Seniors: Banquo’s ghost

Today we finally finished III.iv – the scene where Banquo’s ghost comes back to haunt Macbeth. Read that if you missed class. We also watched Roman Polanski’s version of the scene, which does a great job of illustrating the setting and the reactions of the crowd that watches Macbeth react to seeing Banquo’s ghost.

For your second response paper, which is due tomorrow, there are a few ideas you can hone in on:

-New Historicism: how did the context of the times (and Shakespeare’s writing environment) impact how the play was written and our response to it?
-Freudian stuff: Is Banquo’s ghost real, or is it just a manifestation of Macbeth’s guilt-wracked mind?
-Manliness: why is Lady Macbeth always talking about gender?
-Supernatural: are there really supernatural forces at work here, or is it just because the characters themselves are supernatural that they keep talking about it?

Seniors: Macbeth III.ii, III.iii and III.iv

We started class reviewing a few of your peers’ writing from last week’s response papers. Here’s what a few people said:

Take a look at your peers’ writing. What ideas do they have that you can jump off from? Do you flat out disagree with an idea? Any new ideas jump out at you? Can you take one of these ideas a step further in thinking or logic? Do any of them help you understand the text or characters better?

“I’m confused on the Oedipus and Electra [complexes], Macbeth kills Duncan and they had a father-son friendship/relationship. So does this mean Lady Macbeth is the “mother” in some way?” – Brianna

“Going along with the topic of psychology, there is a term called ‘locus of control’ and it discusses about how people believe whether peoples’ lives are up to them (internal) or other factors (external). Other factors would be religion, luck, fate, etc…sometimes we feel like a higher power takes the burden off of us and it knows what to do when we don’t. Also, it makes us believe that sometimes things are “meant to be” despite how horrifying or devastating they can really be. Macbeth was told this prophecy, and so that led him to believe that it was righteous in a way to kill his close friend, Duncan.” – Yen

“Macbeth surpasses Lady Macbeth in a sense that he no longer carries the feeling of remorse and guilt which pierces through his conscious every day after Duncan’s death…Like most tragedies, Macbeth, the main character, has a fatal flaw in his character. Macbeth’s hamartia is the fact that he is too sharing in his ambition.” – Sara V.

“The absence of her son causes her to be lonely and seek comfort from her only companion, Macbeth. Because Macbeth is kind and tender-hearted like a child, she feels she has to protect him and take care of him as if it was her duty. This is why her ambition to gain power as royalty is so strong (stronger than Macbeth himself): it’s not for her benefit, but to want what is best for her husband, much like how a mother would want the best for her son.” – Vanna

Then we finished III.i, read III.ii and got through part of III.iv. Make sure you’re caught up for Monday, and think about what you could write for your next response paper, due Tuesday.

Seniors: Freud’s own words on Macbeth

Today we took everything we’ve learned about Freud and our knowledge of Macbeth/Lady Macbeth and put it all together. In small groups we read this article by Sigmund Freud on Macbeth and answered the following question:

Think about what you know of Freud’s psychological theories. How does he use them to analyze Macbeth/Lady Macbeth and what conclusions does he draw?

Students (should have) looked back in their notes about Freud and seen how he applies he theories to the text. After, we wrote on the board observations we made, which a number of people in the class took pictures of. If you need one, ask around.

Remember, your response papers are due Tuesday. I handed out a couple of examples in class. Here’s one of them: Macbeth response paper. I’ll put up more of an explanation of what I’m looking for this weekend. Remember, anything we’ve discussed (or that you’ve written in class) is fair game to be polished up and given to me.

Basically, your response paper should do the following:
-Explore an idea about the primary text further than we have in class
-Use a quote or two from any of the texts we’ve looked at in class
-Type it up, check your spelling and grammar. It should be 1.5 to 2 pages in length (double spaced)
-The tone doesn’t have to be super formal (for example, you can use “I” and “you”) but should still be considered academic writing

Here are some excellent quotes from previous Macbeth response papers that show a range of thoughts, styles and ideas:

Seniors: More Freudian analysis, Macbeth the murderer

We started off class discussing the Karin Thomson article that looked at Lady Macbeth’s thoughts and actions from a Freudian angle. We also talked about the “wandering uterus.” Ask your friends what that’s about. Your notes/writing on the article were handed in for me to check out.

Then we read II.2, the scene after Macbeth kills Duncan (Duncan’s death is never shown on stage) and discussed how Lady Macbeth’s personality is further revealed, while Macbeth’s thoughts are just as conflicted as ever.

Then we watched two versions of Duncan’s death, one from the Polanski movie and one from the Scotland, PA adaptation.

Remember, your response papers are due Tuesday.


Seniors: Freudian analysis of Macbeth

Today was a crash course on literary critical theory – the idea that a text can be analyzed in multiple and specific ways. Today we began looking at Macbeth and the actions of him and his wife through a Freudian (as in Sigmund Freud) lens.

First, we started with some brief notes on Freud and his ideas. Then we read I.6 to II.1 together, which ends with Macbeth resolved to do the dirty deed.

following that, we began reading an article by Karin Thomson which can be found here:

For homework for Thursday, you were asked to finish the essay and pull out any arguments or observations Thomson made by looking at the text from a Freudian/psychoanalytical angle. She comes up with some pretty shocking stuff.

Summer reading was due today. Your first response paper of the year is due Tuesday 9/9.