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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Teaching *Macbeth*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0164.  Saturday, 4 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Dan T. M. How <
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        Date:   Friday, 3 Mar 1995 17:04:16 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
(2)     From:   Robert Saenger <
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        Date:   Friday, 3 Mar 1995 23:28:43 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0157 Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
(3)     From:   Gareth M. Euridge <
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        Date:   Saturday, 04 Mar 1995 11:25:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan T. M. How <
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Date:           Friday, 3 Mar 1995 17:04:16 -0800
Subject: 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
In response to Jennie Johnson...
 
Good for you!!  I myself didn't bother with Shakespeare until I was in college
really, but I'll bet if we tackled Macbeth in high school, I would have been
hooked.  It looks like you have all the bases covered, but I'll tell you what I
myself would want to learn as a 14 year old.  Supernatural of couse, and
pyrotechnics if you got 'em.  Emphasis the sleep issue, and how that affects
people.  Neither of them do much sleeping through the play, and this fact is
glossed over a lot.  I'll bet I'd be seeing daggers if I haven't had any sleep
for a while, too.  Also, cover fate vs freedom of choice.  That's a pretty
dominant theme and it comes around full circle at the end.  And of course, for
a moral lesson, emphasis ambition and greed, and how they changed Mr and Mrs
Macbeth, and caused their downfall.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Saenger <
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Date:           Friday, 3 Mar 1995 23:28:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0157 Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0157 Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
Regarding Jennie Johnson's query on teaching Macbeth-
 
You sound like a very consciencious teacher, so the kids are lucky.  I would
try having them (not quite making all of them) learn a speech and perform it.
That is how I learned Macbeth at 14; it was so much fun I didn't realize how
much I was learning.
 
Michael Saenger
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gareth M. Euridge <
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Date:           Saturday, 04 Mar 1995 11:25:01 -0500
Subject: 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0157  Q: Teaching *Macbeth*
 
Re. teaching of _Macbeth_.  Most often, my students have a problem thinking of
Macbeth as anything but an examplum of the judiciousness of the "three strikes
and you're out" policy.  I have found it quite useful, however, to suggest a
slightly different context for the play.  Without too much embarrassment, I
suggest that they should regard this play, in part, from the perspective of a
Klingon ideology in the various _Star Treks_.  I don't press this idea too far,
of course, but students seem to understand quite readily the ethos of a
character such as Worf and transfer that to the play.  Klingons are bloody,
bold, and resolute in the battle because that is precisely what they are
supposed to be.  They are this also when it comes to leadership aspirations.
They are not, however, as Macbeth is not, merely homicidal thugs.  The same
method also works very well for the Roman plays. It's not perfect, and I
attempt to move away from it quite quickly, but it does make problematic many
students' attempts to perceive Shakespearean drama as simple morality plays in
which "what goes around comes around."
 
. . . and then of course, there is always the joke in _Next Generation_ in
which Shakespeare is said to be much better in the original Klingon . . .
 
Gareth M. Euridge

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