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4. Act 1, Scene 4
About this Lecture
In this module, we provide a commentary on Act 1, Scene 4, focusing in particular on the quality of dying well (“Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving it”), the motif of appearance vs. reality (“There’s no art / To find the mind’s construction in the face”), and Macbeth’s ‘vaulting’ ambition (“That is a step / On which I must fall down or else o’erleap”).
In this nineteen-part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s Macbeth. We begin with a broad introduction to historical, political, and intellectual context of early 17th-century England. After that, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism – and more.
Note: We use the Arden edition of the play. Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 28). Shakespeare: Macbeth - Act 1, Scene 4 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-macbeth-john-mcrae/act-1-scene-4
McRae, J. "Shakespeare: Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 4." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Aug 2018, https://massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-macbeth-john-mcrae/act-1-scene-4