Posted by: iancho66 | March 17, 2010

Act V Favourites

   Act V is my least favourite act of all, because I felt that the story has lost the momentum it has gained from previous acts. With the absence of the witches and a foreseeable conclusion, it brings less spice to the last act. Nonetheless, I was able to find a few lines that I enjoyed reading, these were:

Siward: What wood is this before us?

Menteith: The wood of Birnam.

Malcolm: Let every soldier hew him down a bough, And bear’t before him; thereby shall we shadow the numbers of our host, and make discovery Err in report of us.

   These lines occur in Act V, Scene 4, line: 4-9, where the English forces and the Scottish nobles unite in Birnam Wood near Dunsinane to fight for Scotland. The citizens of Scotland have also switched sides leaving Macbeth all alone to fend for himself. Malcolm, the leader of the coalition, thinks of a very ingenious plan to move Birnam Woods closer to the castle to deceive Macbeth. He does this by ordering every soldier to break a branch off and use it as camouflage so that that Macbeth’s men will receive false reports. Not only does this deceive Macbeth and his “constrained things”, it also fulfills one of the witches prophecies that Macbeth will be defeated if Birnam Woods move closer to the castle. This has significance, because it foreshadows the imminent downfall of Macbeth. In addition, it shows that Scotland still has a bright future that lies ahead. With Malcolm, the future King of Scotland, so bright in ideas, these lines proves to be a testimonial for Malcolm’s triumphant win over Macbeth.

Posted by: iancho66 | March 17, 2010

Act IV Favorites

My favorite lines from Act IV are:

Macbeth: Tell me, thou unknown power, –

First Witch: He knows thy thought: Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

Apparition: Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; Beware thane of Fife. Dismiss me enough.

These lines occur in Act IV, Scene 1, line: 75-79. This is where Macbeth demands the witches to let him directly talk to the masters of the black arts. Therefore the first apparition appears with an armed head with thunder clapping in the background. This scene is really the last scene where the witches play a big role in Macbeth. Over the course of reading Macbeth, I have come to enjoy the theme of appearance vs. reality very much. I find that the witches in this plot plays a vital role in keeping the audience or reader such as myself enthralled to go on. The mood, setting and themes that the witches set in the storyline really turn the story up a notch.

These few lines stand out from the rest, because I believe these lines really sums up what the witches can do to Macbeth. Their ability to foreshadow events with accuracy lures Macbeth into their trap. In this instance, the apparition tells Macbeth to be wary of Macduff. This is a good example of how they have predicted the future correctly again. By doing so, the evil spirits forces Macbeth to become more “potent” and bloody. This clearly shows that the witches know how to use these predictions to their own advantage. It forces people like Macbeth to always come back for more, because once they start their unprecedented path of evil, they won’t be able to go back. In conclusion, the witches grasp Macbeth’s ambition for power and use it to their advantage throughout the play. The witches’ skillfulness makes Macbeth a very enjoyable play to read.

Posted by: iancho66 | March 7, 2010

Act III Favorites

 The most striking image from Act III would definitely be the murder or assassination of Banquo. It is a very gruesome image that brings suspense and excitement to the whole plot. The three murderers wait in front of the palace gate for Banquo and Fleance to leave their palace. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare uses dark imagery to reflect the mood or tone of the play, and this scene is no different. “To gain the timely inn,” suggests that Banquo wanted to reach their destination before dark to prevent any trouble. This is significant because later on in Macbeth, the other noblemen where saying that it was too late before Banquo sensed that he was already in danger of getting murdered by Macbeth. This can be used as foreshadowing since they are already discussing the fact that Banquo is trying to make up lost ground by leaving as soon as possible.

    The readers know, however, that it is too late for him to flee, as Macbeth already hired the assassins. This dramatic irony helps create suspense for all readers, as we anticipate for a very exciting scene. From the dialogue between the murderers, the readers can sense that the murderers are also very nervous. Some of the murderers are noting everything that he is seeing as if it is not normal, while the others are trying to calm them down by saying that it is only a routine. I find this prelude to the death very interesting as it breaks the stereotype for murderers that they are always strong and mentally prepared.

    The killing of Banquo gives me a very vivid image. I can imagine three murderers running towards him with fear in their eyes. Their fear though, doesn’t stop them, since their hatred towards him that Macbeth has injected into them overrules their conscience. Therefore with full force, they brutally stabs Banquo. I can also imagine the horse jumping about while this frenzy occurs, adding towards the suspense.

   I also thought that the character development of Banquo is significant in this scene. The first thing he thinks of when he gets stabbed is to tell his son to flee. It shows that he is not selfish, and doesn’t always think for himself. It gives the reader a good lasting impression of Banquo.

