Monday, August 4, 2014

Character Investigation and Writing an Argument

This year my teaching inquiry is around higher level thinking in my Yr 12 class. The class are very able and I am hoping that a good number of them will opt in to a Scholarship English programme for 2015. 

I have been focussing on writing arguments around texts - as opposed to the 'bog standard' lit essays and responses. I have packaged this as 'character investigation' - where the class have to read around a range of sources (accessed via Moodle links using tablets, student owned devices, text...) and then write their own argument on the two topics I have given them. They have to persuade me, that their point of view is the right one!

The topics for Shakespeare character investigation are:
  • Macbeth, what makes him tick?
  • Lady Macbeth - driven, demonic or deranged?
They can of course argue any point that they like!

I've included a couple of extracts from one of the first one that has been handed in - 

Macbeth with his vaulting ambition lets his desire to become King override his deep feelings of guilt, remorse and morality. Macbeth was simply a tragic hero who in his role as a great soldier, married to a manipulative wife had the capability to kill for advancement and fulfil both their desires.

Macbeth is seen not to be able to adapt to life off the battlefield without killing, despite knowing it is wrong. He is praised in battle as a warrior but out of his depth as a King.

As the text progressed then so Macbeth’s character changed. His sense of right and wrong were blurred. He simply did what he felt would advance him as King and not be exposed. With Lady Macbeth beginning to become haunted by feelings of remorse, he kept killing as it was easier to go on than go back. ‘I am in blood, stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er’ He cannot enjoy securing the crown as he is too consumed in keeping it. Because there is no joy in his deed his plan is to dictate. He believes although his allies have deserted him and he is alone, he is immortal. Macbeth goes down fighting almost relieved to die and in doing so clear his conscience; a victim of his own success.

Macbeth has many reasons for becoming what he is. His naïve nature to be easily-led, acting on ambition, ignoring right and wrong shows us his weak character. Self-doubt, looking for guidance and reassurance, unable to cope with his own conscience he is consumed by guilt and fear of failure.

This tragic hero who was morally good but actively evil was doomed to die for his sins, as good will always overcome evil.

I'm definitely seeing engagement with the text and use of evidence to support argument, and therefore analysis. 

I'm especially looking forward to the Lady M ones!

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