Macbeth Cyr’s Summary
The Play Macbeth Interesting Factoids • Believed to be Shakespeare's darkest play • Shakespeare’s shortest play • Underground rocker and former The Velvet Underground member John Cale wrote a darkly lyrical song entitled “Macbeth.” • Based on real people and SOME real events • In 2008, magician Teller (of Penn & Teller) co-directed Macbeth at Folger Theatre with Aaron Posner. The directors incorporated the play’s magic and illusions into a “supernatural horror thriller” production. • Many television episodes, movies, and songs are based on Macbeth.
Background • Perhaps written for King James I • King James I was a writer himself • King James I was from Scotland • King James I was reportedly a fan of theater, but not loooong plays (Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest play) • King James I was supposedly a direct descendant of Banquo (“your sons will become kings”) • King James I was intrigued with witches and witchcraft
Real People • Macbeth • Duncan • Malcolm • Donald Ban (Donalbain) • Banquo • Macdonalwald • Banquo • Siward • Young Siward (did die at the hands of Macbeth) • Lady Macbeth (Gruach) • Macduff
Tragedy • A literary work depicting serious events in which the main character, who is usually high-ranking and dignified, comes to an unhappy end. • Human actions have inevitable consequences • An ill judged action will lead to a catastrophe
Shakespearean Tragedy • The fatal flaw. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes are all fundamentally flawed. It is this weakness that ultimately leads to their downfall. • The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The Shakespeare tragedies often focus on the fall of a nobleman. By presenting the audience with a man with excessive wealth or power, his eventual downfall fall is all the more tragic. • External pressures. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes often fall victim to external pressures. Fate, evil spirits and manipulative characters all play a hand in the hero’s downfall.
Themes • The Consequences of Actions • The Corruption of Power and Ambition • The Connection between Cruelty and Masculinity • The Difference between Kingship and Tyranny • Fate vs. Free Will • Distorted/Different views of Reality • The Supernatural and its Power • Guilt and Remorse • Natural vs. Unnatural • Gender Roles
Famous Lines • Fair is foul, and foul is fair… • Witches—1.1.12 • So foul and fair a day I have not seen. • Macbeth—1.3.39 • Come you spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here... • Lady Macbeth—1.5.47–48 • Yet I do fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness… • Lady Macbeth—1.5.47–48 • The be-all and the end-all here. • Macbeth—1.7.5 • Is this a dagger which I see before me,/The handle toward my hand? • Macbeth—2.1.44–45 • It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood. • Macbeth—3.4.151 • Double, double toil and trouble;/Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. • Witches—4.1.10–11 • At one fell swoop? • Macduff—4.3.258 • Out, damned spot, out, I say! • Lady Macbeth—5.1.37 • What’s done cannot be undone. • Lady Macbeth - 5.1.7 • Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… • Macbeth—5.5.22
Soliloquy • a speech in which a character reveals his thoughts to the audience but not to other characters in the play • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVs7XrTv1YM • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x0T_1tLpi4