Free Essay

How Does Shakespeare Present the Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Patch3
Words 1481
Pages 6
From the beginning of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is viewed as very controlling, strong, and certain; saying that Macbeth ‘Shalt be what thou art promised’. This illustrates Lady Macbeth’s position in the relationship, she is ordering Macbeth to become what the witches have foreseen. We see just how powerful Lady Macbeth is, if she can command her husband to murder the king of Scotland. Her power is also shown in the way she taunts Macbeth, saying he is ‘too full of the milk of human kindness’. This shows how cold Lady Macbeth is, as milk is the food of new born children, she is implying Macbeth is too much like a kind child to murder anyone, which is another method used to spur Macbeth on into killing Duncan. Her coldness and control is again shown when she begins to plot Duncan’s murder with Macbeth, she says he should ‘look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it’, more advice for the killing of his king, and ‘leave the rest to me’ shows her cool control over the matter. Lady Macbeth also shows a more helpful side, offering help. ‘I may pour my spirits in thine ear’, which although apparently providing a contrast to her cold hearted plotting earlier, is in fact another way in which she is convincing Macbeth to kill Duncan. Her words propose sweetness, but are in fact rooted in evil, and this perhaps shows an ‘innocent flower’ side to Lady Macbeth.

Macbeth, however, is on the other end of the scale in their relationship, and this is seen once he plucks up the courage to tell her he does not want to continue with the murder. But she still rallies, calling him a ‘coward’, saying that if he could murder Duncan ‘he were a man’. This to Macbeth, a proud and mighty warrior is a deep insult, and he soon is convinced that he will carry out the murder. Lady Macbeth’s cold hearted side again shows, saying she would ‘dash’ out the brains of her own child because she is so sure Macbeth should kill Duncan. We also see how Lady Macbeth’s influence has rubbed off on Macbeth, as he says ‘False face must hide what the false heart doth know’, which is very similar to Lady Macbeth’s words of the ‘innocent flower’ earlier. All in all, in act 1 we see how Lady Macbeth has a power over Macbeth, she is cunning and calculated, and despite the fact that Macbeth is the seasoned warrior, she is the one who laughs at murder and Macbeth who declines, however we see her exert her power over Macbeth to make him want to murder Duncan, showing how the power in the relationship is all in Lady Macbeth in the first act.

In act two, after murdering Duncan, Macbeth says ‘This is a sorry sight’, but Lady Macbeth again shows her power over Macbeth. ‘A foolish thing to say a sorry sight’. This shows how she is still cold hearted, as she thinks it is ‘foolish’ for a man to show remorse at a murder he committed. She orders him to not think ‘so deeply’, saying that thinking about the deed ‘will make us mad’ and ‘unbend your noble strength’. Here we see a slightly weaker side to Lady Macbeth, she is herself feeling vulnerable to guilt, almost immediately after the murder. This is shown in ‘will make us mad’. The ‘us’ shows that she is no longer only concerned for Macbeth, but is worried about her own mental state too, fretting that she may go mad with guilt. But soon after, Lady Macbeth regains her control, and begins to once more organize affairs, ‘go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand’. This implies that Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to get order with himself, as she asks him to dispose of ‘this filthy witness’, suggesting that Macbeth rid himself of the part of him that was uncertain. Again this is another massive request from Lady Macbeth, but Macbeth seems to obey anyway, showing her power over him. Macbeth however is ‘appalled by every noise’ and ‘Wake Duncan with thy knocking’. The fact that he is ‘appalled by every noise’ suggests Macbeth is a nervous wreck, and the fact that he wishes Duncan was alive suggests he is racked by guilt, showing how Lady Macbeth is very much still in control of the relationship.

In act three we see Lady Macbeth’s weaknesses coming through, by her, surprisingly. We see that she is troubled by guilt ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy’, saying that they never should have murdered Duncan. Macbeth too is racked with guilt, ‘Better be with the dead than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy’, saying he would rather be dead with Duncan that alive with his guilt. But despite the fact that both are feeling guilty, Lady Macbeth tries to remain strong in front of Macbeth ‘what’s done is done’. This shows Lady Macbeth again telling Macbeth that the murder has happened and that he should get over it, as nothing can be done to change it. There is however a hint of remorse in Lady Macbeth’s voice, showing how she is losing her power over Macbeth, mainly because she is finding it hard to get over her guilt. But we see when Macbeth cries out ‘O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife’ shows how despite Lady Macbeth’s best efforts to make Macbeth forget his evil deeds, he cannot let go, and so Lady Macbeth’s power over him continues to decrease, as she is losing the ability to control him. This appears to be a turning point, and Macbeth now begins to take the matter of murder into his own hands, as he says he is going to perform a ‘deed of dreadful note’. He seems to be in the driving seat, telling her she should be ‘innocent’, which echoes Lady Macbeth’s ‘innocent’ flower quote earlier, showing how their roles have swapped and the relationship has flipped.

