Understanding Macbeth: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997 - Drama - 235 pages


This rich interdisciplinary collection of primary materials and commentary about Shakespeare's Macbeth will help student and teacher explore historical, literary, theatrical, social, and political issues related to the play. Bringing together past and present in its approach to Macbeth, the guide explores topics ranging from Shakespeare's stage to modern political events--from historical focus on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and its influence on the play, to theatrical interest in the stage and performance, to thematic connections between Macbeth and modern events such as Watergate and the Oklahoma City bombing. Excerpted documents range from royal proclamations to court confessions, from an actor's journal to dramatic criticism, from a short story to movie reviews. Ideas for classroom discussion, student assignments, paper topics, and bibliographies provide additional sources for examining the play in context.

This guide encourages readers to see connections between the play and related events and ideas. Dramatic Context considers subjects such as the nature of tragedy, the historical source of the play (with timeline of Scottish history), and the language and thematic patterns within it. Historical Context includes a wide variety of seventeenth-century primary documents that bring the turbulent political context to life.Macbeth's journey to the present reveals how changing attitudes and expectations about acting styles, political viewpoints, and social values have influenced the play's performance and interpretation over the centuries. Contemporary Applications provides materials on political parallels such as Duvalier's Haiti, as well as the social and psychological impact of contemporary events on which the play casts a shadow. This resource book is an ideal companion for teacher use and student research. It will encourage a broad spectrum of approaches to the play and help the student discover and appreciate a wide variety of conflicting ideas and interpretations that can inform and enrich the student's experience of the play.

 

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Contents

Dramatic Analysis
1
From Aristotles Poetics
2
History Rewritten
6
From Raphael Holinsheds Chronicles of England Scotland and Ireland 1587
7
The Text
12
Poetic and Dramatic Patterns
14
Historical Context
23
From Dr Gwinn Tres Sibyllae 1605
30
The Twentieth Century
140
Macbeth the Moor
142
Polanskis and Tynans Macbeth
146
Currents of Criticism
153
From A C Bradley Shakespearean Tragedy 1904
154
From Caroline Spurgeon Shakespeares Imagery and What It Tells Us 1935
156
From G Wilson Knight The Wheel of Fire 1930
157
Contemporary Applications
165

From William Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida 1385110
33
From Edmund Plowden Commentaries or Reports 1571
36
From Nicolo Machiavelli The Prince 1513
40
From John Ponet A Short Treatise of Politic Power 1556
43
From King James The True Law of Free Monarchies 1598
46
From King James Basilicon Doron 1599
49
The Gunpowder Plot
54
Anonymous Letter to Lord Mounteagle October 26 1605
68
From King Jamess A Speech in the Parliament House November 9 1605
71
From A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceeding against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors Garnet a Jesuit and His Confederates 1606
74
From Mr John Chamberlains Letter to Mr Ralph Winwood on April 5 1606
75
From John Nichols The Progresses Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First 1828
78
Witchcraft in England and Scotland
83
From Raphael Holinshed Chronicles of England Scotland and Ireland 1587
95
From Reginald Scot The Discovery of Witchcraft 1584
97
From News from Scotland 1591
101
From King James the First Demonology 1597
106
From Thomas Middleton The Witch c 16131616
109
From The Witch of Edmonton 1621
110
Performance and Interpretation
115
The Jacobean Stage
116
From Simon Forman The Book of Plays and Notes Thereof per Formans for Common Policy 1611
122
From the Restoration to the Nineteenth Century
125
From Thomas Campbell Life of Mrs Siddons 1839
132
From Francis Gentleman The Dramatic Censor 1770
135
Monday November 7 1894
136
A Quest for Power
167
FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats
171
America Needs a FullTime President
174
A Consuming Passion for Power
176
High Drama and Flawed Character in a Theater Too Accustomed to Tragedy
178
An Athletes Dream
184
Canada Begins Probe of Drug Use in Sports
187
Johnson Says He Lied about Steroid Use after Olympics
188
Harding Knew of Plot
189
Plea Aside Harding Already Cashes In
190
A Terrorist Regime
194
Duvaliers Flight Ends Family Rule but Not Haitian Turbulence
197
Army Tries Usual Ways against Unusual Leader
201
Haitian Armed Forces Repressing Aid Groups
203
The Social and Psychological Impact
207
The Aftermath of Fear
208
Oklahoma Shock Sent Fear throughout US
210
Bottom Line
211
Terrorist Challenge Is Bigger Than Bombs
213
Timing Couldnt Be Worse for Latest Die Hard Sequel
215
Stories of Guilt
218
From Sophocles Oedipus King of Thebes
220
From Matthew 26 27 The Betrayal of Judas
222
From Edgar Allan Poe The TellTale Heart
224
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

FAITH NOSTBAKKEN teaches literature at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her research focuses on Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, and she has a particular interest in connections between the theater and its political and social context. She has published and presented papers on English history plays and critical theory.

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