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Bell Ringer

The word cloud below is a compilation of commonly occurring words from Macbeth. The larger the word is, the more often it appears in the text. Make a prediction about Macbeth based on the word cloud. Consider the plot, potentially important characters, and driving conflicts for the tragedy.

Macbeth Day 1

william shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Born:1564 at Stratford-upon-Avon

Married: Anne Hathaway in 1582, had three children

Plays: wrote 37 (About 1.5 per year)

Sonnets: wrote 154

Died: 1616

shakespeare s new words
Shakespeare’s New Words
  • Solidified the English language
  • Over 2000 new words
    • critical, aggravate, assassination, monumental, forefathers, hurry, homicide
  • Coined Phrases

We’d better lie low for awhile.

He was dead as a doornail.

She’s a tower of strength.

I couldn’t sleep a wink.

the theater
The Theater
  • Plays produced for the general public
  • Attracted both rich and poor viewers
  • Roofless / open air
  • No artificial lighting
  • Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of galleries
  • Flags indicated show times


Wealthy = Benches

Poor = “Groundlings”

(They had to stand in the “pit”)

the globe
The Globe
  • Built in 1599
  • “Wrong side of town”
  • Penny admission
    • Higher price for gallery seating
    • Private boxes for the nobility
  • Held about 3000 people
  • Sold refreshments
  • No restroom, no intermission
  • No curtain – issue with characters who died
  • Before theaters were built, performances were put on by traveling troupes
  • Only men and boys
    • Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles
    • Indecent for a woman to appear on stage
  • Actors were expected to be able to:
    • sing
    • clown
    • fence
    • perform acrobatic feats
    • dance
  • King’s Men – Shakespeare’s company
  • written in 1606, published in 1623
    • Most likely written for performance before King of Demark (in London visiting James I, his brother-in-law)
  • Tragedy
    • Sometimes called last of Shakespeare’s “four great tragedies”
      • Dark look at human nature
      • Cause and effects of evil
  • Almost all written in poetry, urgent quality comes from sound and performance
  • True history:
    • Real Macbeth reigned 1040-1057
    • Macbeth killed Duncan I (ruled 1034-1040)
    • Duncan’s son, Malcolm, avenged his father’s murder by killing Macbeth in 1057
    • Malcolm died a natural death in 1093
  • Shakespeare’s inspiration:
    • Shakespeare inspired by Ralph Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
      • Inspired many of his History plays
      • Duncan I – weak king
      • Real Macbeth had met three women who made prophecies (predictions)
      • Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth, Banquo, and other friends killed Duncan
  • Shakespeare’s inspiration :
    • Shakespeare inspired by Ralph Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
      • Macbeth ruled honorably for many years, but began to fear for his safety
      • Macbeth first killed Banquo and tried to kill his son, Fleance, but he escaped and founded the House of Stuart
  • Shakespeare’s inspiration :
    • Shakespeare inspired by Ralph Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
      • Separate story of old warrior chief named King Duff who was killed by a man named Donwald and his wife when king was staying in their house as guest
      • Shakespeare combined two stories into Macbeth
      • Condenses Macbeth’s reign into 10 wks.
  • Shakespeare’s inspiration :
    • Scholars suggest Macbeth written to please James I (ruled England 1602-1625)
      • Defeat of Macbeth’s rule linked to rise of James family line
      • James I interested in witchcraft and supernatural
      • Gunpowder Plot – 1605 plan to assassinate James I and members of his government
  • Notes about the text:
    • Play revised and altered in 17 yrs. Between first performance and publication
    • Thomas Middleton (author, playwright The Witch) seems to have had a role in editing
    • Short play – abridged?
  • Introduction:
    • Dark and gloomy settings
    • Describes chaotic, predatory natural world
    • Macbeth
      • Scottish king
      • Usurps the throne
    • Major themes: power & ambition
the renaissance period time 1485 1660

Macbeth Day 2

The Renaissance PeriodTime: 1485-1660
  • stress on human life on earth
  • many aspects of love explored as popular theme (unrequited, constant, timeless, courtly)
  • shift from religion  individualism
  • popular styles: sonnet, drama (tragedies)
  • Black Death – people thought God was punishing them  indulge in life b/c it’s short (emphasis on arts, literature, drama)
  • Elizabethan Era – Protestant, peak of literature
  • printing press – helped stabilize Engl. language, increase availability of literature
macbeth day 2

The time:

  • 11th century
  • The place:
  • Scotland & England
  • The essential background:
  • Shakespeare combined two historical accounts by Holinshed (see notes from Day 1)
  • Macbeth really was Scottish king in 11th century (1040-1057) and did kill Duncan (1034-1040)
  • One of most famous tragedies
  • Written mostly in verse
Macbeth – Day 2
drama literary terms
Drama Literary Terms

One thing is said, but another is meant.

A character or reader expects one thing to happen, but something else occurs.

What appears to be true to the character is known to be false to the audience.

Following a serious scene with a lighter, mildly humorous scene

  • Foreshadowing - writer’s use of hints or clues that suggest what events will occur later in a narrative
drama literary terms1
Drama Literary Terms

A speech a character makes while alone on stage—reveals thoughts to audience

A speech delivered to a group of listeners who do not speak for the duration

Someone (usually, but not always absent) or an abstract quality is addressed directly by a character

A remark spoken to the audience or another character on stage that can’t be heard by other characters

drama literary terms2
Drama Literary Terms

Controls birth, life, and death

Dramatic work that presents the downfall of a dignified character involved in historically/socially significant events

The main character who comes to a miserable end

A fatal error in judgment or character weakness that leads directly to his/her fall

drama literary terms3
Drama Literary Terms

A character who underscores characteristics of the main one through contradictions

A recurring word, phrase, image, object, idea, or action in a work of literature (functions as a unifying device & often relates directly to one or more themes)

Central idea conveyed by a work of literature; general perception about life or human nature

Purging of emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through art, tragedy/music