Reflection: Staircase of Complexity "Only Vaulting Ambition": Marital Discourse between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (1.4.55-60-7) - Section 3: Macbeth's Dark and Deep Desires


I've long been bothered by the knee-jerk reaction many readers have toward Lady Macbeth, who is often named on lists of most evil characters in literature. This is one reason the 1.4.55-60 scene is so important. It allows students to see Macbeth's character before they see Lady Macbeth's manipulation of him. While I don't want to put words in students' mouths, they do need to understand that a close reading of the text shows Macbeth to have a very dark side, and they need to understand this to understand his "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy. Thus, helping students see that an aside is Shakespeare signaling the audience to look deeply into Macbeth's character. He's already thinking about how to deal w/ Malcolm. 

  Focusing on Pivotal Scenes
  Staircase of Complexity: Focusing on Pivotal Scenes
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"Only Vaulting Ambition": Marital Discourse between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (1.4.55-60-7)

Unit 8: Oh, Horror! Horror! Horror! "The Tragedy of Macbeth"
Lesson 5 of 13

Objective: SWBAT analyze the argument Macbeth has with himself and with Lady Macbeth about whether or not to kill Duncan.

Big Idea: Conflict in literature articulates arguments we can analyze and construct.

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