How each version annotates the texts:
Macbeth: Basic modern explanation for cultural differences
- Pro: Easy to understand; great for first time readers.
- Con: Can be overly simplistic; not everything is explained
As You Like It: A thorough explanation of almost every line; references parts in the introduction and examples of rhetorical devices.
- Pro: A very informative addition, especially if you have read the work before and want more information.
- Con: Can be very overwhelming and largely ignored if you aren’t completely interested in finding more information; not the best for a first time read through.
The Tempest: Good balance between As You Like It and Macbeth; it explains things in more thorough detail than Macbeth, but doesn’t go to quite the lengths that As You Like It does
- Pro: Very informative without being too overwhelming
- Con: The lines aren’t numbered when there’s something to be explained, which can cause confusion and missing of important information
Richard 3: Very similar to Macbeth; the annotations mainly deal in vocabulary words only
- Pro: It’s a great way to expand your vocabulary
- Con: There’s not much more to learn than what you find in your brain and in new vocab words
Measure for Measure: Simple and thorough annotations.
- Pro: Similar to Macbeth, the annotations are easy to read; there are also more references to cultural contexts and situations.
- Con: Sometimes they can be overly obvious, it feels like an insult to the reader.
Re-imagining the annotation:
Macbeth Act 1 Scene 5
I imagine it as somewhere between the actual Macbeth annotation and the Tempest annotation. High schoolers need to be aware of more things in the text than just the basics, but they don’t need too much information to understand enough of the play to have intellectual conversations about it. While the original Macbeth annotations focus mainly on vocabulary words, our version will expand to cultural references and a better explanations of certain phrases that Shakespeare uses that aren’t explained by the original. However, it won’t get as specific and annotated as the Tempest.
Exactly, we would want to get past merely understanding what Shakespeare is saying and start looking into the cultural context and references to make the dialogue easier to connect to in our time as well as in Shakespeare’s. But we won’t go too in depth with the annotations, just enough to give our audience the knowledge that these things weren’t done randomly by Shakespeare, but he actually had a reason for writing the story out the way he did.
For example, Act 1 Scene 5 of Macbeth is when Lady Macbeth first finds out about Macbeth’s prophecy. We could mark the differences in speech patterns, more so than the Pelican version, so as to modernize some of the words, so no confusion occurs. Such as, “Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits into thine ear”. However, the purpose of the footnotes is to add to the play (facts, clarification, context), not add opinions.
Other things we could do is add markers (similar in the way Measure for Measure does) so the reader will know when there is a footnote. It creates smoother reading so the person doesn't have to question if a certain word has an annotation or not while reading.