"Blood Will Have Blood": The Ghost of Banquo Performance and Film Comparison (3.4)

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SWBAT analyze Macbeth's mental decline in the Ghost of Banquo scene (3.4).

Big Idea

Life's slippery slope decisions lead to dire consequences.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Time Frame and Context

Today's lesson is # 10 in our The Tragedy of Macbeth unit. Although we have not yet finished the play, we must take time to write a comparison/contrast essay, which has been mandated by my district, as I explain: Macbeth Compare and Contrast for Data Analysis.mp4

Knowing that this mandate was on the horizon, I have had students work with film clips in two other lessons during the unit: 1 and 2

During the Macbeth Tango lesson, I had students prepare a performance of 3.4, which is the Ghost of Banquo scene. I wanted a guarantee that all students would have read the scene prior to viewing the film. Thus, the students practiced yesterday but presented today. 

In this lesson, we do the following:

  • Present the student performance of 3.4
  • Watch the Ian McKellen Royal Shakespeare performance of The Ghost of Banquo and take notes on the film analysis form.
  • Watch the Patrick Stewart PBS performance of The Ghost of Banquo and take notes on the film analysis form.
  • Compose a comparison/contrast essay about the two film versions. 

Performing The Ghost of Banquo Scene

15 minutes

We begin with the student presentation of 3.4, commonly known as The Ghost of Banquo Scene. 

At first students want to sit at the table and present their lines, which is probably because they didn't have a great deal of time for preparation. At the Banquet shows students performing their lines at the table. 

Importantly, we took time to pause and discuss the scene as students presented. When Lady Macbeth scolds Macbeth, we stop to talk about whether or not she would do this in front of the guests. Lady Macbeth said, "It doesn't say she's not at the table." I respond, "That's right. Remember, Shakespeare didn't give many stage directions. This means we have to take our cues from the lines. That means, you have to think about to whom a character is speaking and who would be present during that speech." Students Performing (1) and Students Performing (2) show students playing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after they move from the table so that Ross and Lenox can't hear their discussion. 

We went through this pausing and discussing scenario several times as the performers needed prodding. The class assumed the role of director and assumed the role of telling the actors where and when to move. In Red, the Ghost of Banquo haunts Macbeth. 

By pausing to discuss and offer directions, more students became involved in the scene, and they demonstrated their understanding while assisting one another with their learning. Ghost of Banquo Performance

Preparing Students

10 minutes

Next, I give students the Copy of flm comparison pdf. They'll be using this when they write their essays, so having the document is important to their prewriting. 

Next, I have students look at page 137 of Expository Composition, Discovering Your Voice. ("Expository Composition" Cover)Page 137 has a list of transitional words and phrases for students to use as they write. I remind students that transitions hold their thoughts together and show how ideas are related to one another. Additionally, the books are new and a wonderful resource because this writing book was written by two high school teachers and includes both professional and student examples. 

Since I want the essays written with blue or black ink, I provide pens to students who don't have them. 

Finally, I remind students that they can use their Macbeth scripts and that they need to pay close attention to the film clips because they provide the evidence for the essay. 

Watching and Writing: RSC

15 minutes

Once students have their materials ready, show the RSC clip of Macbeth. 

After they view the clip, the students take a few minutes to complete their notes, which is important because they need to use the details from the notes to support their ideas in the essay. Viewing The Ghost of Banquo Film Clip shows students watching and taking notes.

And Student Notes (1) shows a student's graphic organizer.

Watching and Writing: PBS

10 minutes

After students have time to complete their graphic organizer notes, I show the PBS clip of Macbeth. 

Once again, students take a few minutes to complete their graphic organizers. Viewing The Ghost of Banquo Film Clip also shows students watching and taking notes. 

Another student graphic organizer is shown in Graphic Organizer (3)

Comparing and Contrasting: In-Class Essay Assessment

45 minutes

Finally, it's time for students to compose their papers. I'm only allowed to instruct them to compare and contrast the two film clips in terms of their sound and visual elements. I do remind students that an essay needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. I also remind them to compose a thesis but to avoid saying, "I'm going to compare and contrast." This, I tell them, is because a thesis has a level of subtlety. I also tell students to avoid the five-paragraph-essay formula as it is not a natural form of writing one finds in the real world. 

After these comments, it's time to write. I give students the remainder of the time to write and leave instructions to read the next act on the board. 

Student Essay (1) and Student Essay (2) and Student Essay (3) show several students' approach to the assessment. Student Notes (2) shows the graphic organizer one of the students used for the essay composition.