  From acting this scene out in class, I had the chance to step into Banquo’s shoes at the time of his murder. It was a great experience, because it is only then can I truly understand his thoughts and feelings physically (partially!) and emotionally.

Posted by: iancho66 | February 3, 2010

Citizen’s Responsibilities

Are a citizen’s first responsibilities to family, political leader, or country?  Explain.
Would assassination or civil war ever be a justifiable response to tyranny?  What would you do if the leader of your country became a vicious tyrant?

A citizen’s first responsibilities should first go towards his or her family. This is because family should always come first no matter what. Family members are blood related, hence it is our priority to take care of each other. Walk together, die together. Family truly loves each other, no matter what. In times of turmoil or trouble, family will be the ones that will take one out of it. A political leader or country, on the other hand, will be so focused on the government and the country as a whole, will not be able to put their attention on to one individual. Family are the ones that nurture and take care of the citizen in the early life, guiding them to success. Without family, there will be a loss of identity and self, hence it is the citizen’s first responsibility to take care of the family. 

The citizen’s second responsibility should fall towards the country. The country is where the citizen is born and raised, hence the term “the motherland”. The people around you are of the same background and ethnicity. Patriotism by the citizens will boost the country’s chances of growth and prosperity. At times of war, it is the citizen’s obligation to fight for king and country. Nevertheless, family still comes before country, as it still has a closer relationship between each other.

A citizen should not have responsibility towards a political leader. In fact, a political leader should be responsible for the citizen. The role of the political leader is to lead and aid the citizen. Over praising and over devotion will increase the chance of having a tyrant leader, since he will feel superior in the country. 

It depends whether assassination or civil war will ever be justifiable response to tyranny. First of all, one will have to look at the consequences of committing such a rash move. Secondly, one must look at the severity of the tyrannic rule. A tyrant by definition is one who has taken over by his or her own means. This does not state that the tyrant will cause damage to the country, however in most cases they do. Therefore one must give the tyrant time to see if he/she is actually making plans for the good of the people. If however, he/she isn’t, then a civil movement should take place. When that doesn’t work, then a assassination or civil war will be justifiable. 

If a leader of my country were to be a tyrant, I will most likely emigrate. This is however, a total hypothesis, so please don’t take this seriously, as I don’t have any personal experience in this field. I say emigration, because I don’t think I will have the guts to rebel. I will be afraid of the military and I wouldn’t want to risk my family to be in danger. Hence, emigration as early as possible is the way to go. (This choice of action will most likely be discounted, since tyrants usually close all borders to become a hermit nation such as Myanmar!)

Posted by: iancho66 | January 26, 2010

Act II Favorites

Explain in your view, what is the most striking image or line from Act II of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

In my view, the most striking image from Act II is in Scene 3, where Lennox describes how the “night has been unruly”. He explains that a series of abnormal events or acts of nature occurred last night. During the Elizabethan period, people believed that these extraordinary events occur because it reflects an unusual event occurring in a kingdom. In this case, it reflected the murder of Duncan, the anointed king of Scotland. 

This gave me a vivid image of darkness and sheer weirdness. It gave me an eerie feeling when I read it, because I can imagine myself riding through the country at night and suddenly having all these weird events occur around me. Lennox description of the chimneys getting blown down, screams of death, and horses eating each other also reminds me of a movie I watched. This movie is called “Star Dust” starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. It is set in a town called Wall, where the other side of the wall is the magical world. The magical world is a kingdom, where sons and dukes are always trying to get the throne. Within this kingdom also houses many witches. These witches just like the ones in Macbeth can alter weather patterns and such in order to achieve their goal. In one scene, the witches basically put a weird spell, and everything that happened on the night of Duncan’s death also occurred in Star Dust! Although, the meaning is different, the image is very similar.

This scene also gave me a lasting impression, because I personally believe that natural order does get disturbed when extreme events occur, but not to this scale. For example, the day after Mr. Dick past away, the day was unusually gloomy. The sky was brownish yellow throughout the day, and very wet. It rained the whole day during Hong Kong’s dry season. I’m not sure if I can prove this scientifically, but this is just one of my many believes.

Posted by: iancho66 | January 21, 2010

Act I Favorites

Explain in your view, what is the most striking image or line from Act I of Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

In my view, the most striking line said in Act 1 is, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” (Act I, 1, Line 11) This line is said by all the witches right before they disperse from the deserted place. This line is striking to me, because the theme of Macbeth really revolves around this line. It foreshadows that there will be a change, and things that seem to be normal won’t be for much longer. It also shows the evil spirit that lingers around the story. This evilness intrigues the readers, like me, to continue on, because it makes the story more intense and mysterious. Therefore, this line, has significance since it gives me an idea of where the story is going to take us. 

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