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Paper Assignment on Three YouTube Performances and Commentaries

I. Sonnet 3 by William Shakespeare

For this paper, I ask you to watch three YouTube performances (Macbeth, at least, is meant to be performed, not only read!), and then also to comment on the texts.  Of course you can read any material you find on the internet (cite whatever you use), but there is plenty of opportunity for your own interpretations, always supported by specific detail from the text.  Independent reading will be the most interesting for you, and for me (your reader) as well.  

Three paragraphs, roughly three pages.  In your heading, please include your full course number, e.g., 151-02.  Be sure to proofread, and to avoid errors in grammar, especially run-on sentences and sentence fragments.  Remember that ‘this’, used alone, is a vague pronoun; it can’t be used to stand for an entire prior idea.  Due November 5, or send earlier, if possible.  Send to my QC account.

 I. For Sonnet 3, read what interests you on the internet, and watch the YouTube “Sonnet 3 by William Shakespeare, Read by Sir John Gielgud”.  What do you learn (if anything) from this dramatic reading?  Do you like/dislike it, and why?  Write your own analysis of the poem, in which you not only describe what the sonnet is about, but show that you can use technical language (quatrain, couplet, rhyme scheme, image, iambic pentameter – not necessarily all, but some).  Are there any words or short phrases that jump out at you, and why? What is the tone of the couplet?  The sonnet is sometimes called “a procreation sonnet”.  Would you be convinced by it to have a child?  Why, or why not?

II. The Doctor, after watching Lady Macbeth sleepwalking, says that “Unnatural deeds/Do breed unnatural troubles” (V, I, 66-67).  Show that his comment is true, both for Lady Macbeth and also Macbeth.

III. In Macbeth, V, v, 7 – 2 8, Macbeth hears women crying, and then is told by a servant that Lady Macbeth is dead.  Watch two YouTube performances of this soliloquy, “Ian McKellen as Macbeth (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow …)” and “Patrick Stewart in Macbeth (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow …)”.  Which performance do you prefer, and why?  When you read the soliloquy what do you learn of Macbeth’s state of mind?  Is this soliloquy an adequate expression of Macbeth’s grief for his wife’s death?  

The three actors in these YouTube presentations are all highly acclaimed (that is, famous) actors in the Royal Shakespeare Company, London.  You may find their accents difficult, though, and the acting may seem to you stilted and artificial.  If you find YouTubes of American performances you would prefer to discuss, you are welcome to do so.  If you do that, remember to give the citations.

I’ve given act, scene and line references from the Penguin edition of Macbeth. The edition you’re using may be slightly different.

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