We’re going to be looking at act 1 scene 7 and act 2 scenes 1 and 2 this week. Here are the slides for the lessons.
We’re going to kick off with looking at Macbeth’s speech at the beginning of act 1 scene 7. Here, he contemplates killing Duncan and once again we see his doubts about the deed. Clearly, what Lady Macbeth said about him is true – he’s finding as many reasons not to kill Duncan as possible. This is an example of Macbeth’s PROLEPSIS – he is anticipating the future (as he has done throughout the play). This rhetorical device adds great depth to his character and affects our response to him as a character. We shouldn’t like him, we shouldn’t empathise with him but Shakespeare is creating a fully developed character. Harold Bloom (and I’ll be mentioning him a lot) says that before Shakespeare there was only characterisation; it was Shakespeare who invented CHARACTERS, in other words fully rounded individuals capable of change with highly individual personalities.
We’re then going on to Macbeth’s decision not to go ahead with the murder and Lady Macbeth’s response. We’ll do some drama here to spice up the whole thing but here are the slides:
We want to discuss again just how Macbeth’s decision makes Lady Macbeth incandescent with rage, anger, frustration etc. She steals this scene once more and we want to consider her use of various forms of emotional blackmail to get Macbeth to change his mind – which he does of course.
Here are the slides for Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2