Wednesday, April 15, 2015

april 16

JOURNAL TOPIC:  [today's tunes: "Macbeth-Sinfonia" by Verdi; "Tiny Daggers" by INXS]

Macbeth sees a vision of a dagger and is moved to speak and act accordingly.  Hamlet imagined the "bare bodkin" in his most famous soliloquy-- and was also moved to speak and act.  Compare these two moments: how does Shakespeare's characterization and writing technique create dramatic tension and move the plot?  Why do these characters see visions in their mind, then use words to express what they think & feel about what they see, and then become motivated to act?  What effects does Shakespeare's technique create?  And why the images of weaponry?  In other words:[groan]...POINT?

1. Journal
2. Read Act II.  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 (due tomorrow) if you don't finish in class.

ACT II Study Questions

1. What is the purpose of the opening of 2.1 (lines 1-9)? Notice the references to time (lines 1-3), and think about the other references to time so far in the play (1.1.1-5; 1.3.56, 146, and 152; 1.5.8 and 56-62; 1.7.51 and 81). What is the function of the discussion about the witches in 2.1.20-29?
2. Read Macbeth's soliloquy in 2.1.33-64 carefully. What is happening to him? How does he explain it? What will he do about it? Notice references to time in line59 and to deeds and done in lines 61-62.
1. What is Lady Macbeth's state of mind in her soliloquy (2.2.1-13)? What has she done? What does she assume Macbeth is now doing? Why didn't she do it (lines 12-13)?
2. What deed has Macbeth done (2.2.14)? What is Macbeth worried about in lines 17-31? How does Lady Macbeth respond (lines 31-32)? Notice the heavy emphasis on the murdering of sleep in lines 33-41. What problem arises in line 46? How is it solved? Keep lines 44-45, 58-61, and 65 about washing in mind for later in the play.
1. What does the porter pretend to be doing? Notice the emphasis on equivocation in this speech and in the following dialogue with Macduff. Equivocation was a doctrine espoused by Jesuits living secretly in England (and in danger of arrest, torture, and death) that allowed them to swear oaths with double meanings in order to preserve their lives while also maintaining their faith but that looked to their opponents very much like lying under oath. Equivocation had recently been much discussed because of the trials surrounding the Gunpowder Plot of November 1605, a Catholic attempt to blow up Parliament while the members and the King were present. Watch how the idea of equivocation functions in the play.
2. What is the thematic function of Lennox's conversation with Macbeth about the unruly night (lines 50-59). What is the theatrical function of the scene? Why does something need to be here?
3. What news does Macduff report at line 59? How do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respond? What does Macbeth report in lines 103-104 that he did? What do Malcolm and Donalbain decide to do and why (lines 116-121 and 131-142)? Where will they go? What do they seem to expect will happen if they don't leave?
1. What is the function of the dialogue between the Old Man and Ross (lines 1-20)? What do we learn from Macduff about Malcolm and Donalbain? About Macbeth? Where has Macbeth gone? Where will Macduff go? (Macbeth was historically a member of the royal family; his mother and Duncan's mother were sisters, daughters of Duncan's predecessor as king; both Duncan and Macbeth were historically about the same age. Duncan ruled from 1034 to 1040 and Macbeth from 1040 to 1057.) Notice that many of the key words and ideas we have been tracing appear in this scene.

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