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Secrets and Allusions in Macbeth by Grainne Hallahan

Secrets and Allusions in Macbeth by Grainne Hallahan

Do You Know What You Don’t Know, And Know Why You Need To Know It?

It’s a family dinner. We’re talking about the new CCTV cameras that have been installed by the bus stop. ‘Remember, Big Brother is watching,’ warns my dad. My little sister gives him a stare. ‘I didn’t know you watched Big Brother dad?’ she asks. My sister isn’t one for reading. She has watched Big Brother, and enjoyed it, without ever connecting it to the Orwellian dystopian novel. She enjoys the television show, she can follow it, she is entirely unaware of all of the references to the different parts of the novel that are referenced in the programme.

How can we be expected to know what we don’t know? The whole point is, we don’t know it.

There are definitely things that surprise me when I discover students don’t know them. I was doing some one to one work with a student in year eleven. We were recapping Act One of Macbeth. We had just had Easter week, and I knew she was a practising Catholic. The school was Roman Catholic. I was quietly confident that she would get the Golgotha reference.

Blank expression. A bit like when a cartoon squirrel is thinking about where the nuts could be.

Secrets and Allusions in Macbeth by Grainne Hallahan

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