Shakespeare's "Macbeth" Part 2: Characters and Questions


Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most concentrated and thrilling tragedies. Macbeth is a warrior lord living in medieval Scotland who starts the play by saving his king — only to then murder the king himself. In this course, you’ll learn Macbeth’s story, explore the complex morality and psychology of Macbeth and his accomplice, Lady Macbeth, and hear the play’s key speeches performed and analyzed by world-class Shakespearean actors and literary scholars. Part 2 addresses some of the central questions the play raises, especially questions of evil and guilt. With Professor Emma Smith, you’ll explore the Macbeths’ marriage and the different ways it can be interpreted, issues about joint agency and responsibility, and the question of how Shakespeare can dramatize such evil in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and still make these figures sympathetic.

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Zachary Davis

Zachary Davis is the host of Ministry of Ideas and Writ Large and the Editor-in-Chief of Radiant.

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