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Macbeth, for a nine year old?

(36 Posts)
Sonatensatz Thu 10-Jan-13 11:46:51

Just had ds's topic letter home informing me that they are going to be studying Macbeth this term. Anyone else think this is a very unsuitable choice of subject matter for primary school? I remember reading it in secondary school and the themes in it are very unpleasant.

CaseyShraeger Sat 12-Jan-13 15:58:56

Well, I think some of them should have a bit of a rating. E.g. Othello -- female lead strangled live on stage by her husband because he thinks she's been having sex with his friend. I think that could safely be described as an "adult" story and I wouldn't be rushing to study it with nursery children no matter how beautiful the language is. And then some of them are reasonably accessible (we had a beautifully poncey moment when DS was a toddler, I'd had the Animated Tales and we had to carry him down the street while he was having a tantrum, yelling "I WANT TO WATCH MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREEEEEAAAM!").

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Sat 12-Jan-13 21:26:45

Don't forget how gory and frightening most fairy tales are. Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel etc. Children love a bit of gore and murder!

perceptionreality Sat 12-Jan-13 21:32:07

I think that they would certainly have to pitch it at 9 year old level....I personally found that I didn't fully understand my A Level English Literature texts at 17 - it was only when I had more life experience that they made proper sense some years later.

I think introducing certain texts can be very confusing for children.

mrz Sun 13-Jan-13 12:46:40

Fairy tales were not originally intended for children but we happily tell them about wicked step mothers sending a child into the forest to have her heart cut out and fathers abandoning their children to be fattened up for lunch by wicked witches.

CaseyShraeger Sun 13-Jan-13 12:56:08

Yes, but we tend to leave out the aspects of Sleeping Beauty where the prince goes waaaaaay beyond kissing and Sleeping Beauty only awakes when she's in labour with his child. And by and large tales that didn't originally have a happy ending (e.g. The Little Mermaid) get given one before we tell them to children these days.

CaseyShraeger Sun 13-Jan-13 13:05:56

In contrast, in Macbeth a small child is killed in his own home, on stage, in front of his mother just after she's explained to him that it's all his father's fault for not being there to protect his family (and then his mother and all his siblings are killed offstage) . That could be at least problematic for a primary age group in an unabridged version.

mrz Sun 13-Jan-13 13:08:03

Have you watched Disney's Snow White?

CaseyShraeger Sun 13-Jan-13 13:15:21

Yes, and noticed (a) distinct presence of happy ending and (b) distinct absence of coda in which Snow White and new husband then force the stepmother to dance in red hot iron boots until she falls down dead, as in the original fairy tale (parenthetically, Neil Neil Gaiman's short story "Snow, Glass, Apples" is an excellent revisionist take on Snow White for adult readers that faces that head on and uses it to inform the rest of the story).

Foggles Sun 13-Jan-13 13:20:08

As others have said - it's best to check the approach.

DS2 played MacDuff's son in a (brilliant) modern adaptation of MacBeth.

He was beaten up before being drowned in the kitchen sink (not easy for me to watch, let alone anyone else !).

I don't remember the matinee performance being any different.

Hulababy Sun 13-Jan-13 13:20:14

DD did Macbeth last year. She was Y5, so 9y. They covered it in English plus they did a play of Macbeth, with the Y6 children alongside it.
Was covered using the real words, children's versions of the book, a visiting Shakespeare company, the school play, etc. Didn't even think to consider it unsuitable tbh - she seemed to enjoy it.

mrz Sun 13-Jan-13 13:26:00

a It wasn't very happy for the queen regardless of the absence of hot coals (I think it's the reason I'm afraid of heights hmm )

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