We see now that Macbeth has the power over Lady Macbeth, ‘tomorrow… I will to the weird sisters’, implying that Macbeth has started to make decisions for himself, instead of Lady Macbeth organizing everything for him. He has decided that he will continue killing and when he says ‘we are but young in the deed’ it shows just how serious Macbeth is, and how far he is willing to go. But Lady Macbeth has no say in this; she is left to be the hostess, showing how the power and control have shifted.

In act five, we see Lady Macbeth as a guilty wreck; she is sleepwalking and talking gibberish. She says ‘What, will these hands never be clean?’ These words echo her word earlier in the play, when she talks of washing ‘their hands of this deed’; she has now realized that the guilt that has overcome her will never leave. The killings have had a profound effect on her, as earlier in the play, she was a cool, calm, controlling wife who could make her proud warrior husband kill at the click of her fingers, whereas now she is overcome with guilt.

In act five scene five we see again the change in Macbeth’s character, he has gone from the man who was ‘appalled be every noise’, to a man who has ‘almost forgot the taste of fears’ as has ‘supped full with horrors’. This implies that Macbeth no longer fears anything, for he has seen too much violence and fear to be affected anymore. This is a vast contrast to the nervous wreck which killed Duncan, and shows how much he has changed. After news of Lady Macbeth’s death is brought to him, Macbeth reflects on the uselessness of his actions ‘Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by and idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing’. This shows he has looked back on his life and seen that he has achieved nothing. However in this speech, he recognizes that his actions were pointless, as no matter how hard one ‘struts and frets’ in life, it is ‘but a walking shadow’ and ‘signifying nothing’, and Macbeth has thrown away ‘his hour’, as his life or his play was ‘full of sound and fury’.

Perhaps it is Lady Macbeth’s cold-hearted ways that have taught Macbeth not to care. By the end of the play, we see how their relationship has deteriorated to such a state that Macbeth no longer cares if she is alive or not, whereas before he had trouble with Duncan’s death, someone far less close to him than his own wife.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Lady Macbeth

...Lady Macbeth found via Google - not my own work In typical Shakespearean tragedies, female main characters aren't always treated brilliantly. In Hamlet, Ophelia goes down the "I shall obey, my lord" route. In Othello, Desdemona goes down the "To you I am bound" route. Yet in Macbeth, this isn't quite the case. The most important female figure is Lady Macbeth, a cunning and manipulative woman who is associated with the supernatural. Instantly it can be argued that Lady Macbeth fits in with the later idea of certain Gothic women being 'sinister predators', or 'femme fatales'. | Dame Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth | Lady Macbeth has been the subject of much debate for hundreds of years. Her role in the play is incredibly important and she is the subject of various interpretations. Her first appearance in the play is in act one, scene five. She opens by reading Macbeth's letter; instantly this seems to present her as a typical Shakespearean woman (when I say typical, I mean typical in terms of main female characters in tragedies being passive), since her first words are that of her husband's, as though she is bound to him. Then she stops reading the letter, and we start to realise that she isn't at all typical. She instantly states that Macbeth will be "what thou art promised", which shows a determination and strength of will that we may not have been expecting. She goes on to criticise her husband's nature, since he is "too full o'th'milk of human kindness". A wife...

