Tag Archives: macbeth

Macbeth: Getting Started

Although you may not yet have read or seen Macbeth, you will soon recognize some familiar conflicts and issues, for you have seen them on television and in films, you have read about them in newspapers and magazines. In the play, there are conflicts between heroism and villainy, good and evil, loyalty and treachery, ambition and morality. In addition, there are conflicting loyalties – to king, country, family. You will recognize the murder mystery theme as well as the murderer’s attempts to conceal and lie and cover up, as his fear and desperation grow. You may recognize the ideas that life without love, friendship, and self-respect is meaningless or that guilt can be overwhelming.

We have all become familiar with the consequences of political upheaval, civil and foreign wars, with the grim reality that innocent people – especially children – suffer during such times. Even in our own times, we have seen that civil liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom from arbitrary arrest or execution are quickly eroded by dictatorships.

Even though the play deals with much that is familiar, it leads you to consider some new and unusual ideas, and to learn more about yourself and others. Perhaps you may not expect that a murderer would have a vivid and poetic imagination or that he would, even in defeat, demonstrate conscience and courage. You might not expect that an apparently strong, practical, and determined woman would act in such contradiction to her real nature that madness and violent suicide are the consequence.

To focus your response to Macbeth, you might want to think, write, and talk about some of the following issues. They will lead you to important perceptions – of the play’s characters, of yourself, and of others

  1. Think of some people you know or have read about who are/where ambitious. Have their ambitions led to a positive or negative result? Are ambitions sometimes destructive? Explain.
  2. What is your understanding of the philosophy, “the end justifies the means”? Give examples of situations in which you would agree or disagree with this philosophy.
  3. Would assassination or civil war ever be a justifiable response to rule by tyranny? What would you do if the leader of your country became a vicious tyrant?
  4. Are a citizen’s first responsibilities to family, political leader, or country?
  5. Describe some examples of what you think is evil behaviour. How should evil behaviour be dealt with?
  6. If you suspected, but had no evidence, that a friend of yours had committed a crime, what would you do?
  7. How do you deal with your fears? 2 Timothy 1:7 How might you help others to deal with theirs? What are some of the effects that fear can have on people?
  8. Describe a time you experienced insomnia (lack of sleep). What did you do about it? What are some of the effects that insomnia can have on people who suffer from it?
  9. Describe a women who best represents your idea of “womanliness.” Describe a man who best depicts “manliness.” Are there any similarities between the two descriptions? Why or why not?
  10. Explain what your think an ideal marriage would be.
  11. Describe a situation in which you or someone you know has been deceived by appearances. How might you advise someone to guard against this trap?
  12. What do you want most from life? What are you prepared to do to attain it?

“The Weird Sisters present nouns rather than verbs. They put titles on Macbeth without telling what actions he must carry out to attain those titles. It is Lady Macbeth who supplies the verbs.” – Susan Snyder – American Professor of English and critic

“To bite at the apple is a fearful thing … Macbeth has a wife whom the chronicle calls Grouch. This Eve tempts this Adam. Once Macbeth has taken the first bite, he is lost. The first thing that Adam produced with Eve is Cain; the first thing Macbeth accomplishes with Grouch is Murder.” – Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), French novelist, author of Les Miserables

“How then, is the hero to be kept from playing the villain’s role …? The murder, for one thing, is not committed on the stage, though in Elizabethan tragedy it nearly always is. Macbeth, with so little reason, cannot be permitted to kill before our eyes an old man, his sovereign, his guest, his greatest benefactor.” – Elmer Edgar Stoll (1874 – 1959) Shakespeare critic

Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth” Ed. Margaret Kortes. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.
Complete text at www.opensourceshakespeare.org

32-second Macbeth”

Macbeth Assignments

The assignments are your personal record of responses to issues in the text. Sometimes these assignments will be private reflections. Many assignments, however, will be ones that you would enjoy sharing with a friend, a small group, with a teacher, or with the whole world.

The activities found in the “For the Next Scene” sections allow you to record personal responses to issues that will be presented in the next scene of the play. You are encouraged to transform some of these initial thoughts into posts to share with others, e.g. personal essays, poems, short stories.

Blog Assignments: 5 x ( _/8 ) = __/40
Creative Writing: 5 x ( __/8 ) = __/40

Blog Assignments for Macbeth
The blog assignments you choose to publish should be kept in a separate category of your blog. For assignments which must be kept private, you could password protect the post. Attempt all of the following in your English notebook/binder, but choose one from each Act to publish in your blog. Typically these assignments will be critical essays of 3-5 body paragraphs with an introduction and conclusion.

I. p3 #1-7; p10 #2; p18 #1; p30 #4,5; p36 #1,2; p44 #2,3,4; p62 #2,7; p63 #1,6;
II. p74 #4; p84 #4; p107 #2,3;
III. p122 #4,5; p130 #2,3,4; p164 #3;
IV. p178 #3; p188 #2; p206 #4;
V. p226 #1,3; p250 #2,3,4; p258 #1

Creative Writing Activities for Macbeth
Like an artist’s studio the creative writing portfolio contains the following: raw materials, works in progress, (temporarily) abandoned works, and finished pieces. Like the artist’s studio, the creative writing portfolio becomes the repository from which the writer makes selections of what is worth exhibiting (or submitting) for evaluation. As you fill your portfolio with writing activities, make your own choices about what is to be polished or published.

Most writing activities require you to manipulate writing variables. You are asked to write in a voice other than your own, to write for a designated audience, and to write in styles that range from colloquial to formal.

