Grade 11 English

Layered Unit: Macbeth       

Lydia Hallard

Eastdale Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Oshawa, Ontario

C layer: 60 points maximum


How you will be marked: 


1. Take notes from lectures on Shakespearean Theatre, Language; kingship, witchcraft and omens, symbolism. Include your reflections as well as copied information (5 pts. per day, must be present). 

2. Interview a character from the play EXCLUDING Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Write down five questions you would ask and five answers this character would give based on his/her actions in the play so far. 

3. In a conference with the teacher, pass an oral quiz based on one act of the play demonstrating your knowledge of plot, character, setting and language. You may not use this act for either quiz in step 8. 

4. Create an emotion/motivation web for ANY one character in the play with at least five branches. For each branch give evidence and a personal response. 

5.  Create a cartoon storyboard for one act of the play (not including Act I).  

6. Create a one-page diary entry for one character that you have not written about elsewhere in this level, detailing his/her actions, emotions and desires at a specific point in the play. Establish that point with vivid description. 

7. Create a 1 ½ page modern translation of important dialogue between Macbeth and Banquo, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Macbeth and the Witches, or Malcolm and MacDuff. Include a paragraph personal comment on how this dialogue has affected you. 

8. With a partner: independently prepare a quiz on one act, give this to your partner and mark it. Your partner will also independently prepare a quiz for you to take. Quizzes may be on same or different acts. Offer comments on interesting aspects of the quizzes, and hand these in with the quizzes. 

9.  Create and perform a song that symbolizes and suits a scene from the play. Emphasize appropriate mood. 

10. Create a One minute radio ad for a remake of Macbeth, emphasizing information that will sell, lead actors, suspense, mood, issues.... 

11. Partners: Independently create a flashcard game with ten new vocabulary words. On the back of each card include a definition and the word in its context in a line from the play. Identity the act, scene and line for each word. Your partner will create a game with ten other words. Complete each other’s games and suggest improvements. Record these suggestions and hand them in with the games. 

12. Write a one page summary of an act, excluding Act 1. 

13. Create a map of the action of the play. Include illustrations and comments to identify at least seven details from the play.  

14. Create an artistic representation (drawing, sculpture, collage) that includes at least three clearly written relevant pieces of text (quotation or description), of any character from the play. If you choose the witches you may include all three. 

15. This assignment has two parts: 

 1. Write a well developed paragraph explaining what integrity means to you. Use examples from your own life, our community, society at large and history to support your answer. 

      2. Using your answer to #1 as a reference, create a piece of found poetry on the theme of integrity. Look through newspapers, websites, shows and movies for words, phrases, and if you wish, pictures, that develop your theme. You may arrange your found items with punctuation, connecting words to form complete statement(s), or arrange them thoughtfully with no extras on the page.  Give careful consideration to the order in which your reader will see/read your items for maximum impact. 

B Layer: Choose Two (10 Points each) 

How you will be marked: 


Here are your choices: 

1. Write a letter to Macbeth explaining why you either agree or disagree with specific actions he has taken (respecting Duncan, Banquo, Macduff’s family, etc). Advise Macbeth on what he should do next and why.   

2. Have a five minute conference with your teacher about why you think one of the characters (your choice) in the play acts in a certain way. Include at least three examples from the book in your explanation. 

3. In one page, compare a conflict you have had personally with one that appears in the play. What is similar about the two conflicts? What is different? How does your conflict help you to understand what is happening in the play? 

4. Choose an event from the play you find powerful. Write a personal reflection poem, using one of the forms of poetry from our poetry unit, that expresses your feelings and aims to produce those feelings in the reader, OR write a song that does this and perform it for the class. You may not do both numbers 4 and 8. Look carefully at both. 

6. Watch the Greta Scacchi version of Macbeth. Find at least 3 divergences between film and play text. Explain what these inconsistencies are, and why you think the production team may have made these choices. Discuss what may have been lost and gained in effectiveness through these choices, with at least three references to the play text. Finally, discuss the challenges and opportunities that would face you as a contemporary director of a new version of Macbeth. 

7.  In a small group (3) write a one page conversation amongst  the witches as they discuss what effect their prophecies may have on Macbeth’s actions and why. Consider the following as you work together: Does he have any choice in how he responds? How much are the witches manipulating him, and how much are they testing him? How ironic is their understanding? How do the witches understand the extent and limits of their own power? Independently, work up a draft of important statements as one of the witches using two references from the play, which will be handed in. In your final trialogue, offer reasons for different courses of action on the part of the witches. Use at least three references to the play in your trialogue. Perform your “trialogue” for the class. You will self assess the quality of your group work. 

8. Imagine you are a medieval poet creating a Beowulf-style account of the final battle at  Dunsinane. Using at least 8 details from the play, plus caesuras and kennings and anything else you learned about Anglo Saxon poetry during our poetry unit, create a vivid, atmospheric testament to the valour and bloodshed of all involved.  Your poem should be about a page long and gripping. Please consider sharing it with the class or letting the teacher or another student perform it.

