Archive for January, 2009

Some thoughts on Macbeth

22 January 2009

Virtual Macbeth in Second Life
These are assorted reflections on a guided tour to Macbeth my good friend Misha Writer went on with a group from the Virtual Worlds in Language Learning seminar. That’s him at the front, playing at being a mad Scot.

But as pictures
I can never remember all the keyboard combinations I need in SL, so I don’t use the SL snapshot camera, I just use the Mac’s Grab utility (Cmnd-Ctrl-4), which enables you to select any area of the screen, or SnapzPro, which can record movies of any screen activity. I wish I’d thought of recording a movie for this knife scene in Macbeth!

I sent 10 of these screenshots up to a new Set in Flickr, and set the picture above to link to this. In the previous post I embedded the Flickr Slideshow from this Set. I have also added the pictures to a couple of Flickr Groups: Virtual Worlds and Language Learning, and Virtual Macbeth.

Whilst I was Flickring, I tried to think of titles for the pictures – I don’t always bother, but I know I should – it helps people find them, and also gives an indication of what I think they’re about. A couple of the pictures include quotations from the play, and this led me to search out suitable quotations for all the others, in the hope that this would help draw viewers’ attention towards the original play as well as to an entertaining SL experience.

I thought I had a Collected Works of Shakespeare somewhere in my flat, but couldn’t find it. So I googled, and found The Tragedy of Macbeth, which has the entire text of the play on one web page – this would not normally be regarded as good web design, but in this instance it allows you to scroll quickly through the whole play, as you would flick through the pages of a book, and it also makes searching for specific words much easier.

The selfsame tune and words
I have neither seen nor read the play for over 30 years, but the search for suitable titles for my screenshots led me to skim through the whole of it. I was staggered how many expressions I came across that are still embedded in the English language, some 400 years later. In addition to those I used as titles, an unstructured browse brings up phrases like:

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair

What bloody man is that?

If you can look into the seeds of time

Speak, I charge you.

nothing is
But what is not

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it

yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness

Hie thee hither

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters.

This castle hath a pleasant seat

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly

this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here

upon this bank and shoal of time

we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor

this even-handed justice

our poison’d chalice

Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself

We will proceed no further in this business

the ornament of life

live a coward in thine own esteem

If we should fail?

screw your courage to the sticking-place

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

And that’s just from Act 1; there are four more to trawl through yet. Some of these are so familiar, and so rooted in the language, I have the sense I hear or read one or other of them – or adaptations of them – every few days.

So many thanks to Angela for giving us such a stimulating time in SL, and for reminding us of the lasting richness of the English language.



20 January 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Macbeth“, posted with vodpod

To see the captions you need a larger player, and it looks like full-screen doesn’t work from here. So go to the original Slideshow on Flickr, and do Show info (top right).

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