I am due to give a talk for Year 11 next term. It is a MAAN lecture and I want to move beyond the basic plot retrieval and character sketch mode…
There is a screencast and I have covered this material before in some of the earlier posts on the blog…
Still, I hope it is useful
My support for students writing a coursework essay about Lady Macbeth for Edexcel IGCSE Literature.
NOTE to students: this blog is in the public domain. If you cut and paste my writing it is plagiarism. Any teacher checking your work on line will be brought to this post. Don’t do it!
Good luck with the writing…
A powerpoint to support initial coursework thoughts for a class considering this question: How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as a “fiend-like Queen”? Consider the context of creation, language, form and structure in your response.
The idea is to support not lead too closely. The modeled intro at the end may be of interest.
A short teaching presentation to help a discussion of the sleepwalking scene…
I like discussing the links back to earlier scenes in her apparently mad ravings…
Act 4.3 is the longest scene in Macbeth and seems to abruptly halt the dramatic flow of the play. We have seen fast-paced murder and await revelation and retribution. It comes, but only after 150 lines of dialogue in which Malcolm seems to equivocate to Macduff, as a test of his loyalty.
A tricky scene. Useful because we see an alliance being formed and can focus on the negatives of Macbeth when seen in contrast to Malcolm, and, most importantly to Edward. His saintliness allows Shakespeare to make a clear alignment of Good VS Evil as we enter Act 5.
Another in my new Year 10 teaching idea. This powerpoint focuses on Banquo in Act 3, links to You Tube clips form 3 versions of the play on film – Welles, Stewart and Polanski – and concludes with a short writing task based on the Great Chain…
BAnquo act 3
Here are two teaching ideas for my new Y10 Macbeth class – both on PPt.
With a small class, I want much of the class teaching to involve round table discussion this term. I have experimented with this and find it useful to keep all on task and to engage with real discussion. We sit in a board room formation and, to start with, I chair the meeting. Once modelled, the role of chair can be taken by any student, though they should be forewarned.
Ideally students will respond orally, in full sentences and with evidence included in the response. I want them to become so familiar with the idea that we justify our assertions by going into the text when they speak, that it becomes second nature when they write. It also has the effect of increasing familiarity with the language of the original, since it can’t be ignored and has to be read and spoken.
This is version 1 of the prepbook I will be using for Year 10. It will be used in conjunction with teaching the play in the “usual” way – reading, discussing, acting and generally ensuring engagement and comprehension. I hope that this booklet will help to focus the students’ ideas prior to writing coursework and help to obtain a range of response based on individual thinking – always a bit tricky with a single prescribed question.
As I consider my eventual IGCSE coursework essay for Year 10 this year, I am working through ideas for myself. Here I am looking at the material I will want students to explore to enable them to access an essay on the effect of breaking the Great Chain…
Introduction: Students will need to show briefly how the Great Chain works and the degree of belief in 16/17C. This should be linked to 1606 context AO4 is examined in the Heritage essay…) by means of mention of Guy Fawkes and the palpable sense of breaking of the Great Chain which would have pervaded in England at the time. Context cannot be bolted on and all comment must be relevant.
After this, students can show evidence of change having taken place around the time of and following the murder of Duncan.
They have around 1500 words for the task and will need to remain clearly focused…
My specific areas would be:
Much can be made of the desire of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to operate at night. Thus adjectives such as “dark” and “black” carry symbolic power – night as a time of evil. Students can look for evidence of darkness being chosen over daylight to illustrate this – 1.7″stars hide your fires./Let not light see my black and deep desires” would be a good start. Evidence can be drawn from both M and LM as well as from 3.1 & 3.4 when Banquo is killed and Macbeth seems to have shortened the day.
Macbeth, subdivided into Gender and The Devil
Macbeth Gender breaks down again:
Comparison tables can be drawn up to consider Macbeth in 1.2 and 1.4 being seen as a Good MAN before he loses his nerve and being seen as a weakling by Lady Macbeth. I would want to see evidence from 1.7,2.2 and act 3 to support the idea that his actions have caused him to lose his manhood. Evidence from Malcolm/Macduff in 4.3 can be used to reinforce what masculine virtue should look like… contextual comment can be used to link into a discussion of LM losing her femininity and taking male attributes. Thus one can show an inversion of the natural order of all beings is established in the first half of the play.
Macbeth Devil can be developed from LM’s “be the serpent under it” quotation in Act 1 in order to establish a Macbeth/satan link reinforced by Macduff’s ‘Hell-hound” in Act 5. I would want students ot use the Porter in 2.3 to briefly establish both the metaphor of the castle as Hell and by extension Macbeth as the Devil ruling Hell and showing context in the discussion of events of 1606 and the trial of equivocators like farmer Garnet. Equivocation is the action of the blaspheming – this play is full of it, form the witches, through all Macbeth’s actions in Acts 2 and 3 and even in Malcolm in 4.3.
I will he drawing up a short booklet to help students gather information and to assist with the early preparation of this task and will publish it here in another post.
A powerpoint to introduce the idea of the Great Chain of Being to Year 10. I like this focus for coursework since it requires understanding of the whole play and a wide range of characters.
There will be more on this subject and my Macbeth tag carries several linked pieces of writing.
Macbeth Chain 1
A screencast can be found on the department YouTube channel