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Nexus: Macbeth & THE DARK AGES



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SUMMARY OF THE MACBETH AND THE DARK AGES volume of NEXUS

MACBETH & THE DARK AGES interdisciplinary NEXUS book explores the nexus (web of connections) between Shakespeare's play Macbeth and Scottish and English history and art as well as medieval music and the physics of the trebuchet.




"The wonderfully rich historical background — colorful anecdotes and clear, conversational accounts of family ties, political motives, events, and phenomena — will definitely enhance students' study of the play. The illustrations for the 14 short sections of this volume are stunning: maps, production photos, beautiful reproductions of tapestries, and manuscript illuminations."

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STAGING SHAKESPEARE (a chapter from Macbeth & the Dark Ages)

Stratford director Richard Rose teaches students imaginative ways to update Macbeth

WORD WARS (see sample below)

  1. Explores Shakespeare's linguistic and thematic use of opposites and contrasts in Macbeth

  2. Examines and helps students interpret metaphors in Macbeth and in an illuminated manuscript.

  3. Student exercises are embedded in the text.

FATAL PASSION - THE WAR WITHIN:

  1. Extracts and explores key lines from the play that interlace theme and plot.

  2. Traces the trajectory of Macbeth's unravellling conscience.

  3. Interpretation of visual metaphors and contrasts in a Hell Mouth image, which is linked to the Porter scene in the play.

  4. Questions for students are embedded in the text.

  5. Suggested activities for students.

VIKINGS IN MACBETH

Examines Viking attacks on Scotland and other parts of Europe, and introduces the historical Seward, referencing relevant quotes from the play.

ROYAL MURDER AND THE REAL MACBETH

Introduces students to the historical Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and to the frequently bloody succession of Scottish kings.

THE KING AND THE SAINT

Introduces students to King Malcolm's royal Saxon wife, St. Margaret.

ENGLAND'S "HOLY KING," EDWARD THE CONFESSOR

  1. Why was Edward the Confessor called the "Holy King"?

  2. Exploration of the King Edward references in Macbeth.

  3. "The Royal Touch" - Edward's healing power.

BAYEUX & THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS

  1. Examines Edward the Confessor's role in the Bayeux Tapestry and how the Battle of Hastings affected Malcolm's reign after the death of Macbeth.

  2. Teaches students how to read a visual narrative of early English history.

  3. Helps students identify examples of propaganda in the Bayeux Tapestry.

  4. Helps students to decode the Saxon point of view hidden in the tapestry borders.

BOOKS OF LIGHT - ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS

  1. Explores the colorful history of the illuminated book.

  2. Teaches students to read the visual symbols in Celtic and English manuscripts.

  3. Teaches students to recognize theme and variation patterns in medieval manuscripts, with comparisons to patterns in music and literature.

  4. Suggested activities for students.

MAKING A MANUSCRIPT - THE MONK'S ART

Teaches students how to design and illuminate a manuscript.

AN 11TH-CENTURY MUSICAL REVOLUTIONARY

  1. Scotland imports European Music.

  2. A Music Lesson: Guido of Arezzo invents "Doh Re Mi."

  3. Includes an embedded activity for students.

TREBUCHET - THE NIGHTMARE WEAPON OF THE MIDDLE AGES

  1. Investivates the physics of this medieval weapon of war.

  2. The trebuchet's effects on castle design.

  3. Questions for students are embedded in the text.

  4. Includes a suggested activity for students.

CAULDRON OF CHAOS (see sample below)

  1. Investivates the meanings of the witches' lines.

  2. Examines why the witches' goal is to disrupt the natural order in Scotland.

  3. Explores witchcraft in Shakespeare's time.

  4. King James I and the North Berwick witches

SUPPLEMENTS (free with class-set orders)

  1. MEDIEVAL ARMOR - THE AGE OF KNIGHTS
  2. BRAVEHEART AND THE BRUCE - SCOTLAND'S HEROES
  3. ST. MARGARET & HER ROYAL SONS
  4. THE WHITE ROBE OF CHURCHES: ROMANESQUE ARCHITECTURE

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS AND CONSULTANTS for Macbeth and the Dark Ages

  1. Dr. Tom Bishop, Associate Professor of English, Case Western Reserve University and author of Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder, Cambridge University Press, 1996

  2. Dr. Ross Duffin, Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music, Case Western Reserve University and author of Shakespeare’s Songbook, W.W. Norton & Co, 2004 and editor of A Josquin Anthology, Oxford University Press, 1999

  3. Dr. Vernard Foley, Associate Professor, Specializing in the History of Science and Technology, Purdue University and a frequent contributor to Scientific American and History of Technology

  4. Dr. David Bernstein, Esther Raushenbush Professor of Humanities, History and Art History, Sarah Lawrence College and author of The Mystery of the Bayeux Tapestry, University of Chicago Press, 1987

  5. Stephen Fliegel, Curator of Medieval Art, Cleveland Museum of Art

  6. Dr. Greg Martin, Upper School Director of La Jolla Country Day School

  7. Editor Jesse Bryant Wilder
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