Shakespeare. 1. William Shakespeare was born in April 23, 1564. He was the third of seven children of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden Shakespeare. John ’ s parents were tenants on land owned by Mary ’ s parents, so they grew up next to each other. They were married in 1556.
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1. William Shakespeare was born in April 23, 1564. He was the third of seven children of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden Shakespeare. John’s parents were tenants on land owned by Mary’s parents, so they grew up next to each other. They were married in 1556.
2. John Shakespeare was a glove maker in Stratford-On-Avon, a typical market town in England. Most of the inhabitants, numbering some 2,000 at that time, were engaged in agriculture, or small scale industry. • 3. Since Mary’s parents were property owners, and John was a successful businessman, their children received formal education until the age of sixteen. Their son, William, was enrolled in the local grammar school where he studied Latin, rhetoric, Greek and Roman mythology, history, and the Bible.
4. In 1565, John Shakespeare became Alderman of Stratford, and by 1571, he held the coveted office of Bailiff (sort of like a local justice of the peace). One of John’s many duties was to preview touring theater companies that wished to perform in Stratford before granting them a license to appear. • 5. By the time William was sixteen, he had grown into a handsome fellow, and met Anne Hathaway. They were married by special consideration from the Bishop of Worchester, on November 28, 1582. Shortly thereafter, their first child, Susana, was born. Two years later the couple had twins named Hamnet and Judeth.
6. William, who had always harbored a desire to be a poet and a writer, heard of the outbreak of new theatres in London. He packed his things, and left his family in Stratford to try his luck in the new theatres of London. • 7. He worked first as a “horseman” (sort of a valet / parking attendant for horses) at one of the local theatres, and then finally as an apprentice for one of the local acting companies called “The Queen’s Men.” It was so named because the company enjoyed the support and patronage of the Queen herself. William appeared on stage, as did all apprentices, in small roles, working his way up to playing the female parts.
8. Between 1587 and 1592, “The Queen’s Men” gave fourteen performances for the Queen’s Court. As part of the company, Shakespeare received quite an education in manners and diplomacy, all very necessary ingredients for a successful career as an artist in those days. • 9. Shakespeare began writing during this period, and by 1592 he had written the three parts of Henry VI and was gaining popularity as a dramatist.
10. In 1592, London was besieged by a great plague. Much like tuberculosis or our modern day AIDS, the plague wiped out a huge number of people and lasted until 1594. During this period, the theaters were closed, and Shakespeare returned to Stratford to be with his family. While in Stratford , he wrote many of his comedies, including The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. • 11. It was during this time that Shakespeare first began to write sonnets and long poems, which resulted in the patronage of many nobility, the most famous of which was Henry Writhesley, the Earl of Southhampton.
12. When the theatres re-opened in 1594, Shakespeare once again left for London. By then, all of the companies had disbanded, with the exception of “The Chamberlain’s Men” and “The Admiral’s Men.” Shakespeare joined “The Chamberlain’s Men” and his theatrical career blossomed. • 13. In 1596, the Shakespeare family was granted a “coat-of-arms” raising its status in the community; Shakespeare was now a “gentleman.” Later that same year, tragedy struck William’s life with the death of his son, Hamnet. It is thought that the death of his son inspired the writing of his tragic masterpiece Hamlet, and it is in the wake of his grief that Winter’s Tale was penned.
14. During the course of the next twelve years, Shakespeare wrote another dozen plays. • 15. His father died in 1601, followed by his mother in 1608, and Shakespeare retired to Stratford in 1610. There he wrote his final play The Tempest, and died on April 23, 1616. • 16. Shakespeare is credited with having written thirty-seven plays during his lifetime.
MACBETH NOTES • Drama • Type of Work: • Author: • Type of Plot: • Time of Plot: • Locale: • First Presented: • William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) • Romantic Tragedy • Eleventh Century • Scotland • 1606
Introduction • This shortest of Shakespeare’s four major tragedies was written to be performed for King James I and was designed to appeal the king’s fascination with witchcraft and supernatural phenomena. The play explores the nature of ambition and the complexities of moral responsibility through the story of a nobleman driven to murder at the instigation of his power-hungry wife. Macbeth’s doom is fixed at the first evil act, after which he descends deeper and deeper into degradation in an attempt to conceal his crime and protect his new position of power.
