yond this book, including but not limited to the suggested readings at the end of each chapter. Some assignments are reportorial or informative; others are imaginative, involving media such as the visual arts, video cameras, music, journal writing, and court-room drama as creative approaches to Macbeth. Many questions are general enough to be adapted for various classroom purposes, and the range of projects and assignments should challenge the most capable, enthusiastic students while providing opportunity for others to grow in their knowledge and appreciation of the play.
Beyond the most immediate goal of breathing life into Macbeth for those who may or may not be experiencing it for the first time, this book strives secondarily to inspire interdisciplinary thinking that challenges easy generalizations about history, literature, and their relationship to each other. Historically, for example, Shakespeare's England held more than one view about issues such as kingship and witchcraft; as a result, Macbeth emerges from the ferment of debate rather than merely reflecting a unified cultural perspective. From a literary, dramatic standpoint, because interpretation draws together an objective text and subjective impressions of readers, viewers, and performers, understanding Macbeth becomes a plural rather than a singular pursuit in which diverse ideas coexist, their legitimacy emerging out of the tension between them. This pursuit engages scholars with years of training, but it can begin with an introduction to Shakespeare that presents his drama as an experience in education, philosophy, politics, psychology, and history that constantly resists the move through interpretation to simplistic conclusions, and that encourages creative connections within and beyond the text.
All quotations from Macbeth in chapter I and throughout the book are from the Arden edition: William Shakespeare, Macbeth, ed. Kenneth Muir ( 1951; London: Routledge, 1984).