Words: 2312 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Macbeth

...A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO THE SIGNET CLASSIC EDITION OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S MACBETH LINDA NEAL UNDERWOOD S E R I E S E D I T O R S : W. GEIGER ELLIS, ED.D., ARTHEA J. S. REED, PH.D., UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, EMERITUS and UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, RETIRED A Teacher’s Guide to the Signet Classic Edition of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth 2 INTRODUCTION William Shakespeare developed many stories into excellent dramatizations for the Elizabethan stage. Shakespeare knew how to entertain and involve an audience with fast-paced plots, creative imagery, and multi-faceted characters. Macbeth is an action-packed, psychological thriller that has not lost its impact in nearly four hundred years. The politically ambitious character of Macbeth is as timely today as he was to Shakespeare's audience. Mary McCarthy says in her essay about Macbeth, "It is a troubling thought that Macbeth, of all Shakespeare's characters, should seem the most 'modern,' the only one you could transpose into contemporary battle dress or a sport shirt and slacks." (Signet Classic Macbeth) Audiences today quickly become interested in the plot of a blindly ambitious general with a strong-willed wife who must try to cope with the guilt engendered by their murder of an innocent king in order to further their power. The elements of superstition, ghosts, and witchcraft, though more readily a part of everyday life for the Renaissance audience, remain intriguing to modern teenagers. The......

Words: 8499 - Pages: 34

Premium Essay

Love

...Courtney White Victim or Manipulator? How do Shakespeare in ‘Macbeth’ and Steinbeck in ‘Of Mice of Men’ present female characters? Both Shakespeare and Steinbeck have presented their characters in ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ as women who possess the features of a manipulator and a victim. Both elements are a question of power; manipulation being able to overpower someone else, whereas a victim is a subject to someone else’s power. Lady Macbeth and Curley’s wife both manipulate men using their femininity: Curley’s wife shows this as she manipulates the men on the ranch using her appearance and Lady Macbeth uses her sexuality to persuade her husband to kill the king and by welcoming Duncan into her home, even though she was plotting to kill him. Alternatively, there are differences between the two women, as Curley’s wife is lonely and isolated on the ranch, her husband disrespects her and is disliked by all the men on the ranch and as a result, manipulates the men innocently to get some attention. Lady Macbeth desires power and fame, and acts manipulatively and selfishly to get what she wants. Lady Macbeth is upperclass, giving her more freedom to do what she wanted. She had status, wealth, glamour and equal partnership with her husband. This was very unusual for the time- Shakespeare has presented her as a very modern anti-heroine. The writers have also presented the women as victims of their gender. During the time each text was written women had restrictions placed on...

Words: 2728 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

A Comparison of Macbeth with Other Texts

...Shakespeare won’t have included this scene just as a way to present the disturbed characters; he will have included it to impress the people watching the play. Religious believers in that time believed in the idea of the religious order, which was the belief that God has created an ordered system for both nature and human kind, every creature/person has a place and the order should not be disrupted. Including the porter scene in the play would of reinforced this belief, as the King was seen to be at the top of this ordered system, meaning once he was murdered this order had been disrupted. This scene showed some the effects of the link between man and God being severed through Pathetic Fallacy. Another way in which Shakespeare would have tried to impress his audience, mainly the monarch at the time (King James 1st) was through the character Banquo. King James believed himself to be a descendent of Banquo, therefore he was written to be a noble, wise and regal man whose good qualities tended to make some of the other characters, particularly Macbeth, envy him. King James 1 considered himself to be an expert on witchcraft, he wrote a book which stated that witches made a pact with the devil, so including the evil ways of the witches and showing them to be dark creatures that turn good loyal men into murderers would have pleased the King as that is how he viewed them himself. If you continue to look into Macbeth’s character, he starts to spiral out of control very quickly. He......

Words: 1871 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Self-Gratification over Human Kindness

...Shakespeare’s Characters: Self-Gratification Over Human Kindness William Shakespeare wrote in his tragedy, Julius Caesar, “The evil, that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” It is shown that Shakespeare’s lead characters are concerned with their need for self-satisfaction, gratitude, and dignity. They lack the solicitude for human kindness and the thought of others. The more the audience analyzes the characters, the more they see the true ambition and reasoning for their evil deeds. During Shakespeare’s time, it wasn’t unusual for men to seek such power. For instance, Taming of the Shrew is a play that focuses on the desire for marriage; but the emotions of young couples were not the main consideration in courtship (McDonald 267). Katherina actions portray her as the shrew, but the audience knows her ultimate desire was to receive genuine love from a man. Richard III makes it abundantly clear that he desires to take over the English thrown and do whatever it takes to grasp it. Additionally, Hamlet seeks revenge and is motivated to do so by his supernatural spirit of his father (Sobran 45). The need for wealth, power, ambition, and greed lead many of Shakespeare’s characters to satisfy their own self gratitude over the basic ideas of human kindness. London, during the sixteenth century, was a time of extreme corruption. Gender roles were unequal, marriage was spurious, and seeking wealth or power of some sort became every man’s objective.......

