The Characters of Macbeth Lesson Plan

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2 Lesson Plan Video: 15 minutes Lesson: 35 minutes Pre-viewing :00 Warm-up: Review the major plot events and characters of Macbeth. 2 minutes :02 Pre-test: Ask the students which characters in the play they like and which they don t like. What are their reasons? Go over the learning objectives. 4 minutes Viewing :06 Playing Video: Hand out the Viewing Guide. Go over Viewing Questions and expectations. Tell the students to answer the questions while watching the program. Don t hesitate to stop the program and review if the students seem confused. 15 minutes Post-viewing :21 Question & Answer Session: Ask the class the Viewing Questions. See if any parts of the program were difficult or confusing for the students. Ask a few questions to check their understanding of the key topics. 5 minutes Sample Questions 1. What do the witches do in the play? 2. Who says, The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? Why? 3. Why does Macduff help lead an army against Macbeth? Handouts :26 Practicing Material: Hand out the Worksheet and give the class 6-8 minutes to complete it. Students are allowed to use their Viewing Guides. Monitor the students progress, helping where needed. Go over Worksheet as a class. 10 minutes :36 Applying Material: Hand out the Activity and go over the instructions. Encourage students to think of their own criteria and judge the effectiveness of the chart. Allow them 6-8 minutes to do the activity, so that there s time left over for discussion. 12 minutes :48 Wrap-up: Briefly sum up what has been covered in class by prompting students to list the main points covered. Assign any homework. 2 minutes Viewing Questions Answer Key 1. How does Banquo feel about the witches? he s wigged out by them 2. Why does Shakespeare give such fine poetry to Macbeth? to show that he did have some humanity at some point 3. How do Lady Macduff and her son die? they die trying to protect each other Teacher Notes:

3 Teacher s Reference Guide Video: 15 minutes Lesson: 35 minutes Learning Objectives At the end of the module, students will be able to: describe the major characters of Macbeth attribute the major quotations of the characters of Macbeth explain the story functions of the characters of Macbeth evaluate character development Materials Video: the witches, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, the Macduffs; 15 minutes Viewing Guide: the Witches, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, the Macduffs; 3 Viewing Questions Worksheet: character actions, quotes, character functions Activity: Character Chart Check Your Knowledge: matching, quotes, short answer; 50 points Background Students should be familiar with the major plot events and characters of Macbeth. Preparation None required. Extension Have the students draw up a chart similar to the one in the Activity and add three new sets of characters: one from another Shakespeare play and two from modern movies of the students choice. Once all the characters are plotted, ask them to decide which characters they like best. Are they the same as the best characters? What were their reasons for liking the characters, other than their actions and emotions? Do they think the chart is too simplistic? How would they make a better chart, or can a graph ever capture a character of a play?

4 Viewing Guide The Three Witches they set up the atmosphere & mood in the opening scene: fair is foul and foul is fair function is to give predictions of the future ~ these predictions cause a chain reaction of emotions in Macbeth ~ they do not cause Macbeth to murder King Duncan they just foresee the murder ~ Macbeth is still responsible for his actions Macbeth hears what he wants to hear (their encouragement, not their warnings) MACBETH: Speak, if you can: what are you? 1ST WITCH: All, hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! 2ND WITCH: All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! 3RD WITCH: All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter! BANQUO: Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair? I.iii ND WITCH: By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes: Open, locks, whoever knocks. IV.i Lady Macbeth ambitious, savage woman goads her husband into killing the king she doesn t have the strength to kill someone; she can only drive her husband to do it she suffers terrible guilt for her role in the murder she goes crazy and commits suicide Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! I.v Yet here s a spot. Out, damn d spot! out I say! One two why, then tis time to do t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard?...yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him? V.i The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will these hands ne er be clean? V.i Macbeth ambitious man reflective, intelligent, even sensitive in a way divided between his moral side and his corrupt, ambitious side the poetry of his speech shows the humanity he has, which he loses over the course of the play realizes that, in order to become evil and become king, he can t know his true self he is an empty shell of a man by Act V; all he has left is his resolve to fight to the bitter end He s here in double trust: first, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself......i have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o erleaps itself, and falls on th other I.vii To know my deed, twere best not know myself. The Macduffs Macduff is the Thane of Fife loyal to Scotland and the slain king Duncan he has a good relationship with his family his wife and son are killed by agents of Macbeth returns to Scotland to avenge his family s murder and rid Scotland of Macbeth Macduff functions as Macbeth s antagonist II.ii My way of life is fall n into the sear, the yellow leaf, and that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but in their stead, curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath, which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. V.iii O nation miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloodysceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again, since that the truest issue of thy throne by his own interdiction stands accurs d, and does blaspheme his breed?...o my breast, thy hope ends here! Macduff IV.iii Viewing Questions 1. How does Banquo feel about the witches? 2. Why does Shakespeare give such fine poetry to Macbeth? 3. How do Lady Macduff and her son die?