9. In a small group (3-5) using bristol board, powerpoint or another medium, create a Macbeth version of Jeopardy, and supervise the class in the game. Each person is responsible for creating an equal share of a total of 50 questions. You will self-evaluate your group work.  

10.  Use your preferred intelligence path to create a response to the play. Choose One:


Pursuing the implications and consequences of characters’ actions and reactions through the plot, create a consequential (role-playing, NOT snakes-and-ladders) board game.  Make the game in a format that can be copied easily (playing board no bigger than 11x 17, no three dimensional details) so the class can take time out to play it in several groups.


What is meant by nature/supernature in Macbeth? How should nature be treated, and what happens when nature is mistreated?  Write a two page report, using evidence from the play and illustrations (downloaded or cut out are fine).


How is extended metaphor used in the play? For characterization? For humour? For logical effect? Explain in detail three extended metaphors from the play.


In a small group (3 – 5), create a soundtrack for Macbeth. Each of you will choose an appropriate song that you feel defines a different, important moment in the play. Independently copy the lyrics for your song and explain, in one page, and with at least three references to the scene and relevant characters, how this song speaks for the dramatic moment you have chosen. With your teacher, arrange a time for your group to present your songs to the class, with a brief introduction for each. You will self-evaluate the quality of your group work.  


Block a scene from the play for maximum physical drama. You will lead a blocking rehearsal using members of the class, with input from the class (and the teacher’s support).


Analyze the conflict Macbeth undergoes within himself. Create a graphic chart to categorize and link the influences, drives and beliefs operating in his mind throughout the play. Finally, connect the personality portrait you have created to behaviours and attitudes you see in contemporary life, according their relevance.


Chart the principles, events and emotions contributing to the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth from the play’s start to Macbeth’s response on hearing of his wife’s death.


Create a set for the play in which students may present their activities, within our classroom. Write a page explaining in detail how your choices relate to themes and requirements of the play. 

A Layer: Choose Two (10 points each) 

How you will be marked:  


Here are your choices: 

1. Imagine that you know someone who is unscrupulous about getting what they want from others, and you want to persuade this person that this is a poor attitude to have. Write a three page conversation using examples from the play and the real world in order to convince this person that their assumptions/course of action are wrong. Carefully argue both sides of the point, so that your argument will actually hold water against an intelligent opponent. 

2. Find a newspaper, magazine article, news clip, etc., on a current or recent corruption-related issue. Write a personal response to this issue from the perspective of three different characters from Macbeth. Each response should be one page long. Include for each a list of references from the play (briefly described, not just act/scene/line) that make you think each character would respond in this way. 

3. Develop and perform a monologue for one character from the play that includes information from the play and extends it. What are the daily concerns and habits of this character that would make him/her respond in the play as s/he does? This monologue should be at least two minutes long and leave us understanding the character better. 

4. With a partner, meet with the teacher and “trial” the play. One partner should try to persuade the teacher that this is a play worth studying. The other should argue that this is not a piece worth studying. Each person needs to discuss theme, language, character development, interest level, and relevance of the issues to today’s readers/theatregoers. Each person should also include at least 5 direct references to the play. You will self-evaluate your group skills. 

5. Create a webquest featuring a minimum of 10 websites which a student studying Macbeth might visit in order to gain a better understanding of the context of the play. For each website, write 5 sentences explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the site, what aspects of the play it illuminates, and how. Create an evaluation scale according to your sense of helpfulness and interest, and use this to rank each website.  

6. Answer the following whole-play questions, in sentences and paragraphs, using quotations and direct references to events in the play: 

      a) Describe the duties and privileges of those in power in the world of the play, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of Duncan, Macbeth, Malcolm and King Edward according to this expectation.

      b) Trace femininity and masculinity as they are developed in the play. Then, consider this: Lady Macbeth is often portrayed as a temptress who wields sexual power to gain political power, and Macbeth’s vulnerability to her influence is often portrayed in sexual terms. Can you see evidence to support this interpretation? What other interpretations are possible?

      c) Give an in-depth portrait explaining the motives, style and significance of a secondary character in the play (the porter, Macduff’s wife, the assassins)

      d) Trace at least three of the ironies that run through the play.

      e) Give an overview of the role of magic in the play. Consider what magic implies about the importance of various features of the story, and what would be lost without it.

      f) Research the writing and earliest productions of Macbeth. Consider your knowledge of Old English culture and poetry. What differences were there between the time period in which it was set, and that in which is was performed? 

7. Revise Macbeth for your generation: 

a) Conduct a survey of all classmates concerning the value of the play Macbeth. To do this, create a list of ten questions that tackle specific themes and their relevance to your peers’ learning. Compile notes for each respondent in a clear, respectful manner (see your teacher if you require photocopies of the questionnaire you produce).  

b) Prepare a clear report using clear and Macbeth-friendly graphs to summarise your findings. 

c) Reviewing major concerns of your classmates and your own ideas about the play, consider production choices that would make for a powerful new remake of the play Macbeth.  Prepare a clear and interesting proposal for your new production. 

d) Present your survey and your proposal to the class, and field questions and comments.