Presentation on theme: "A Message of Hope or Despair? Dr. Ed Friedlander KCUMB"— Presentation transcript:
1A Message of Hope or Despair? Dr. Ed Friedlander KCUMB MacbethA Message of Hope or Despair?Dr. Ed FriedlanderKCUMB
2Warning:MACBETH is supposed to upset people. It shows life at its most brutal and cynical, in order to ask life's toughest question.This page deals with all this without apology. I have a high regard for truth and I talk plain. If you want something nice, please leave now.
3This Is NOT "Family Entertainment." When we first hear of Macbeth, he has just cut an enemy open ("unseamed") from belly button ("nave") to throat ("chops"). The king shouts "Oh valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!"
4At their party, a witch shows her friends the chopped-off thumb of a ship's pilot wrecked on his way home.She’s angry with a lady who was munching chestnuts and wouldn't share them. Her plan? Revenge by causing a nine-day storm to make her sailor husband miserable.
5Still not family entertainment … Lady Macbeth, soliloquizing, prays to devils to possess her and give her a man's ability to do evil.Lady Macbeth berates her husband and ridicules his masculinity in order to make him commit murder.
6Evil? Predestination?You may be asked, "What is the nature of evil in "Macbeth"? Again, you'll need to decide for yourself.
7Evil? Predestination?Some people will decide that the Macbeths are victims of supernatural forces beyond anybody's control.
8Evil? Predestination? Other people will decide that the talk about predestination simplyreflects the folk-tale, orthat the Macbeths' eraand/or their outlook on lifeguarantee that somethingreally bad will happen tothem.
9Evil? Predestination? continued Perhaps despite the supernaturaltrappingsof witches and talk about DEVILS,
10BAD HUMAN habits and behaviors. are nothing more or less thanBAD HUMAN habits and behaviors.
11Is Macbeth bad luck?Producing Macbeth is supposed to be unlucky. Fires, falls, and weapon injuries have plagued past productions.Superstition requires those involved in productions not to say the play's title, but rather "The Scottish Play".
12A Rooted SorrowYour instructor may talk about Macbeth beginning as a good and fine man, possessing the tragic flaw of ambition, upsetting the divinely-ordained natural order, and so forth.
13A Rooted Sorrow -- continued On the other hand, Macbeth seems -- from the play's bloody beginning -- to be one of many thugs in a society in which power is gained and maintained by killing other thugs, and where loyalty is at best provisional.
14Are You a Man?As you go through the play, look for the repeated theme of "WHAT IS A REAL MAN?" Like nowadays, there is no consensus.
15Are You a Man? -- continued Lady Macbeth wants to lose her femininity so she can be cold-blooded and commit murder like a man does.
16Are You a Man? -- continued Macbeth, having second thoughts, tells his wife that it's UNMANLY to murder your benefactor while he is asleep.
17Are You a Man? -- continued Lady Macbeth gets abusive and tells him this will make him more of a man.
18Are You a Man? -- continued Macbeth flatters his wife, saying she has such "undaunted mettle" that she won't have any baby girls, only baby boys.And there’s more . . .
19A Rooted Sorrow -- continued Lady Macbeth doesn't seem to think that there's anything really unusual about the idea of murdering a guest, and she assumes it's occurred to her husband as well.
20A Rooted Sorrow -- continued Does Shakespeare believe that there is a deep morality underpinning human society, or does he not believe this?Or, does he let you decide?
21A Rooted Sorrow -- continued Shakespeare's insight goes far deeper. So far as I know, this is the first work in English that focuses on theisolation and meaninglessnessthat result fromselfishness andcruelty.
22What Does It All Mean?“Fair is foul and foul is fair.”In Macbeth, things are seldom what they seem, and we often don't know what's really happening.
23What Does It All Mean? -- continued The play is full of ambiguity and double meanings, starting with the prophecies. The day is extremely foul (weather)and extremely fair (MacDonwald’s been disemboweled.)
24What Does It All Mean? – still wondering Is the dagger a hallucination, or a supernatural phantom?
25What Does It All Mean? – politics and purpose Shakespeare chose his subject matter and some plot details to please James I.But as always, his deeper purpose seems to be to show us our own lives and make us think.
26What Does It All Mean?The key question that Shakespeare seems to ask is this. Is human society fundamentally AMORAL, DOG-EAT-DOG?If so, then Macbeth is right, and human life itself is meaningless and tiresome.
27What Does It All Mean?-- continued Or do the hints of a better life such asKing Edward'sministry,Malcolm's clean living, andthe doctor's prescription for pastoral care,display Shakespeare's Christianity and/or humanism?
28What Does It All Mean? -- continued It's a dark play. The light of goodness seems still fairly dim.But evil always appeals more to the imagination, while in real life, good is much more fun.
29What Does It All Mean? -- continued Is the message of Macbeth one ofdespair,or of hope?
31Credit Where Credit Is Due Dr. Ed Friedlander (KCUMB) wrote the content of this PowerPoint presentation and assembled the visuals.Your teacher edited Dr. Friedlander’s material and had a bit of fun with the font colors and sizes.P.S. This is what happens when real-life doctors and lawyers get to share their enthusiasm for literature.
32Just googlepathguy macbethto read more . . .And now, for the bona fide MLA-format credit (drum roll, please )
33SourceFriedlander, Ed. “Enjoying "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare.” 25 Dec The Pathology Guy. 28 Oct <http://www.pathguy.com/macbeth.htm>.