My classes meet in 100-minute block sessions every other day. Activities in this lesson take about one hour to complete.
The lesson below outlines all-class reading and discussion of Act II, Scene iv through Act III, Scene III, and a ticket out on the differences between the text and the "Macbeth" film clips of Banquo's Murder.
We begin by creating a class summary of the text through Act II, Scene III to review:
We read the original text of No Fear Shakespeare: Macbeth (SparkNotes, 2003) while listening to the Arkangel (2005) audio. To check for student comprehension while honing in on important aspects of the text, you can use these text-dependent questions (Discussion: Text-Dependent Questions) in several ways, depending upon your students' needs:
As we read, I stop at salient points for discussion (Discussion Highlights for All-Class Reading). While I like to have text-dependent questions on hand to monitor student understanding of plot events, I think it is also important to examine the text as a reader along with students.
I find that my students question character motives, such as why Macbeth specifically targets Banquo as a threat despite his loyalty to Duncan and to Macbeth. When they bring up this issue, we return to the text and trace Macbeth's thinking by examining his soliloquy in Act III, Scene i with "To be thus is nothing/But to be safely thus" (Line 19). I reread the original text of the soliloquy. As a class, we analyze how Shakespeare uses language to portray Macbeth's agony with words such as "fruitless crown" (line 61); "barren scepter" (line 62); and "unlineal hand" (line 63). Then we engage in metacognition: Why does Macbeth think this way? Is he simply paranoid because he has killed Duncan, or does he have valid reasons to feel threatened by Banquo and his descendants? Student volunteers return to the text, citing evidence for the class consensus that Macbeth has valid reasons to feel threatened by Banquo and his descendants:
Please view my narrative video in this section for more information.
At this point, I want to revisit Banquo's murder with students by viewing the film clip version and having them distinguish between text and clip versions. We view Act III, Scene III, and I ask students to list differences (Student Work: Ticket Out - Text v. Clip). We debrief as a class. Some differences student cite are as follows: