William Shakespeare: Macbeth, p. 191-264.
Read this through carefully. It will take some time; please bear in mind the points below as you are going.
It may seem obvious, but people often forget or ignore the fact: the plays of Shakespeare were primarily written to be performed, and hence to be seen and heard. If you can find a way to see a suitable version, either on stage or on film, it will immeasurably improve your grasp of the meaning of the play and its tone. You may find some useful suggestions at my cite dedicated to Shakespeare on film.
While reading, consider as you are able:
- What’s the basic plot of this play? What particular incidents drive the action?
- Where does action rise and fall? Is there a dramatic peak or center to the play?
- How does Shakespeare control the sound of his language to help create the dramatic moment?
- How does Shakespeare use ambiguity in meaning to add nuance and complexity to what he’s writing?
- What are his sources of imagery and metaphor?
In each of our subsequent discussions on Shakespeare, I hope that we can tie our points in with that week’s reading, but also with what has gone before. Keep your eyes open for ways to compare these things.
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