Characters • Duncan: King of Scotland. Gentle and trusting, he shows great kindness to Macbeth. His murder by Macbeth is therefore almost incredibly fiendish. • Malcolm– King Duncan’s eldest son. Far more cautious and shrewd than his father, he leaves for England to escape possible assassination. He is reluctant to give his trust to Macduff but finally, realizing his loyalty, accepts his aid in taking back the throne of Scotland. • Donalbain: King Duncan’s younger son. After consulting with Malcolm, he agrees to take a separate path going to Ireland so that the potential heirs to the throne would not be accessible to a common assassination.
Characters • Macbeth: He is thane of Glamis, later thane of Cawdor and the King of Scotland. A brave and successful military leader, potentially a good and great man, he wins general admiration as well as particular gratitude of King Duncan, whose kinsman (familial relation) he is. Meeting the three weirdsisters, he succumbs to their tempting prophecies; but he also needs the urging of his wife to become a traitor, murderer, and a usurper. He is gifted, or cursed, with a powerful imagination and with fiery, poetic language. Gaining power, he grows more ruthless, until finally he loses all vestiges of humanity. He dies desperately, cheated by the ambiguous prophecies, in full realization of the worthlessness of the fruits of his ambition.
Characters • Lady Macbeth: The strong-willed, persuasive and charming wife of Macbeth. Ambitious for her husband’s glory, she finds herself unable to kill King Duncan in his sleep, because he looks like her father. As Macbeth becomes more inhuman, she becomes more remorseful and breaks under the strain of her guilt. In her sleepwalking, she relives the events of the night of the king’s murder and tries to wash her hands clean of imaginary bloodstains.
Characters • Banquo: He is Macbeth’s fellow commander. A man of noble character, seemingly unmoved by the prophecy of the three weird sisters that he will be the father of kings, he is not completely innocent; he does not disclose his suspicions of Macbeth, and he accepts a place in Macbeth’s court. After being murdered by Macbeth’s assassins, Banquo’s ghost appears at a ceremonial banquet. His blood-spattered ghost, visible only to Macbeth, unnerves the king completely. In the final vision shown Mackbeth by the three weird sisters, Banquo and his line of king appears.
Characters • The Three Weird Sisters (a.k.a. Three Witches): They are sinister hags who seem more like tellers of Fates than conventional witches. To Macbeth they make prophetic statements which are true, yet deceptive. Their prophecy of his becoming the thane of Cawdor is immediately fulfilled, tempting him to take direct action to carry out the second prophecy, that he shall be king. They lull him into a false sense of security by telling him that he has nothing to fear until Birnan wood comes to Dunsinane, and that he cannot be killed by any man of a woman born.
Noblemen of Scotland • Macduff: He is the thane of Fife. He and Lennox arrive at Macbeth’s castle just after the murder of King Duncan, and Macduff discovers the body. A brave but prudent man, he flees Scotland and offers help to Malcolm. Underestimating the villainy of Macbeth’s character, he is shocked at hearing of the vicious murder of his wife and children. He becomes a steel-hearted avenger. At the end, he deprives Macbeth of his last symbol of security.
Noblemen of Scotland • Lennox: Macduff’s companion • Menteith, Angus and Caithness: Noblemen who join Malcolm against Macbeth • Fleance: Son of Banquo. He escapes the murderers who killed his father and lives to haunt Macbeth with the three witches prophecy that kings will spring from Banquo’s line. • Siward– Earl of Northumberland, the general of the English forces supporting Malcolm. He is a noble father who accepts the death of his son stoically.
Noblemen of Scotland • Young Siward– The general’s son who dies in hand-to-hand combat with Macbeth • A Scottish Doctor- Called in to minister to Lady Macbeth, he is witness to her sleepwalking in which she relives the night of the murder. • Captain: A wounded survivor of the battle at the beginning of the play. He reports to King Duncan t he heroism of Macbeth and Banquo.
