Macbeth and Trump – can we see contemporary parallels with Macbeth?


Tracking Macbeth #studenttask

Photo source

Tracking Macbeth

“By the pricking of my thumbs…something wicked this way comes.”

Welcome to the beginning of 10C’s tracking of Macbeth.  As we read the text in class, we will become experts in aspect of the play by tracking the representation and development of themes, characters and motifs offering interpretations of these things. Each member of 10C will put their findings into a blog post: minimum three posts in total This may be a blog post after each act or two (eg for theme tracking) or choose a different structure for a character who may not appear in each act (eg. the hero’s journey in stages).

Explain how Shakespeare presents [your theme, character, motif] in Macbeth, what significance this has.  A collection of evidence will support each interpretation.

This is a showcase of the rigour of 10C’s thinking.  Each blog post will include:

  • A creative title (underscored by a quotation from the text);
  • at least one image and/or audiovisual material, which will illustrate the ideas and the textual evidence in each post.;
  • Quotations or extracts from the play (using the online text version for simple cut and paste)
  • Analysis and insight through the posing (and answering) of questions such as: ‘What does this suggest?’ and ‘What is the significance of this?’ and why? and how?


10C trackers for the following subjects:

Macbeth (Acts 1&2):   [student name]

Macbeth (Acts 3-5):

Lady Macbeth:




The witches:

Minor characters (doctor/nurse/Porter):

Light and Dark:

Good and Evil (fair and foul):

Deception (appearance and reality):



The natural world:


Loyalty and betrayal:

Guilt and Innocence:

Illness and disease:

Masculinity :

Reason and passion:

Femininity and the role of women:

Kingship and tyranny:



Fortune, fate and free will:

Fear and courage:

Macbeth as a tragedy:

Soliloquies in Macbeth:

Photo source


Photo source



In previous classes students have been watching the film, Macbeth, and are at the point where Macbeth has just killed Duncan and Lady Macbeth has left the bloody daggers with the sleeping guards to implicate them.

Before we watch any further, make sure you look out for:

  • the occurrence of the supernatural
  • instances of guilt
  • power dynamic and how it shifts
  • antipathy eg. good/bad; fair/foul
  • trail of deception
  • motifs (different to theme – motif is a repetition of a pattern; an emerging pattern; references to something eg the motif of blood which becomes a symbol of guilt)
  • Conscience
  • role of fate
  • dramatic irony
  • symbols
  • paradoxes and equivocation
  • ambition
  • foreshadowing as device
  • sleep: how is sleep related to conscience? something that soothes the mind (the balm)
  • envy/jealousy/ambition
  • winning and losing
  • questioning manliness
  • dominance/power
  • choices (free will)
  • motif of clothes: putting on robes

‘barren sceptre’ – he has no sons to leave his legacy to

His relationship with Banquo has changed already. He wants to rule out any threat that Banquo represents. He is going on the witches’ prophesies. At the beginning of the play Macbeth and Banquo are friends but this is changing.


A love poem for lonely prime numbers

Harry Baker’s list of awards for his spoken word poetry speaks for itself. In 2012 he was the World Slam Champion.

What does his ‘A love poem for lonely prime numbers’ say to us in our quest to write our own poetry?

Some of the things evident in Harry’s poetry:

  • assonance/alliteration
  • puns
  • putting things like odd/even numbers into a different context/playing with perception of things

We think about prime numbers in a certain way in Maths class but in English class (through this poem) we think of prime numbers in a different way. Harry encourages his audience/readers to think see things in a different way.

  • description/clues for reader to see things in a different way

Try that in your own poems. Start with something specific/detailed and move out to abstract. Don’t start with abstract that the reader can’t ‘see’ in detail. The reader needs something to hang the ideas/concepts on, just like in ‘Presents from my aunts…’ the poet hung her ideas on the clothing imagery.

  • look at sound of words

When you’ve written the poem, read it out aloud to yourself and pay attention to how it sounds, how it flows, what sounds clumsy or not right. If your are using rhyme or flow-on sentences, make sure you don’t lose the meaning, and that it doesn’t sound jarring to the ear.