5 Worksheet A. Macbeth s Many Moods Macbeth experiences many different emotional states during the play. As the audience, we hear his soliloquies and can understand his state of mind. Match each scene below to his emotional state of mind. 1. (I.3) Macbeth hears the witches first set of prophesies. 2. (I.7) Macbeth considers murdering Duncan. 3. (II.1) Macbeth goes off to kill Duncan. 4. (II.2) Macbeth talks to Lady Macbeth after murdering Duncan. 5. (IV.1) Macbeth visits the witches for more prophesies. 6. (V.3) Macbeth prepares for Macduff s advancing army. A. demanding and desperate B. excited C. empty; bleak, but resolved D. filling himself with dark courage E. conflicted F. hiding from his sense of guilt B. Get into Character True or false. 1. The three witches cause Macbeth to murder Duncan. 2. In the beginning, Macbeth is torn between his moral side and his corrupt, ambitious side. 3. Macduff leads an army against Macbeth so he can become king of Scotland. 4. Lady Macbeth is so heartless she doesn t feel any guilt for Duncan s murder. 5. Macbeth realizes that, in order to commit evil acts, he must know himself absolutely. 6. Macduff is blindly loyal to Malcolm. 7. In Act IV, the witches seek out Macbeth to give him more prophecies. 8. Lady Macbeth is more talk than action.

6 Worksheet C. Who Said That? Write the name of the character (or characters) who says each of the lines below. 1. Fair is foul and foul is fair. 2. To know my deed, t were best not know myself. 3. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. 4. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! 5. O nation miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again? 6. Yet here s a spot...out, damned spot! Out I say!

7 Worksheet Answer Key A. Macbeth s Many Moods Macbeth experiences many different emotional states during the play. As the audience, we hear his soliloquies and can understand his state of mind. Match each scene below to his emotional state of mind. B 1. (I.3) Macbeth hears the witches first set of prophesies. A. demanding and desperate E 2. (I.7) Macbeth considers murdering Duncan. B. excited D 3. (II.1) Macbeth goes off to kill Duncan. C. empty; bleak, but resolved F 4. (II.2) Macbeth talks to Lady Macbeth after murdering Duncan. D. filling himself with dark courage A 5. (IV.1) Macbeth visits the witches for more prophesies. E. conflicted C 6. (V.3) Macbeth prepares for Macduff s advancing army. F. hiding from his sense of guilt B. Get into Character True or false. 1. The three witches cause Macbeth to murder Duncan. False 2. In the beginning, Macbeth is torn between his moral side and his corrupt, ambitious side. True 3. Macduff leads an army against Macbeth so he can become king of Scotland. False 4. Lady Macbeth is so heartless she doesn t feel any guilt for Duncan s murder. False 5. Macbeth realizes that, in order to commit evil acts, he must know himself absolutely. False 6. Macduff is blindly loyal to Malcolm. False 7. In Act IV, the witches seek out Macbeth to give him more prophecies. False 8. Lady Macbeth is more talk than action. True C. Who Said That? Write the name of the character (or characters) who says each of the lines below. 1. Fair is foul and foul is fair. the Witches 2. To know my deed, t were best not know myself. Macbeth 3. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. the Witches 4. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Lady Macbeth 5. O nation miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again? Macduff 6. Yet here s a spot...out, damned spot! Out I say! Lady Macbeth