Choose several of the following activities to experiment with in your creative writing portfolio. Use your blog entries for ideas or discuss other ideas with your teacher. You will decide which activities to submit for evaluation. Your final presentation for evaluation will have a specific genre as its focus. Choose one of the following:

  1. Director’s Log
    A director’s log is a recording of the ideas a director wishes to keep for reference. As the director it is your responsibility to conduct the group (actors, writers, artists, etc.) through problems it may have interpreting scenes, speeches, and actions.

    The director’s log is the official record of decisions the group has reached with regard to the interpretations and the staging of scene segments. It might include information such as

    • how the group will create the scene segment,
    • how the group will choreograph the action,
    • where the group will place the action,
    • what predominant mood the group will create for the action.

    The log might also include the group’s differences of opinion related to speeches, actions, and staging. Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 10 #1; p. 30 #1,3; p. 44 #5; p. 52 #3; p. 84 #1,3; p. 98 #1; p. 106 #1; p. 158 #1; p. 164 #1; p. 178 #4; p. 188 #4; p. 206 #5; p. 216 #1; p. 226 #5; p. 238 #1; p. 250 #5; p. 261 #5,6; p. 263 #8; p. 264 #112; p. 265 #17

  2. Television and Radio News Reports and Interviews
    Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 18 #2; p. 63 #5; p. 98 #4; p. 107 #5; p. 108 #9; p. 150 #4; p. 238 #5; p. 263 #9
  3. Lady Macbeth’s Lady-in-Waiting Letters
    Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 63 #2; p. 107 #4; p. 150 #2; p. 216 #5; p. 238 #6
  4. Reports: Doctors, Counselors, Court, Police
    Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 18 #3; p. 98 #3; p. 123 #7; p. 165 #4; p. 216 #4; p. 226 #4
  5. Personal Letters and Diary Entries
    Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 18 #4; p. 74 #2; p. 108 #8; p. 151 #5; p. 164 #1; p. 206 #1; p. 207 #3; p. 164 #2; p. 216 #6; p. 258 #7
  6. Newspaper/Magazine Articles
    Complete 5 of the following activities:
    p. 36 #4; p. 64 #7; p.107 #6; p. 108 #7; p. 136 #3; p. 165 #5; p. 188 #3; p. 258 #4; p. 258 #5; p. 260 #3b

English 20 Final Exam 2.0

Search the net, search blogs, search your mind. Synthesize, hyperlink, blockquote, and trackback.

Your writing should be a synthesis of the 5 paragraph essay AND a blog post.

Refer to one or any texts from your course: Macbeth, BNW, Can. Lit., Film, News, or other online media.

Your question:

What does it mean to be human in an engineered world?

Time: 2.5 hours
Submit a printed copy to your teacher and a trackback to this post.

Insert a New Scene into Macbeth

  1. Compose Act 5 Scene 5a: Lady Macbeth is reading letters while weeping. Enter Ross.
  2. Compose Act 6 Scene 1: Donalbain visits the Witches.
  3. Compose Act 5 Scene 9b: Malcolm’s speech in which he “accounts the loves” of his thanes and kinsmen.
  4. Write a new opening for the play. Emphasize action and quick dialogue. Use Act 5 Scene 8 as inspiration for parallels. Consider Act 1 Scene 2 and Act 1 Scene 3 lines 93-115.
  5. Insert a scene anywhere in the play that further develops the character of the “Gentlewoman.”

Bloggiest start to the bloggiest year ever.

What a funny word, “bloggiest”. Should I say it is a “most bloggy” start to the year? Does correct English matter in a blog?

All students I teach have begun a blog, of sorts. For the most part, I’ve insisted the content of the blog must be school or course related, the myriad responses to Macbeth fit this category. Other responses are more like “snowflakes”, snowflakes is my term to describe the phenomena of no two responses to the same prompt being identical.

I aggregate(not related to the term aggravate) RSS feeds from each class to aid in tracking down assigned work. Each student has a spreadsheet I term the Data Collector that averages rubric scores and totals moderated comment feeds, too. I then collect the Data Collectors periodically to determine scores to enter into GradeLogic. The data collectors serve a dual purpose, a foundation to build a grade obviously, but a powerful device to bring a landslide of peer pressure and collaborative assistance on the lazy, slower, or reluctant bloggers. Those that finish first have always shown a willingness to “share their secrets” with others.

Students are also instructed to collect and deposit appropriate comments on each other’s blogs, too. It is proving to be a fine art to learn to comment. Last year I found the aspect of commenting to be more valuable than the creation of the posts. Comments must contain evidence of critical thinking, I said, not simply “gladhanding”. If you troll the blogs you’ll notice the biggest difference right now between a veteran blogger and a newbie is the quality/quantity of appropriate comments. Students complete work earlier to benefit from positive/any attention from peer “commentors”. Any student who doesn’t get their blog post done on time, gets punished by receiving low or no rubric scores from their peers. However, unlike class discussions, the very nature of blogging allows anyone to catch up at any time. The students themselves seem to have an unofficial pecking order for who writes the best comments. They have internalized their own standards for what they will accept as a comment on their blog and are very persuasive at convincing each other to measure up. A few students are positively verbose and comment on all they can. Others choose fewer responses yet measure their words very carefully. Those that finish writing a post early, are left to hustle remaining students.

The grade 10s are shifting their attention to Keyboarding modules for a while, although I keep prodding them about “Turing Tests”. iGod is our most recent fascination.

The grade 9s get their prompts from Mrs. Fraser’s class then I help them become a bit more tech savvy.

The Grade 11s are in the midst of Macbeth and may see no reprieve for at least 2 more weeks, I figure. The more traditional assignments I’ve used for the last 14 years are as appropriate in a blog as they have ever been in my class. Doing it with blogs is just so cool!