottish nobleman who distrusts Macbeth Lady MacDuff his wife The Witches they are the catalyst for Macbeths evil and appear at
various points Places in the Play Look at page 2 in The Text Guide to get an idea of the different locations mentioned in the play. Shakespeares Language Shakespearean language can seem daunting at first, but you will get used
to it and eventually be able to read it like you would any other piece of writing. Shakespeares Language Shakespeare used different forms of writing within plays. Prose spoken by common people Verse spoken by noble characters Rhyming verse supernatural characters
(in this play) Look at pages 7-8 for tips on the language. Structure Shakespeares plays are always five acts long. Really, you should use Roman numerals when referring to acts and scenes in the play, and use Arabic
script for the line numbers eg: IV.ii.33-36 Structure Macbeth is a tragedy. The first part builds up to a turning point and the second part deals with the consequences, leading to the plays climax. Task 1) Identify the turning point Macbeth kills Duncan (II.i/ii)
2) Identify the climactic scene V.viii Macbeth killed/prophecy is true 3) Try to identify five key scenes from elsewhere in the play. (Think about big effects on characters or very important decisions.) 4) I.iii meets witches 5) I.v/vii Lady Macbeth plotting/persuading Macbeth 6) III.iv Banquos ghost 7) IV.i meets witches again 8) V.iv prophecy fulfilled Birnam wood
9) V.i Lady Macbeth sleepwalks Structure Cyclical the ending mirrors the opening. Variety of short and long scenes to build tension. Minor scenes support the key scenes (bridge scenes at end of acts.) Act V uses lots of short scenes. First scene of every act sets the mood of the act. (eg witches, I.i, Duncans murder, II.i)
Character Profile - Macbeth Create a profile for Macbeth charting the changes in his character: from heroic and loyal, to ambitious and guilt-wracked, to murderous and deceitful (and mad), before finally despairing of the violent existence he has created for himself. You will require several quotations for each stage to fully illustrate his development.
Suggested Scenes Heroic/loyal: I.ii, I.iii Ambitious but guilty: I.iii, I.iv, I.vii (important soliloquy), II.i (important soliloquy), II.ii Deceitful/murderous: II.iii, III.i (a few in this scene), III.ii, IV.ii Mad: II.i, III.iv Despairing/mad: V.iii, V.v, V.viii
Character Profile Lady Macbeth Now, do the same charting the changes in Lady Macbeth. Remember, she seems ruthless and cruel to begin with, always in control, but chinks in her armour appear until she is eventually driven mad by guilt. Other Characters
Banquo, Macduff, Duncan and Malcom. Briefly summarise the role of each in the play. For each, use one quotation which illustrates their character. This is in case you want to draw comparisons between Macbeth and another character. Suggested Scenes Ruthless/ambitious/cruel: I.v (important
soliloquy lots of quotations!) I.vii, II.ii, II.iii (not a quotation something she does) Still in control: III.iv, Hint of weakness/excluded by Macbeth: II.ii, III.iii Madness: V.i, V.iii, V.vi Themes Ambition Betrayal
Fate/the supernatural Good vs evil Create a mind map/list for each theme, showing the different points in the play where the themes are made clear. It would also be a good idea to decide on a colour code for the themes, then highlight/underline your character quotations if they fit any themes too. The Writers Message
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