Teaching TipsIf I have to teach Macbeth within 10 hours how could I go ahead?

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mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The only real comment I can add to the above which are all excellent suggestions is to bring Macbeth into their world by a discussion of what ambition can do to people.   Plenty of examples exist in the world today, and students will have examples of their own.  Ambition would show up in the day traders who bring down banks, banks which want to be the biggest bank often get into trouble, and students who want to be the best at everything can create nightmares for themselves. I would even discuss the thinking aloud soliloquies which show up in the play as something students can do when trying to write a paper, understand a poem, or consider alternative answers with a question they must answer or a problem they must solve.  Macbeth is so relevant to students today if they look deeply into the themes or characters.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I would focus upon the specific scenes which highlight the themes represented in the play. You could look at Macbeth's growing ambition, the motif of clothing (showing power/lack of power), the supernatural element (paired with Macbeth's problems associated with reality and appearance).

Using filmatic adaptions and theater productions would help a lot with the time crunch.

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sarahc418 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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I would definitely read important scenes as noted above. Include the witches at hte beginning, Lady Macbeth's reaction, Duncan's death, Banquo's death and the apparitions scene. Then discuss the closing scene with Lady Macbeth's death and Macbeth's death. 

Those would be enough to show Macbeth's descent into madness, and Lady Macbeth's guilt. I would use video productions of Macbeth as well as key lines and scenes. I would not read the translated text because so much beauty and meaning of Shakespeare is lost. 

 

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Is it possible for the students to come to class having already completed the reading?  If you only have 10 hours, it would be helpful for students to come to the class or presentation ready to discuss it rather than completely ignorant of the topic.  If students had already read the play, it would be much easier to review important scenes, discuss any parts found to be confusing, and dig deeper into the play.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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You might also have students choose one character to research and/or track through the play. By selecting a single character to follow, the play can be simplified so that one person's motives can be parsed out fully. If the class is assigned a set of characters, with some students tracking Lady Macbeth, some Macbeth, some Banquo, etc., they can help each other to follow the plot by sharing their knowledge of the individual characters. 

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I would encourage students to read outside of the classroom if possible. E-notes offers an online version with tandem translation which makes the play much easier to understand. Summaries as cloze passages helps students to have some interaction with the story. There are also some cool apps which offer abridged versions and study hints - Mindconnex 'Shakespeare in Bits' springs to mind.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Do you have something like the Red Reader that has teen language annotations on the sides for the students?  Or can they access the modern translation?  If so, they can read the play first on their own, then you can closely examine soliloquies and other essential passages. During this inspection of passages, covering the themes, imagery, and other stylistic tecniques can also be done.

 

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I often shorten the actual reading of Shakespeare's plays by summarizing some of the acts/scenes in a paragraph or two. As post #2 suggested, make sure to go over the most important parts in detail. But the others can be summarized. Students are responsible for knowing the summaries, so you could type up the summaries and pass them out or have students copy them off the board (they hate doing that).

Shakespeare purists aren't going to like that, but we do have time constraints to consider.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It would be helpful to your students if you chose really powerful scenes, and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's soliloquies; and focused on their character development.  I suggest setting up the outline or timeline of the play with some of the major themes, particularly ambition, and then look at how the characters deal with the events and respond to the theme. 

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