Noblemen of Scotland • A Porter: The comical drunkard. Roused by the knocking at the castle door, he pretends to the gatekeeper of hell and imagines various candidates clamoring for admission. The audience, knowing of Duncan’s murder, can realize how ironically near the truth is the idea of the castle as hell. • Hectate: the goddess of witchcraft. It is generally accepted among Shakespearean scholars that Hectate is an addition to the play by another author, perhaps Thomas Middleton, author of “The Witch.”
Act I • Literary Terms: • a. Foreshadowing– a hint given to the reader of what is to come • Example: “Fair is foul and foul is fair…” (Act I, Scene I) • b. Soliloquy– a dramatic convention that allows a character alone on stage to speak his or her thoughts aloud. Important tool to developing characters and plot. • Example: Lady Macbeth’s introductory speech (Act I, Scene V)
Act 1 - scene 1 • 1. What are the characters introduced in Scene I? • The 3 witches • 2. How would you interpret the line “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”? • (Foreshadowing) It indicates that all is not as it should be; things are in a confused state; It foreshadows events to come and sets the tone of the play
Act 1 - scene 1 • 3. What specific plan is mentioned? • The 3 witches plan to meet Macbeth upon the heath after the battle
Act 1 - scene 2 • 4. What two men are leading troops into battle against Duncan? • Madonwald, King of Norway, and the thane of Cawdor • 5. Who defeated and killed Macdonwald? • Macbeth
Act 1 - scene 2 • 6. What is the Thane of Cawdor’s punishment for his traitorous activities? • He is to be killed • 7. Who will receive his title? • Macbeth
Act 1 - scene 3 • 8. What revenge does the witch plan for the sailor whose wife wouldn’t share her chestnuts? • The witch plans to steal his sleep and to beset his voyage with bad weather • 9. What do lines 24 – 25 indicate about the witches’ power? • Their power is limited. They can influence events but they cannot completely control them
Act 1 - scene 3 • 10. What predictions do the witches make for Macbeth? • That he will be the thane of Cawdor and eventually king • 11. Why does Macbeth react the way he does to the witches’ predictions? • He is startled because the witches have voiced his secret ambition to be king.
Act 1 - scene 3 • 12.. What prediction do the witches make for Banquo? • Though he will not be king, he will beget kings • 13. In lines 132 – 141, what is the “horrid image” of which Macbeth speaks? • The temptation to murder the king and thus gain the crown
Act 1 - scene 4 • 14. What further reward does Macbeth hope to receive from Duncan? • He hopes to be named Duncan’s successor • 15. In lines 35 – 39, who is named to succeed Duncan to the throne? • Malcolm, his son
Act 1 - scene 4 • 16. In lines 48 – 53, how does Macbeth react to the announcement? • Macbeth is shocked, but covers it. He still does not abandon his plan to be king. • 17. Where is Duncan to spend the night? • Macbeth’s castle
Act 1 - scene 5 • 18. What does the nature of the letter reveal about Macbeth’s relationship with his wife? • The letter reveals that they are both ambitious, she even more than he. • 19. In lines 13 – 22, how does Lady Macbeth characterize her husband? • She describes him as ambitious, but without the determination and unscrupulousness to support it.
Act 1 - scene 5 • 20. In lines 36 – 40, why does Lady Macbeth call upon the spirits to “unsex” her? • She wants to rid herself of womanly emotions so as to be able to commit the murder of Duncan • 21. In lines 59 – 63, what warning does she give Macbeth? • She warns him to be careful of his expressions; to look innocent and welcoming to hide his real feelings.
