Shakespeare’s A Classic Tragedy. Elements of a Tragedy Main character (tragic hero) has a fatal character flaw This flaw leads to the character’s downfall.
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A Classic Tragedy
Elements of a TragedyMain character (tragic hero) has a fatal character flawThis flaw leads to the characters downfall or death
A true story?Shakespeare used historical accounts of real people such as Macbeth when writing many of his plays. However, he changed many facts of history to create more interesting stories.
Setting: Medieval ScotlandScotlands King Duncan lives in Glamis Castle.The castle was the childhood home of Englands Queen Mother (Prince Charles grandma).Glamis is reputed to have several ghosts.
Lady MacbethMacbeths wifeLady MacDuffMacduffs wifeThree Witches
Opening Battle Scene Norwegians attacking ScotlandNorway led by Macdonwald and the King of NorwayNorway being assisted by the Thane of Cawdor (a Scottish nobleman)Scottish troops led by the Thane of Glamis (Macbeth) & Thane of Lochaber (Banquo)
WitchcraftMany people in Shakespeares day believed in witches.King James I, who financially supported Shakespeares theater, wrote a book about witches.In literature, fate is often represented as three old women (Weird Sisters); wyrd or weird meant fate or destiny.
Common Beliefs about WitchesBeards on women identified them as witches Agents of the devilHad demon companions who appeared in animal form (cats & toads)Blamed for killing farm animalsCould create havoc but could not kill humansNine is a magical number.
ThemesGreat ambition ultimately brings ruin.All things are not as they appear.Fair is foul and foul is fair.
Now enjoy one of Shakespeares greatest (and shortest) plays!
Literary TermsAsideprivate words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or to another character, which are not supposed to be overheard by others on stageBlank versepoetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameterFoila character who sets off another character by sharp contrast
Soliloquya long speech in which a character who is usually alone onstage expresses his or her private thoughts or feelings.Tragic flawan error in judgment or character weakness that leads to a characters downfall