Dec 232016

Macbeth; Act 5, Scene 5
December 23, 2016

James Shapiro had no interest in Shakespeare in high school and never took a Shakespeare course at college.  Today, the author of 1606: William Shakespeare in the Year of Lear, has a legitimate claim to be recognized as one of world’s foremost Shakespeare scholars.

Shakespeare’s heroes almost always get a last great speech.  Not so with Macbeth.  When Equivocation rules the land, nothing is as it seems.  In our interview, Professor Shapiro explores the details of Macbeth, the world in which it was written and we discover how Mr. Shapiro came to devote his life to helping people understand Shakespeare’s plays – and why they matter today.

Click here to follow along with the text.

Click here for a First Folio version of the text.

Click here for a scanned version of the text.


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  2 Responses to “James Shapiro”

  1. Quality productions are, definitely, the best way to bring Shakespeare to people. High school teachers do not have the resources to take students to see/hear such productions. I put it forth that it is not the quality of the teachers you (we all) had in high school that made Shakespeare a challenge; it is that Shakespeare should be taught in conjunction with a quality production or as part of the putting on of a production. Otherwise, leave it out of the high school curriculum. Shakespeare should be the reward for having learned English, not a tool to teach it.

  2. Good thoughts here Michael! Thanks for them. In the absence of a good production, maybe students should be asked to “speak the speech” and be taught how to do so in a detailed, understandable way. No other method of teaching Shakespeare unlocks his gifts so clearly.

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