Here are the topics and assignments we tackled in our Google+ Community this week:
1. Read this explanation of the alleged curse on the play, Macbeth. Reply to this post with the following: Which evidence of the supposed curse do you find most ridiculous? And which explanation of the curse do you find most logical?
2. Watch this documentary, in which Ethan Hawke researches Macbeth, and answer the following questions:
1. Finish the line: Shakespeare hasn’t written a play about a monster; he’s written a play about a __.
2. Finish the line, from Orson Welles: “It’s a great feeling to be dealing with material that is better than yourself, that you know you can never ______.”
3. What does the narrator say is the one characteristic that undoes Macbeth? ____
4. True or False? In Shakespeare’s day, as now, the witches in Macbeth were just an exotic element of dark fantasy that audiences would not have considered realistic.
5. What does the historian say is the “great anxiety” of 17th century England?
6. What do you think of this question: “Does the supernatural element in the play CAUSE the action, or do the witches only forecast what is already there and destined to happen?”
7. What’s on top of Dunsinane hill these days?
8. In the real Macbeth story from Scottish history, how did Duncan die?
9. What blameable woman in the Bible is Lady Macbeth compared to?
10. Finish the line: “There’s always a certain magic that happens when you start to read the lines out loud, that you can’t anticipate. It’s like a ______.”
11. One of the actors interviewed two murderers as research for playing Macbeth. He asked them, “Do you ever dream of your victims?” What did they both answer?
12. Ethan Hawke gets to look at the First Folio. Describe the actual book itself.
13. What words from Shakespeare did Mayor Bloomberg recite at the memorial honoring the dead on 9/11?
Yep, 13 questions. THIS IS MACBETH.
3. Read this conversation between Macbeth and Macduff over the phrase “from my mother’s womb untimely ripped." What do you think is the function of the second set of prophecies in the play? Is the ambiguous wording of the prophecy just Shakespeare being overly tricksy? Did you feel it was a "twist" ending when the wood moved and the man "not of woman born" turned out to be Macduff?
4. Check out this musical version of the witches’ chants in Macbeth Act IV, from the Harry Potter movies.
5. Shakespeare most likely wrote Macbeth in the same year that an assassination attempt was made on the King of England. Is that some kind of crazy coincidence? Or is it? Find out about The Gunpowder Plot in this movie.
Duncan’s murder was motivated by ambition. 1. What motivated the plotters against King James? 2. What was Guy Fawkes’ role in the plot? 3. What is an undercroft and why is that important? 4. What was their recipe for gunpowder?
6. Please watch a full performance of Macbeth before class on Tuesday. YouTube has several, and if you have Amazon Prime, there are 3 different versions available for free there. Respond here telling me the version you watched.