Tuesday, April 14, 2015

april 14

Some of Shakespeare's best-known protagonists wrestle with the concept of ambition.  When is ambition a good thing and when is it a tragic flaw?  Use examples from life (Jiro's, your own) and art (Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Romeo & Juliet, e.g.) to support your points.

1. Journal
2. Finish reading Act I.  Answer the study questions (after the jump) and post to your course blog.
3. Work on memorizing "tomorrow, tomorrow, & tomorrow..."

1. Complete agenda items 2 & 3 if you don't finish in class.

ACT I Study Questions

1. What is the effect of beginning the play with the witches? (Compare the openings of the other plays we have read; are any of those like this one?) Whom are the witches going to meet, and when? Notice the language of lines 10-11 and watch for it later in the play.
1. What do we learn about and from the "bloody Captain" (1.2.1-44)? Who is Macdonwald and what has he done? What has been done to him and by whom? Did that end the problem with rebels (1.2.29-34)?
2. What do we learn from Ross and Angus (1.2.45-62)? Who was the traitor in this different revolt? What does King Duncan say about the traitor and about his title (1.2.63-65)?
1. What is the effect of what the witches tell each other in 1.3.1-27)? What is the effect of the specifics they tell? Are these details important to the plot of the play? Why are they here? What does the First Witch mean by line 9? Keep the line in mind; "do" is an important word in this play. How do the witches prepare for Macbeth's arrival, and what do they say (1.3.28-35)?
2. Does Macbeth's first line (1.3.36) remind you of anything we have heard before? What do the witches look like (1.3.37-45)? What do they tell Macbeth (1.3.46-48). What happens to Macbeth then? How do we know? (See 1.3.49-55.) What does Banquo ask the witches and what do they tell him (1.3.55-67; notice the paradoxes in 1.3.63-65, similar in structure to 1.1.10-11 and 1.3.36). What do we know that Macbeth doesn't know in 1.3.68-76)?
3. How does Banquo explain the witches (1.3.77-78)? What does Macbeth learn from Ross and Angus (1.3.87-114)? What is Macbeth doing in lines 114-156? Note where he is speaking to himself, where he is speaking only to Banquo, and where he is speaking to everyone. How is Macbeth reacting to what the witches have said and to what Ross and Angus have said? Read Banquo's speech in lines 120-125 carefully for a statement related to the themes of the play. Then read Macbeth's speech at 1.3.126-141 carefully. What is he saying? What is he beginning to think about? Notice an echo of the paradox of "fair is foul" in lines 140-141.
4. How does Macbeth explain his behavior (1.3.148-149)? How much of his thought does he plan to share with Banquo (1.3.152-154)?
1. How did Cawdor die (1.4.1-11)? How does the King respond (1.4.11-14)? Keep these lines in mind.
2. How does the King greet Macbeth and Banquo (1.4.14-35)? Note the imagery of planting and growing. What announcement does the King make in lines 35-42? (Prince of Cumberland is the title of the Scottish heir apparent, like Prince of Wales for the English.) Where does the King intend to go (1.4.42-47)? How does he react in his aside to the King's announcement of his heir (1.4.48-53)? What is going on in Macbeth's mind?
1. Has Macbeth reported accurately to his wife (1.5.1-12)? How does she respond? Read her speech in lines 13-28 carefully. How does she describe Macbeth? Does this match what we have seen of him?
2. How does Lady Macbeth respond to the news that the King is coming? Read her speech in lines 36-52 carefully. What does she intend to do? What does she have to do to herself to let that happen?
3. Who is in charge when Macbeth arrives (1.5.52-71)? Has Lady Macbeth decided what to do? Has Macbeth? What does she tell him to do, and what will she herself do?
4. What is Lady Macbeth's name? (A trick question-it's not in the play. But historical sources tell us her name was Gruoch and that she had a son by a previous marriage, named Lulach. See the Bedford Texts and Contexts edition of Macbeth, p. 128, with no source given there.)
1. Read the opening speeches (1.6.1-10) carefully, noting the imagery. How honest is Lady Macbeth's welcome (1.6.10-31)?
1. Read Macbeth's soliloquy in 1.7.1-28 carefully. Notice the repetition of "done" in lines 1-2. How ready is Macbeth to kill the King? What is he worried about in lines 1-12? What special rules of hospitality is Macbeth violating (lines 12-16)? What motivation does Macbeth attribute to himself (lines 25-28)?
2. What is Lady Macbeth complaining about in lines 28-30? What does Macbeth then say, and how does Lady Macbeth reply? Read their discussion in lines 31-82 carefully to see what positions each holds and what means each uses to convince the other? Who is the stronger person in this scene?

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