"Life's But a Poor Player:" Macbeth and Performing Ourselves

byAleco Julius
Shakespeare's great tragedy Macbeth is a very appealing work for young people to study. It involves ambition, deceit, violence, and elements of the supernatural, while posing questions and problems that young people will be eager to discuss and connect to. This curriculum unit presents a framework for which to study this remarkable play, called the Performance Triangle. This threefold paradigm is a graphic representation of what Shakespeare makes us aware of in his work: the complex concept of performance. First, there is the everyday performance of the self that each reader/audience member engages in. Secondly, there is the performance of the actor, who must take on a role while interpreting the text. Lastly, there are the performances of the characters within the play, who present their own multiple selves to the other characters.

Through close reading strategies such as staged readings, annotation, and guided discussion, students will use this performance triangle to come to an understanding of how Shakespeare comments on the multifaceted concept of performance— in the play and in our own lives. The unit also includes intensive writing, culminating in an essay that draws upon the entire unit's study of Macbeth.


Comments (1)

    carmon schmidt hamill (New York School, New York, NY)
    Subject taught: English, Grade: 7
    need someone helpful
    Interesting discussion - I was enlightened by the points - Does someone know if I could possibly get access to a blank a form copy to fill out ?

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