Women and Power in Adaptations of Macbeth

byNia Rokas

Adaptation is a vital topic of study because students, like texts, are always already in process of adapting themselves to their environments. Texts and students change over time according to place, ideology, expectation, medium. New Haven’s achievement gap concerns me like so many other teachers in New Haven: I propose to involve students’ subjectivities and political alertnesses with studies of power and violence, here in Orson Welles’ and Akira Kurosawa’s adaptations of Macbeth. My students have always responded passionately to the play, particularly to the questions of gender it invokes. I propose to study shifts in power and gender roles in the play and the two films. I expect students to finally locate themselves, their imaginations, their critical lenses, their ideologies, their roles, their subjectivities as these elements play themselves out in the narratives I have chosen.

(Developed for English 2, grade 10; recommended for English/Shakespeare, grades 10-12)

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