Act 1 - scene 6 • 22. What action takes place in Scene 6? • Duncan, with his sons and attendants, arrives at Macbeth’s castle • 23. How does Lady Macbeth greet Duncan? • Graciously, thanking him for the honors he has heaped on their house; however, there seems to be a double meaning to what she says
Act 1 - scene 7 • 24. In his soliloquy in lines 1 – 28, what reasons does Macbeth give for not wanting to kill Duncan? • He fears the consequences; Duncan is his kinsman, he is Duncan’s host, and should protect him. In addition, Duncan has been a mild and virtuous king. • 25. What reason against the murder does he give Lady Macbeth? • He tells her that he is unwilling to risk tainting his newly won honors
Act 1 - scene 7 • 26. In lines 36 – 39, what does Lady Macbeth imply about Macbeth’s love for her? • She implies that if he can change his mind so easily without reason, so maybe his love for her also is changeable • 27. What finally causes Macbeth to commit the murder? • He becomes convinced that he can cast blame on Duncan’s men
Act 1 - scene 7 • 28. What seems to be Macbeth’s weakest character trait? • His weakest trait is moral ambivalence. It prevents him from being a man of action and allows his wife to manipulate him.
Act 1 - scene 7 • 29. An aside is a speech spoken by a character apart from other characters. (It produces a type of dramatic irony). It cannot be heard by the other characters on the stage. What do such speeches reveal? • They reveal the character’s inner thoughts to the audience, but not to the other characters.
Act II - scene 1 • Literary Terms: • Comic Relief– an amusing episode in a serious or tragic work, especially a drama, that is introduced by the writer to relieve the tension of the audience. • Example: The drunken porter at the gate (Act II, Scene III)
Act II - scene 1 • 1. What “cursed thoughts” does Banquo have? • Banquo is haunted with thoughts about the three witches’ predictions, and he harbors suspicions of Macbeth • 2. What lie does Macbeth tell Banquo? • He says he does not think of the witches
Act II - scene 1 • 3. What is the meaning of Banquo’s answer to Macbeth in lines 26 – 28? • Banquo repeats that he is loyal to Duncan • 4. What causes Macbeth to see a dagger? • His guilt and turmoil over the planned murder causes him to see the vision
Act II - scene 1 • 5.At the end of Scene 1, a bell rings. What do you think is the significance of this? • The bell is a signal from Lady Macbeth that the time is right for the murder to be committed.
Act II - scene 2 • 6. What omen of death does Lady Macbeth hear? • The screech of an owl • 7. Why does Lady Macbeth say she didn’t commit the murder herself? • Because the sleeping Duncan looked like her father
Act II - scene 2 • 8. What words about himself does Macbeth believe he hears? (lines 35 – 36 and 42-43) • That Macbeth will sleep no more, that he has “murdered sleep’ • 9. How did Macbeth mismanage the murder? • He brought the daggers away with him
Act II - scene 2 • 10. Both Macbeth and his lady comment upon the effectiveness of water in cleansing away their involvement in the deed. How do they differ? • Macbeth says all the water in the ocean will redden from his hands rather than wash away the blood; Lady Macbeth says, ,”A little water clears us from the deed.”
Act II - scene 3 • 11. Why has Macduff come to Macbeth’s castle? • He comes at the king’s command • 12. What unusual things happened to Macduff and Lennox during the night? • It was a windy night. “Strange screams of death” were in the air. The owl, the omen of death, screeched all night.
Act II - scene 3 • 13. Who discovers the murder? • Macduff • 14. Why does Macbeth kill the king’s men? • So they could not protest or prove their innocence
Act II - scene 3 • 15. Why might Lady Macbeth pretend to faint? • To distract attention from Macbeth • 16. In lines 128 – 139, what actions do Malcolm and Donalbain take? • They flee to separate countries to protect themselves
Act II - scene 4 • 17. In lines 5 – 20, Ross and the Old Man discuss the strange events occurring. How are these strange events similar? • All are unnatural acts and show the disorder in nature (darkness during the day) • 18. How does popular opinion account for the murder? • It is believed that Malcolm and Donalbain hired the king’s men to do it
Act II - scene 4 • 19. Who has been named king? • Macbeth • 20. Why does Macduff not plan to attend Macbeth’s coronation? • He is suspicious of Macbeth’s rapid succession to the throne
Act II - scene 4 • 21. Name three characters who have shown they are suspicious of Macbeth’s rapid ascent to the throne? • Banquo, Macduff, Ross, and possibly Malcolm and Donalbain