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I have a project on "women in politics" and we can interpret it anyway we like. How...

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vernikaa | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 9, 2011 at 11:52 PM via web

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I have a project on "women in politics" and we can interpret it anyway we like. How would this relate to Macbeth?

I am planning to base it on Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff, to show how they are similar in many ways yet so different, and wanted to give the Shakespeare's take on women of that era and bring to notice some issues that exist even today when we talk of women in general.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2011 at 12:34 AM (Answer #2)

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This is a very interesting question to consider, and I think you have a good basis for a fascinating essay. Clearly, Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff are women in a man's world, and each responds to this patriarchal reality in a different way. Lady Macduff fulfills the traditional stereotyped role of mother and wife, whereas Lady Macbeth is much more subversive. As a childless wife who cajoles and manipulates her husband, she clearly to some extent represents a different kind of woman. You need of course to analyse these two characters and compare and contrast them through their speech and how they relate to other charactes.

What I would say you also need to do, however, to extend this project, is to consider various female politicians in recent history (or not so recent) and maybe try and compare them to Lady Macbeth and/or Lady Macduff. Figures you might want to examine would be Ang San Suu Kyi, Margaret Thatcher, Cleopatra and Indira Ghandi. Clearly some seem to reject traditional female stereotypes in the way that they wielded their power, such as Ghandi and Thatcher, whereas others seem to embrace both politics and their femininity.

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vernikaa | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 10, 2011 at 2:11 AM (Answer #3)

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Thanks a lot! Could you please please elaborate a bit more as to how to go about it...I am fresher in my college and a bit clueless as of now to be frank..Ive to write a 2000 word essay..

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 10, 2011 at 3:48 AM (Answer #4)

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Sure!  How about relating Lady Macduff and Lady Macbeth to our American "First Ladies."  Think about someone as strong and confident as Michelle Obama influencing her husband, Barack Obama, President of the United States.  Or, heck, think about Hillary Clinton!!!  Think about the consequences if someone like Lady Macbeth was a first lady!!!

In regards to the "how to" of it all, how about four separate body paragraphs: two focusing on the women in Macbeth and two focusing on first ladies.  (Of course, don't forget your introduction and conclusion, too!)  In each paragraph, you could use examples (either from the text of Macbeth or from a first lady's words when her husband was president).  This is an easy way to use traditional essay form to prove the points you want to make, as indicated in your first post.

You don't have to use my first lady suggestions, you know.  Eleanor Roosevelt is another great one who exerted a lot of influence, ... hmmmm, Abigail Smith Adams, ... Martha Washington, ... Mary Todd Lincoln, ... Laura Bush.  Lots of women are quite strong behind the scenes.

Good luck to you!  It sounds like a fabulous idea for a project!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:35 AM (Answer #5)

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I love the posts you've gotten already...especially post #4.  Your teacher probably wants you to look at the personality characteristics of characters in Macbeth, as well as the overall story--it is about ambition and working toward your ultimate goals of securing a political appointment.  Not that different from the Macbeths and how they secured their positions as King and Queen. 

Honest politicians would not mud-sling, deface character, or do anything unethical to get elected.  This would be very much like the MacDuffs.  They are honorable, noble, and not afraid to stand up for what is right.

Dishonest politicians would play dirty.  They would make deals under the table, accept bribes, lie, steal, and sling mud in their campaign commercials to get the upper hand.  If someone would go to these lengths to get elected, they probably won't revert to honest politics after securing the position.  Think Lord and Lady Macbeth. 

Sounds like a fun projects...enjoy it!

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:10 AM (Answer #6)

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There is a saying that behind every strong man is a strong woman. Men in positions of power rely heavily on their wives. Macbeth is no exception! The lady of the house has to be the keeper of the etiquette. More work gets done from polite visits and dinner parties than you might realize!
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vernikaa | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM (Answer #7)

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Sure!  How about relating Lady Macduff and Lady Macbeth to our American "First Ladies."  Think about someone as strong and confident as Michelle Obama influencing her husband, Barack Obama, President of the United States.  Or, heck, think about Hillary Clinton!!!  Think about the consequences if someone like Lady Macbeth was a first lady!!!

In regards to the "how to" of it all, how about four separate body paragraphs: two focusing on the women in Macbeth and two focusing on first ladies.  (Of course, don't forget your introduction and conclusion, too!)  In each paragraph, you could use examples (either from the text of Macbeth or from a first lady's words when her husband was president).  This is an easy way to use traditional essay form to prove the points you want to make, as indicated in your first post.

You don't have to use my first lady suggestions, you know.  Eleanor Roosevelt is another great one who exerted a lot of influence, ... hmmmm, Abigail Smith Adams, ... Martha Washington, ... Mary Todd Lincoln, ... Laura Bush.  Lots of women are quite strong behind the scenes.

Good luck to you!  It sounds like a fabulous idea for a project!

 

thank you soo much! You've been really helpful :)

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:11 PM (Answer #8)

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What about the Queen of England in Shakespeare's time?  Was not Elizabeth I an extremely powerful and influential monarch?  She certainly exerted some bloody orders herself such as the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.  Of course, Shakespeare would not want any such comparison!

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:38 PM (Answer #9)

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One thing Lady Macbeth has in common with certain segments of women today is that women may still be held back--for one reason or another, through one means or another--from personal opportunity and advancement. In such cases, they parallel Lady Macbeth as some women today with a sense of power and authority are in situations where they have to force it to the fore through unusual means just as Lady Macbeth had to force her ambition and power to the fore through unusual means of manipulation of Macbeth's (and Duncan's) fate.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM (Answer #10)

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Answer # 4 is indeed extremely helpful. One technique I like to share with my students is something I call "the SIEL method."  Here is what "SIEL" stands for:

S=state your argument

I=illustrate your argument with some piece of evidence, often a quotation.

E=explain (preferably in detail) exactly how the illustration does indeed illustrate or support the argument.

L=link to the next argument (usually by using a very simple word or phrase such as "In addition," "Moreover," "Furthermore," etc.

Some advantages of using this method including the following:

  • students know exactly what they are supposed to do and in precisely what sequence
  • therefore the method alleviates a lot of the anxiety about "not knowing how to write"
  • the method encourages logical thought
  • the method encourages clear phrasing

I now actually require my students to list the S,I,E, and L down the left-hand margin, as I did above.  Doing so forces them to think about each particular step of the method.  The S, I, E, and L can then easily be removed and the steps combined to create paragraphs or parts of paragraphs.

Good luck!

 

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