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Elizabeth Som
ENG 308
Blooms Taxonomy in MacBeth


Blooms Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education.

There are six steps and they are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis,
synthesis, and evaluation. In Tales for Shakespeare, I will analyze the play Macbeth
and explain how Blooms taxonomy is used in the play.
In the play Macbeth, we see each stage of Blooms taxonomy of moral
development. The first step is knowledge, what do we know about Macbeth? We can
describe Macbeth as; strange, tormented, brave, heartless, courageous, indecisive,
jealous, regretful, fearful, scheming and guilt-ridden. We can see he is guilt ridden, in
the scene where he sees a dagger floating in the air, when he was going to kill Duncan.
Macbeth started to hallucinate that his queen, Lady Macbeth had him to go sleep.
The second step is comprehension; a scene we can look at to identify
comprehension is when Lady Macbeth made a speech about unsex me. Lady
Macbeth quotes you spirits, that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me
from the crown to the toe top fill, of direst cruelty (Lamb), what she is doing is that she
resolves to put her natural femininity aside so that she can do the bloody deeds
necessary to seize the crown. Lady Macbeth wants the crown so badly that she would
do anything to get it, and that means doing something that is not very ladylike of her,
which is to help her husband kill the king of Scotland.
The third step is application; we can talk about Banquo and what kind of
character he was in the play. Banquo has various characteristics. We dont get to know
Banquo all that well, so we dont know much about him. Banquo is loyal and
trustworthy; we know that Banquo is loyal to the king and Macbeth. He is obviously loyal
to Macbeth for not telling everyone about what he saw. He realizes that would make


Macbeth look guilty, and he is loyal to Duncan because he goes and fights for him. In
the play, there are several people who represent all that is good, and Banquo is one of
them. There are various scenes where is talks about how that light went out and
darkness is left. Banquo was the light, the light represents good, and since Banquo
died, the good in a way died with him.
The forth step is analysis; throughout the play, Macbeth loses his mental stability
and becomes hindered in the idea that he will be king. When Macbeth hears about this
prophecy, he thinks he needs to make his fate happen. Some would say that Macbeth
had given up on the idea of killing King Duncan and becoming king himself. With one
murder comes several murders, and Macbeths innocence is lost. Lady Macbeth was
the driving force behind his guilt. She followed through with the plan of murder and
framing; Macbeth took the mental strain for this. This is the fault of Lady Macbeth who
directly affected Macbeths mental stability; being responsible for the first murder she
started a chain reaction of paranoia and murder.
The fifth step is synthesis; we can create a story that is similar to Macbeth and
using horoscope prediction and making it come true. The main character can use foul or
far means to achieve their ends. For example, my uncle used to date this woman who
was a neighbor. My uncle was absolutely smitten with her. They would talk on the phone
every day and night. She had broken up with her ex-husband but still needed him to
cooperate with her to sign papers for her green card. Her ex-husband was a friend of
my brothers, and my uncle told her that he will help her communicate with him with the
help of my brother. After a couple of months, my brother was able to get in contact with
her ex-husband and get him to come down and sign the papers that she needed. She


eventually moved out, and my uncle went with her. Just a few months later after they
moved out, she had kicked my uncle out and packed up all of his belongings and put
them outside of the house. I went to pick up my uncle, and he was completely
heartbroken. How this story relates to Macbeth is that, the woman manipulated my
uncle into thinking that she liked him to only use him to help her get the signatures. After
she got what she needed, she didnt need nor want my uncle anymore. It goes to show
that she wouldnt have gotten her green card without the help of my uncle.
The last step is evaluation; in the play, Macbeth was a character that was too full
of pride for his own good, and Lady Macbeth was too manipulative. Along with the many
messages behind the story of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the underlying religious
metaphor to teach us about selfishness, and the risks of pride. Pride is the reason
behind Macbeths huge character shift. The definition of pride is commitment to self. It is
building up ourselves in our eyes or in the eyes of others. Pride is an excessive belie in
ones superiority, worth, and merit. Pride is a root cause of many sins.
Moreover, I agree with Blooms taxonomy because research tells us that
teachers ask 300-400 questions a day, and hence is paramount in a teachers tool box
for engaging students, encouraging discussion, stimulating higher cognitive thinking and
evaluating learning process of students (Garland). This tool is that is abundantly present
in the teaching profession is often taken for granted and use used effectively. Higher
cognitive thinking invites a further understanding of content such as problem solving,
making judgments, evaluation and reflection. These questions can assess students
knowledge as facts are the basis of their justification of an answer, and also gives
students ownership and a sense of power over their education by getting students to


make judgment and commit to an idea, allowing them to reflect on a particular issue. It
encourages and teachers children to make their own decisions not just in a classroom
setting but also a life skill.
Furthermore, I would say that Blooms taxonomy does help us understand
childrens literature today because we all want our children to use necessary critical
thinking skills. We want to encourage our children to think for themselves and to avoid
peer pressure and fad thinking. We want them to have the skills necessary to listen,
analyze and interpret the information that will be a constant part of their lives. Memory
and understanding are part of this process, but to succeed in further processing this
flow of knowledge requires higher level techniques (Garland). It may take some time for
children to process and be able to respond to higher level questioning, but with practice,
higher level questioning will become easier for children.


Garland, Stacia. Blooms Taxonomy: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids. Exquisite Minds
Gifted and Creative Children. Web. 06 Nov. 2013
Lamb, Charles and Lamb, Mary. Macbeth. Tales from Shakespeare. New York:
Penguin Group, 2010. 168-84. Print