Words: 3494 - Pages: 14

Free Essay

The Prison of Marriage

...The Prison of Marriage Each morning that we wake up, life presents us with many choices. Some people are conscious of these choices, others are not. Whether one is a college student in search of a major or the man in line at a deli, the opportunity for decision seems solely one’s own. However, the surrounding factors of that person’s life will inevitably affect the decision at hand. Often, without knowing it, we are placed in a role that life, in general, expects us to fulfill. Once we find ourselves in a role, it is difficult to displace ourselves from it, and as a result, we rely on this role to aid us in our decisions. Professor of psychology Philip K. Zimbardo finds that people are obedient in accepting roles assigned by others. Zimbardo’s “Stanford Prison Experiment” discusses male college students placed in a prison experiment and assigned the role of either “prisoner” of “guard.” Zimbardo claims to have “sought to understand more about the process by which people called ‘prisoners’ lose their liberty, civil rights, independence and privacy, while those called ‘guards’ gain social power by accepting the responsibility for controlling and managing the lives of their dependent charges” (365). Zimbardo concludes that the roles of guard and prisoner can be seen in many realms of life. Zimbardo suggests that sexism, racism, and shyness are, for many people, prisons of the mind. Furthermore, Zimbardo feels that marriage can be described as a prison: The physical......

Words: 1741 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

“the Serpent Under’t”: the Manipulation of Gender Performance and the Gendered Body by Shakespeare’s Volumnia and Lady Macbeth

...Body by Shakespeare’s Volumnia and Lady Macbeth In both Coriolanus and Macbeth, powerful women exploit their power over important male figures through their manipulation of gender roles and performance. In “Identity-Formation and the Breastfeeding Mother in Renaissance Generative Discourses and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus,” Victoria Sparey compares the symbolic relevance of breast milk and blood in Shakespearean literature to explain the immense power Volumnia holds over her son Coriolanus. Ralph Berry argues the sexual motivation behind Volumnia’s control in his article “Sexual Imagery in Coriolanus.” Berry states that “from Volumnia, we derive a strong impression of the interlinked impulses of sex and power” (316). Lady Macbeth’s character and influence over her husband is explored thoroughly in William T. Liston’s "Male and Female Created He Them": Sex and Gender in "Macbeth." Liston outlines the ways Lady Macbeth manipulates both her husband’s masculinity and her own femininity to achieve her personal ambitions. Although Sparey and Berry examine the motives and character of Volumnia and Liston recounts the ambitious incentives of Lady Macbeth, this paper will focus on the performance of gender and how it is used to manipulate the masculine body, the feminine body, and to overcome the societal boundaries set out for individuals at the time of Shakespeare’s writing. Using Judith Butlers concept of gender performativity, Volumnia and Lady Macbeth break their roles as the......

Words: 2146 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Drama

...Who was William Shakespeare? Shakespeare is William Shakespeare, one of the English-speaking world's greatest playwrights and poets, who possessed a great knowledge of human nature and transformed the English theatre. Yet many facts of his life remain a mystery. Some have been acquired from painstaking looks at the records of the time, so that this summary is based on generally agreed facts. It has been said that we only know three things about Shakespeare: that he was born, married and died. He was baptised on April 26, 1564; we do not know his birth date, but many scholars believe it was April 23, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare (who was a glover and leather merchant) and his mother Mary Arden (who was a landed local heiress). John had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, alderman, and high bailiff of Stratford, during William's early childhood. His fortunes declined, however, in the late 1570s. William lived for most of his early life in Stratford-upon-Avon. We do not know exactly when he went to London but he is said to have arrived in 1592. There is great conjecture about Shakespeare's childhood years, especially regarding his education. It is surmised by scholars that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford, which at the time had a reputation to rival that of Eton. While there are no records extant to prove this claim, Shakespeare's knowledge of Latin and Classical Greek would tend to support this theory. In addition,......

