Seniors – Macbeth Lit Theory project

Hi everyone,

In case anyone doesn’t have the documents for this project, here they are:
-The short story: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and So Forth
-The explainers from Purdue (pick one lens to study): Lit theory explainers from Purdue
The rubric: Lit theory presentation rubric

We’ll start on these presentations on Monday.


Seniors – Lady Macbeth’s nightmares


Tonight, read the short 5.1 where a doctor and nurse visit Lady Macbeth while she sleeps. In the comments below, what is going on in her head? Explain why she’s acting so strangely – think back to Freud and the physical manifestation of internal desires. How do we see the real world – meaning events we’ve seen happen in the play — blend in with what’s going on in her head? As always, cite the text.


Seniors – test prep

Seniors, you’ve got that essay test tomorrow. Remember, you can use your notes, the book and any other source we’ve used in class. You’ll have two essay questions, one on fate and the supernatural in the play and the other on Macbeth’s motivation for power.

Look back at the psychoanalytic/Freudian and New Historicist lenses, and if you haven’t yet, read over the Ropp article here. I can’t stress enough that you should be reading your classmates’ posts on the blog.

Good luck!

Thursday/Friday work

In case anyone was gone Thursday or Friday, here’s what we did:
-Read 3.5 through 4.1
-Close read Macbeth’s idea of fate as compared to Hecate’s: Macbeth & Hecate on fate
-Worked in groups to answer the following four questions:
—What is the purpose of the apparitions/hallucinations? What do they tell Macbeth?
—How are we seeing Macbeth’s character change?
—Does 4.1 do anything to clarify fate and the supernatural’s role in the play?

Remember, we’ve got a socratic seminar on Monday and an in class essay exam on Tuesday, so take good notes especially around fate/supernatural occurrences and Macbeth’s true motivations for the throne.

New Historicist reading of Macbeth


On Tuesday we talked more about these “lenses” or “filters” with which we can study literature. We’ve already used a Freudian/Psychoanalytical lens to study the minds of Macbeth and his wife, and today we talked about New Historicism, which “reopened the interpretation of literature to the social, political, and historical milieu that produced it…New Historicists look at literature alongside other cultural products of a particular historical period to illustrate how concepts, attitudes, and ideologies operated across a broader cultural spectrum.” In other words, as we wrote in our notes, if we read a text with a new historicist lens then we would have to take into account the context of when it was written and the biography of who wrote it.

To look at Macbeth like a New Historicist, we studied the history of the real Macbeth from the 1000s and the political climate when Shakespeare wrote the play for King James in the early 1600s. For those of you who missed class Tuesday, these are the texts we looked at: Macbeth real life carousel.

On Friday we learned about King James’ history as king of Scotland and England — he’s the guy who Shakespeare wrote “Macbeth” for.

For Monday, in the comments below explain how looking at Macbeth as new historicists can help us have a deeper understanding of the play and its characters by contrasting it with the real history of Macbeth and the time period in which Shakespeare wrote the play. Take a look at this article by Wiatt Ropp: New Historicist Criticism Macbeth, which discusses why Shakespeare made some of the choices he did while writing the play and goes deeper into beliefs held by New Historicists. As always, include evidence from the texts and provide an analysis that goes beyond what we’ve discussed in class or from the readings. Think about what the Ropp says about power and King James’ ancestry.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth on Freud’s couch

Hi Seniors,

Nice work on Friday with the Porter’s monologues, though I do feel like I’ve seen things I’ll never unsee.

For tomorrow, don’t forget we have those conversations between Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and their Freudian therapist. Remember, I told you to get weird with it. Here’s the rubric:

Macbeth on the Couch

Look back at your Freud notes and try to incorporate some of that weirdness into your conversation. Also, read the Karin Thomson article Thomson on Macbeth for some example of how we can psychoanalyze some of the weirdness in their relationship. For example, could we make the argument that Lady Macbeth is sort of like Macbeth’s mother?

Like I said, get weird with it.

Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Freud

Today in class we took notes on Sigmund Freud, maybe the most famous psychologist in history and the guy whose statue sits in Clark’s Red Square.

After reading act 1 scene 7 today (1.7), we talked about one of Lady Macbeth’s most analyzed lines:

“I have given suck and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from its boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done this.” (1.7.54)

Put yourself in Freud’s shoes and do some psychoanalyzing of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. How do we see Freudian ideas represented in both of their characters? What are her own motivations for her ambition to make her husband king, and why do you think he follows? Write your “diagnosis” in the comments.