MACBETH Day Six: Reader Response - Act III, Sc iv through Act IV, sc i

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SWBAT interpret MACBETH through writing and collaborative discussion.

Big Idea

"To be thus is nothing but to be safely thus." MACBETH Act III, scene i

Lesson Overview and Note to Teachers

My classes meet in 100-minute sessions every other day.  Activities in this lesson take one class period to complete.

The lesson below outlines activities on Macbeth, Act III, Scene iv through Act IV, Scene i.  Students engage in collaborative discussion, text-dependent discourse, and writing to learn.

Warm-Up: Think-Pair-Share and Debrief

32 minutes

Students complete a warm-up (Warm-Up), where they have to write at least a 10-bullet chronological summary of what they know about Macbeth from Act I, Scene i through Act III, Scene iv. I find that most students have their books open and are revisiting the text, No Fear Shakespeare: Macbeth (SparkNotes, 2003) for clarification! This activity takes longer than I want it to, but I realize I need to give students time to think and write.  During the activity, two students remind me that we have not read Act III, Scene iv. 

Students confer with a partner to share their summaries (Student Work: Warm-Up). They revisit the text for clarification as needed.

We debrief as a class, and I explain to students that since they did some pre-reading on Act III, Scene iv, we will read it together today accompanied by the audio (Arkangel, 2005) of the play. 

We take time to review characters and action up to this point in the play, focusing on Macbeth's transformation from a valiant warrior to a corrupt king.  Before moving on, I ask students how proficient they feel about their knowledge of Macbeth so far, referring to my Learning Scale (Learning Scale: Use for Lesson Check). Students indicate that they are at a 4-proficient or 5-highly proficient.  


All-Class Reading

48 minutes

We read Act III, Scene iv through Act IV, Scene i along with the audio.  I stop at salient points to discuss the following with students:

  • Why Macbeth refers to Banquo as a "grown serpent" when talking to the First Murderer (Act III, Scene iv, Line 29)
  • How Macbeth's role as king and his reference to Banquo as a snake reflect the manifestation of "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Act I, Scene i) in the play
  • Macbeth's reaction to Banquo's ghost
  • Lady Macbeth's explanation for Macbeth's behavior when Banquo's ghost appears
  • Macduff's significance in the play as Macbeth's foil
  • How Macbeth's soliloquy at the beginning of Act I, Scene vii comes to fruition in the plot
  • Hecate's plan for Macbeth
  • The state of affairs in Scotland under Macbeth.

Reader Response and Debrief

5 minutes

Since we are short on time, I ask students to write down their opinions about Act III, Scene iv through Act IV, Scene i on a paper towel in three minutes so that I get their purest response to the text; I call it a Paper Towel Reader Response.  

We post the responses on the bulletin board at the back of the classroom, do a Gallery Walk, and then discuss trends among the responses.  Students point out that Macbeth has transformed from a valiant warrior to an evil tyrant; how Macbeth is willing to give up everything for power; and how disaster awaits Macbeth

Text v. Clip

12 minutes

We view Act IV, Sc i of Macbeth (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2010); I ask students to list differences between the text and the clip (Student Work: Text v. Clip). Students debrief with a partner; then we discuss differences as a class. Student cite that in the clip, the witches do not use a cauldron, involve Macbeth in seeing the last apparition, and embrace him before he asks if Banquo's descendants will be kings.

Ticket Out

3 minutes

Since we are running out time time and I will not see students until after the weekend, I ask students to reply to my tweet, "Summarize what you have learned about Macbeth so far." (Student Work: Tweets - Sample One). Tweets will continue to come in for a few days; then we will review them (Student Work: Tweets - Sample Two)(Student Work: Tweets - Sample Three) as a class to continue our discussion of the play.