William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Lesson plans and other teaching resources
|For introductory, background and other resources, try Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age. For links to other plays, try the Shakespeare Main Page.|
Macbeth Lesson Plan
The 32-second Macbeth
This lesson focuses on plot and is designed for use after reading the play.
On this page, a summary of the play in tabloid style from the BBC. Follow links to learn how your students can produce something similar.
And ... Freeze!
Students read a short section of a scene very closely and develop tableaux as a start to the performance process.
Anon Methought the Umbrellas Began to Move
This activity involves the whole class in a simple but effective dramatization of the Third Apparition's prophecy in 4.1 regarding Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane. Written by a teacher; posted at the Folger Library site.
Can you hear Macbeth now?
This lesson will help students understand how sound can affect our understanding of a scene. By listening to the audio recording of 1.2.1–45, they will gain a sense of who Macbeth and Macdonwald are, and by creating their own versions of 3.3, they will be able to hear the murder of Banquo with new ears.
CliffsNotes Macbeth video
The play in a 7-minute cartoon updated for contemporary audiences. Includes introduction of major themes. A great pre-reading activity!
"Double, double, toil and trouble": A Dual Exploration of Macbeth
By playing two roles in a scene, students explore differences in characters.
English Class in Performance
If you want your students to get up and perform Shakespeare, here are some abridged scripts: The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest.
Enjoying Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Very extensive background, commentary, and analysis: enough gruesome trivia to keep a class fascinated.
Students will explore the use of sound as a special effect to enhance or radically change the meaning of a scene. They will provide a soundscape for Macbeth's porter scene, and conclude by listening to and watching two very different film treatments of the scene.
Theme: Lust for Power Can Lead to Loss of Humanity. Summary, theme openers, cross curricular activities, research assignments from McDougal Littel.
Plot summary, themes, discussion of witchcraft, essay topics, more.
A variety of post-reading activities, organized by level of difficulty.
A variety of post-reading activities. Some projects address multiple intelligences.
Reading strategies, including an anticipation guide, a biopoem, and vocabulary crossword puzzles.
Among the teaching materials here, don't miss the plot summary video. It makes a great prereading activity.
Macbeth: Google Lit Trips
This interactive unit will help students visualize Scotland. Google Earth must be on your computer for this to work; the free version will do.
Macbeth: an Insider's Guide
This podcast from the Folger Shakespeare Library introduces students to the play.
Macbeth Anticipation Guide
A set of 11 open-ended questions. Students must explain their responses. Access requires a word processor.
Macbeth: a Study Guide
Background, themes, activities, and more. This 9-page document requires Adobe Reader for access.
The Macbeth Tango
Students analyze the Macbeths' marriage on many different levels by taking elements of that relationship and making them physical.
Macbeth: a Teacher's Guide
Teachers, this podcast from the Folger Shakespeare Library discusses teaching the play through performance.
Macbeth: What's Up with the Crime Scene?
Students analyze dialogue to understand plot.
"Murder Under Trust": Macbeth and Scottish Law
Students examine Scottish law of 1599 and use the primary source to gain insight into the text of the play.
Shakespeare for the Developmental Reader
Focuses on Macbeth, but adaptable for other plays as well.
Shakespeare: Active and Eclectic
Strategies and objectives for teaching a sequence of three plays: Macbeth, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Measure for Measure.
Shakespeare's Macbeth: Fear and the "Dagger of the Mind"
Students analyze the language of the banquet scene to understand how Shakespeare dramatizes fear.
Shakespeare's Macbeth: Fear and the Motives of Evil
Students analyze the motives behind Macbeth's actions.
Excellent suggestions for experiencing the play, including activities, questions, themes, and character development.
Teachers Guide for Macbeth
Summary and commentary, prereading, analysis and followup, extended learning options, bibliography. This document requires Adobe Reader or compatible application for access.
In this post-reading activity, students explore 4 themes from the play.
The Tragedy of ?
Students explore the concepts of tragedy and the tragic hero.
When Fair is Foul: Paradox and Equivocation in Macbeth
Students examine the role of paradox and equivocation in the play. The goal is for students to gain a greater appreciation of how Shakespeare—and his characters—manipulates words to give them multiple, complex meanings beyond the expected. Students will discover how language drives the events in the play and what it tells us about the characters in it.
From the Folger Library, an online, standards-based lesson in textual analysis. Students use concordance.com to trace patterns of imagery in Macbeth and other plays.
Resource Pack: Macbeth
Videos with analysis of the play, Popplet character analysis, ShowMe analysis of key moments in the play, and more.