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Critical Lens Literature Review. Period Eight. Macbeth , by William Shakespeare.

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Macbeth by william shakespeare
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Macbeth (fierce warrior, both pro and ant, loves his wife but is controlled by her, easily tempted), Lady Macbeth (controlling, very selfish, mentally unstable), Duncan (king, Macbeth kills him in order to become King), Macduff (born by c-section, kills Macbeth as revenge for his family’s deaths and Duncan’s murder), Banquo (Macbeth’s best friend, killed by three homeless “assassins;” B knew about Macbeth’s evildoing)

Imagery: blood and violence, darkness and light, evil animals

Irony: (dramatic) we know the witches are telling Macbeth what will happen, we know that M killed Duncan, (regular irony) M’s friends take over the castle, the forest doesn’t really move, Macduff was born by c-section

Foreshadowing: the witches predictions/warnings


Lord of the flies by william golding
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

  • Piggy (he dies—killed by a boulder), Ralph (protagonist), Jack (antagonist), Simon (he is stabbed by the boys because they think he’s the beast)

  • Conflict (external): hunters v. non-hunters, the boys v. the island, boys v. the beast, Ralph v. Jack

  • Symbolism:

    • The pilot—fear

    • The pig’s head—the lord of the flies, fear, savagery

    • Conch—democracy, order

    • Glasses—intelligence, reason


Romeo and juliet by william shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Conflict: external, Montagues (Romeo) vs. Capulets (Juliet), Romeo vs. Tybalt, Romeo & Juliet vs. their families; internal, Romeo v. himself and Juliet v. herself

Irony: Romeo and Juliet’s deaths

Foreshadowing: The deaths are foreshadowed


The crucible by arthur miller
The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Abigail Williams (antagonist), John Proctor (protagonist), the girls (with Abigail), Elizabeth Proctor

Plot: Abigail Williams wants to get rid of E.P. in order to get John for herself, but gets accused of witchcraft. She accuses others to get out of trouble, and the Trials begin. John Proctor tries to stop the trials, but is unsuccessful. He is finally accused and is hanged. He sacrifices himself to save others.

Theme: People can be conniving, but there are still people who stand up for what is right.

Setting: Salem, Mass., 1692


The catcher in the rye by j d salinger
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

  • Holden Caulfield, 16 (both protagonist and antagonist): has no friends, makes fun of other people (thinks that people are phonies), ironic comments, sarcastic, rich, his younger brother Allie died of leukemia, gets kicked out of lots of schools, he doesn’t try, he is mentally and physically unstable/distraught

  • Conflict (internal): Holden vs. himself (he contradicts himself—hypocritical; he is bothered by everything; he needs to go home and tell his parents)

  • Setting: New York City—he is among many people, but he isolates himself

  • Theme: Holden wants to protect little kids before they fall (or become like him).

  • Symbolism:

    • Baseball glove—it was Allie’s and has poems on it

    • Hunting hat—unique, hide from others

    • Ducks—ducks leave in winter but they come back: like Holden


Of mice and men by john steinbeck
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

George (short and intelligent), Lenny (slow and very big); Curly’s wife (flirtatious, good-looking and knows it), Curly (overworks his employees, mean, arrogant)

Setting: the Great Depression, California

At the beginning of the story, they are run out of town because Lenny touched a girl’s dress; they have the American dream—to own a piece of land for themselves; Lenny has a tendency to make inappropriate mistakes—he kills Curly’s wife by accident; they run away and George kills Lenny so he doesn’t suffer or get in trouble (it’s better than allowing him to be murdered slowly)

Foreshadowing: Curly’s wife’s death (Lenny accidentally kills mice and a puppy, he crushes Curly’s hand)


Animal farm by george orwell
Animal Farm, by George Orwell

  • Allegory: On the surface, it’s about a farm, but it’s really about Russia and communism

  • The characters represent different people or ideas (the working people, Stalin--corrupt, Lenin—idea man, Trotsky--idealist, Molotov—propoganda)

  • Theme:

    • The working people follow the government, but perhaps are carried away. We don’t always critique.

    • Power can be easily abused.


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