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Grade: Middle
Subject: Literature

#4023. Macbeth: An Educators Reference

Literature, level: Middle
Posted Tue Aug 28 01:41:47 PDT 2007 by William Peters (
Suwon Foreign Language High School, Korea
Materials Required: none
Activity Time: 50
Concepts Taught: Themes, activities, questions

Macbeth: An Educators Reference


• Appearances do not always reflect reality.
• Despite prophecies of the future, people are responsible for their own actions.
• Attempts to control the future by overturning the natural order of society are futile.
• Ambition can subvert reason.
• When supernatural powers represent evil, they should be ignored.
• The natural order is disrupted by any upset in the proper order of human society.

Activity Lessons

In pairs discuss:
What sort of opening do we get? Pupils report back collect ideas on board.
Discuss/teach contemporary expectations of witches
People blamed witches for such misfortunes as weather/crop failures/illness in people or livestock.

-blamed for misfortune -- sickness of people
• sickness of animals
• poor weather
• failed crops

-use of familiars
-witchcraft trials and executions, King James

Questions for Discussion
• Is Macbeth a tragic hero? What was his "foible?" Consider actions/decisions he made that led to his downfall.
• Who is responsible for Duncan's murder: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Witches, Fate, Duncan himself?
• Is ambition a good thing or a bad thing? What are you willing to do to get what you want?