Words: 6999 - Pages: 28

Free Essay

Literature

...very funny? Support your ideas with details from the passage. Or 2 How do you feel Ayckbourn manages to make the marriage of Harriet and Desmond both very amusing and rather sad? Support your ideas with details from the writing. Or 3 You are Poppy. You have seen the contents of Anita’s wardrobe and bedroom and been offered some of her spare dresses. Now you are on your way home. Write your thoughts. LORRAINE HANSBERRY: A Raisin in the Sun Either *4 Re-read in Act 1 Scene 2 (Methuen pp. 41– 43) from ‘They go out, Ruth’s weight on her mother-in-law. Beneatha, herself profoundly disturbed, opens the door to admit a rather dramatic-looking young man with a large package’ to ‘Beneatha: I am not an assimilationist!’ In what ways does the presentation of Beneatha here affect your opinion of her? Support your answer by close reference to the passage. Or 5 How does Hansberry vividly convey to you the importance of Mama’s insurance money to the family? Support your answer by close reference to at least two characters. Or 6 You are Mama just after the first visit from Mr Lindner. Write your thoughts. © UCLES 2008 0486/01/O/N/08 3 ARTHUR MILLER: The Crucible Either *7 Re-read in Act 3 from ‘Abigail (in an open threat ): Let you beware, Mr Danforth …’ (p. 87 Heinemann) to ‘Danforth … : Mr Cheever, report this testimony in all exactness. Are you ready?’ (p. 90) How does Miller make this such a powerfully dramatic moment in the play? Support......

Words: 2132 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Romeo N Jules

...and Juliet’ written by William Shakespeare, ‘Sonnet 116’ by William Shakespeare again, ‘Sonnet 43’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘Sonnet 130’ by Shakespeare and also ‘Sonnet 18’ again by Shakespeare. They were all written in the time that was considered the Elizabethan Era. A religious theme is set in both Romeo and Juliet and sonnet 43 to convey the attitudes to love. In Romeo and Juliet the theme of religion is used to express their love between each other and suggesting it is similar to religion can impose that it is a life-long commitment and will always be there even if they lose faith. At that time their attitude towards religion was very strong and it was their integral, which links to the love between Romeo and Juliet that now they have found it fully they will be part of each other’s’ lives for eternity. In Act 2, scene 2 Romeo states that Juliet’s eyes were “Two of the fairest stars in all of heaven” this is conveying that Juliet is angelic. Angels are referred to as innocent, Godly, pure and a good person; so although Romeo does not know a lot about her or even spoken to Juliet he is still portraying her as someone who is greatly looked up to and has, in the eyes of a religious person, the huge authority as they are seated with God. Romeo describes Juliet as a “messenger of heaven” and in religious terms suggests that she is angelic, sacred and a saviour for Romeo. It is also symbolising that they are on a quest, and this relationship has not be chosen by them......

Words: 743 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Romeo and Juliet

...took their lives in an attempt to bury their parents strife'. The Montague's and the Capulet 'both alike in dignity,' were engaged in an ancient feud, which sadly nothing but the death of their children could stop. Romeo and Juliet two adaptations. Franco Zeffirelli [1968] Original version Baz Luhrmann [1996] Hollywood version Luhrmann chose Leonardo Di Caprio to play Romeo and Claire Danes as Juliet. * The updated Luhrmann picture best captures the essence of Shakespeare for the present-day viewer.  Through the ingenious use of modernisation and location, while preserving Shakespearean language, the spirit of Shakespeare emerges to captivate a large audience. * Luhrmann modernises "Romeo and Juliet," through constant alterations of the props, which entice the audience into genuinely feeling the spirit of Shakespeare.  * First, the movie starts with a prologue masked as news broadcast on television.  This sets the scene of the play by illustrating the violence occurring between the two wealthy families, the Montagues and the Capulets. * In Luhrmann's film, the actors, instead of carrying swords with them, hide guns in their shirts and wield them expertly. * The death of Romeo and Juliet is (as always) blamed on the post office, for not delivering the letter properly.  And, to be politically correct, Mercutio appears at the Capulets' ball dressed as a large woman.  * In Luhrmann's version of the play, the Capulets and Montagues first......

