Titanic blunders in Bard answers

2nd June 2006 at 01:00
Macbeth is a "cowardly custard", his wife was sex-starved and he gets his come-uppance because "as my mum always sez wot goes around comes around".

This is the Scottish play, as brought to you by the nation's teenagers.

Test markers have been amusing their colleagues with pupils' offerings in this year's key stage 3 Shakespeare exams.

Some of the anecdotes, posted on the TES staffroom website, show pupils have updated the Bard's language. For example: "Lady Macbeth ses to Macbeth, 'sort your head out'."

Another examiner reports a teenager writing "when Macbeth hears of Lady Macbeth's death he goes into full-on soliloquy mode".

One pupil, who was perhaps watching an adult version, wrote "Lady Macbeth had a desire to have Macbeth on the throne" and then that she "asked him to show her his manhood".

In an essay produced outside of the tests, one pupil apparently offered the surreal: "The witches and the dagger weren't there, Macbeth had been smoking up and imaged them all."

Some pupils were influenced by film adaptations. One, asked how Shakespeare had handled the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, had replied "they jump in the swimming pool". Baz Luhrmann's film version was blamed by the teacher.

Another teacher reported: "My favourite howler of all was when a kid claimed that Romeo drowned on the Titanic. Watching films of the play doesn't always pay off."

However, there was poetry in some of the answers. For example, one pupil wrote: "Macbeth is like a snail shell without a snail when Lady Macbeth dies."

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