8 Activity What s My Motivation? Despite its reputation as an unlucky play, actors love to perform Macbeth. Why? Because it s filled with great roles! Characters have great lines, swirls of emotion, and enough action to swamp the stage in blood. For our purposes, let s say that actors express themselves in two ways: Action and Emotion. If a character is welldeveloped and well-motivated, there should be lots of action and lots of emotion for the actor to use. Example! Let s say you have a messenger character. He runs across the stage (does a deed 1 point) and breathlessly delivers his news (informs 1 point). His Action score is 2. He delivers his news proudly (pride 1 point) but feels bad (guilt 1 point) that he didn t fight in the battle. His Emotion score is 2. Then the king dismisses him and that s the end of his role. Bye bye! Don t forget to write! Our messenger gets a whopping (2,2). Yeah! What a part! Who wants to play this character? Using our four main characters (Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, and the Witches) give one point for any actions or emotions they have in one scene of the play. Use your Viewing Guides and look over the characters actions, roles, quotes, and conflicts. Add up the points and plot the characters position on the graph. See how great (or not great) their roles are. ACTIONS POINTS 1. Character attacks or defends 2. Character informs or deceives 3. Character asks or demands 4. Character makes a plan or does a deed 5. (make your own!) EMOTIONS 1. Character shows love or hatred 2. Character shows fear or anticipation 3. Character shows pride or guilt 4. Character shows happiness or sorrow 5. (make your own!)

9 Activity Now what do you think of the characters in Macbeth? Which roles are more interesting to perform? Why?

10 Check Your Knowledge A. What Do I Do Around Here? Write the name of the character or characters who fulfill each story function below. Characters can appear more than once. (2 points each) Total Score / Act as contrasts to the Macbeths 2. Divided between his morality and his corrupt ambition 3. Set the opening mood 4. Functions as Macbeth s antagonist 5. Spurs Macbeth to overcome his doubts 6. Provide information that causes chain reactions in Macbeth s actions B. Can I Quote You on That? Write the name of the character(s) that says each of the lines below. (3 points each) 1. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. 2. He s here in double trust: first, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed. 3. I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o erleaps itself, and falls on th other Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair? 5. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What will these hands ne er be clean? 6. O nation miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?

11 Check Your Knowledge C. And, the Supporting Cast Write a short answer that describes each character s personality. (5 points each) 1. Macbeth 2. Lady Macbeth 3. the Witches 4. Macduff

12 Check Your Knowledge Answer Key A. What Do I Do Around Here? Write the name of the character or characters who fulfill each story function below. Characters can appear more than once (2 points each) 1. Act as contrasts to the Macbeths the Macduffs 2. Divided between his morality and his corrupt ambition Macbeth 3. Set the opening mood the Witches 4. Functions as Macbeth s antagonist Macduff 5. Spurs Macbeth to overcome his doubts Lady Macbeth 6. Provide information that causes chain reactions in Macbeth s actions the Witches B. Can I Quote You on That? Write the name of the character(s) that says each of the lines below. (3 points each) 1. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. the Witches Total Score / He s here in double trust: first, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed. 3. I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o erleaps itself, and falls on th other... Macbeth Macbeth 4. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair? Banquo 5. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What will these hands ne er be clean? 6. O nation miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again? Lady Macbeth Macduff C. Do I Know You? Write a short answer that describes each character s personality. (5 points each) Sample Answers 1. Macbeth Macbeth is an ambitious, intelligent, conflicted man who chooses to abandon his humanity to become king. 2. Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is scheming and savage. She pushes Macbeth to murder Duncan, then goes crazy with guilt. 3. the Witches The Witches are creepy, evil beings who give Macbeth prophecies and riddles to tempt him into action. 4. Macduff Macduff is a loyal, good man. He wants to avenge the deaths of his family by killing Macbeth.

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