Words: 2552 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Harold Bloom

...metaphysical poets John milton Jonathan Swift mark Twain mary Shelley Nathaniel hawthorne Oscar Wilde percy Shelley ralph Waldo emerson robert Browning Samuel Taylor Coleridge Stephen Crane Walt Whitman William Blake William Shakespeare William Wordsworth Bloom’s Classic Critical Views W i l l ia m Sha k e Sp e a r e Edited and with an Introduction by Sterling professor of the humanities Yale University harold Bloom Bloom’s Classic Critical Views: William Shakespeare Copyright © 2010 Infobase Publishing Introduction © 2010 by Harold Bloom All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. For more information contact: Bloom’s Literary Criticism An imprint of Infobase Publishing 132 West 31st Street New York NY 10001 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data William Shakespeare / edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom : Neil Heims, volume editor. p. cm. — (Bloom’s classic critical views) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-60413-723-1 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-4381-3425-3 (e-book) 1. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616—Criticism and interpretation. I. Bloom, Harold. II. Heims, Neil. PR2976.W5352 2010 822.3'3—dc22 2010010067 Bloom’s Literary Criticism books are available at special discounts when purchased in......

Words: 239932 - Pages: 960

Premium Essay

Santa Ana Winds

...Course Overview Students in this introductory college-level course read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through close reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and texts in order to establish greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities. C16 Students examine rhetoric in essays, images, movies, novels, and speeches. They frequently confer about their writing by conferencing in class. C 14 Feedback is given both before and after students revise their work to help them develop logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence. Rhetorical structures, graphic organizers, and work on repetition, transitions, and emphasis are addressed. I comment on individual drafts, and I write memos to the class in a blog about whole-class concerns such as specificity of quotations, parallelism, and transitions. C13 Simultaneously, students review the simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentence classifications. We examine word order, length, and surprising constructions. Loose and periodic sentences are introduced. We examine sample sentences and discuss how change affects tone, purpose, and credibility of the author/speaker. In addition, feedback on producing sentence structure variety is focused on critical thinking skills, evaluating sources......

Words: 2702 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Romeo and Juliet

...relate to its plot, characters, and themes. The play’s action is easily understood, the character’s motives are clear, and many of the themes are as current today as they were in Shakespeare’s time. Therefore, it can be read on a variety of levels, allowing all students to enjoy it. Less able readers can experience the swash-buckling action and investigate the themes of parent-child conflict, sexuality, friendship, and suicide. Because of the play’s accessibility to teenagers, able readers can view the play from a more literary perspective, examining the themes of hostility ad its effect on the innocent, the use of deception and its consequences, and the effects of faulty decision making. They can study how the characters function within the drama and how Shakespeare uses language to develop plot, characters, and themes. The most able students can develop skills involved in literary criticism by delving into the play’s comic and tragic elements and its classically tragic themes: the role of fate and fortune, the inevitable nature of tragedy, and the isolation of the tragic hero. This teacher’s guide will be divided into several parts: (1) a brief literary overview, including a synopsis and commentary on the play; (2) suggestions for teaching the play, including activities, discussion questions, and essay topics to be used before, during, and after reading of the play; (3) ideas to extend the students’ learning beyond the play, including ways to address its......

Words: 7462 - Pages: 30

Free Essay

The Outline of English Literature

...migrated from place to place in northern Europe. The manuscript of Beowulf dates from the tenth century, but the poem itself is probably three hundred years older. It has references to historical persons and events in the early sixth century, when a King of the Danes raided the lower Rhine and was defeated by the Franks. The story of Beowulf consists of incidents brought together by the unknown author from many sources. These sources, perhaps, were songs. Minstrels (scops) who made these songs were highly honoured. The poem Beowulf is very far from being a primitive poem; it has many of the characteristics of a literary art and the life which it records is one of dignity and beauty. The first of the three “adventures” of the poem tells how the hero heard of a monster named Grendel that was ravaging the court of the Danish King Hrothgar. With a band of followers Beowulf sails to the Danish coast and makes his way to Heorot, the lofty hall of the King. The poet describes the beauty of this hall and the happiness of the noble King save for the terror caused by the monster. Beowulf is welcomed by the King, who invites him to the banquet. The meal is conducted in a very ceremonious fashion; minstrels sing of heroic deeds; the queen passes among the warriors. Unferth, the retainer, forces upon Beowulf a sort of wit combat. He mentions a swimming match in which Beowulf had been defeated. The prince replied that he had overcome many uncanny creatures of the sea and had won the race...

Words: 82733 - Pages: 331