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Laura Amatulli
Laura Amatulli
(Rochester Hills - United States)

Teaching 8th grade in a middle school in suburban Detroit I have strong interests in Earth Science and leadership.  I  have been a teacher consultant for our local National Writing Project site, Meadow Brook Writing Project, which keeps me active  ...

Teaching Shakespeare: Macbeth

Macbeth

A Shmoop study guide for Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Includes overview and study questions.

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, e-Text in English. From Project Gutenberg as part of the collection of The 43 Most Frequently Taught Books in at Least 5% of Public Schools, Grades 7-12.

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Setting the mood of Macbeth, Act I scene i

Introduction:
 

This lesson is designed for whole class instruction, but students could work in small groups on a follow-up passage of text either from Macbeth or from another piece of literature.
 

Group Size: Any
 

Learning Objectives:
 

Students will be able to:

·         Define mood.

·         Define paradox and provide an example.

·         Complete a graphic organizer that demonstrates the mood of a passage of literature.
 

Guiding Question:
 

How does Shakespeare establish the mood of the play Macbeth in the first scene of the play?
 

Materials:
 

Students would need a copy of the scene, preferably one on which they could write.

An audio recording of the scene.


 

Procedures:
 

The teacher begins by playing an audio recording of the scene.  When the recording is finished, students should informally record two adjectives that describe their reactions or a question if they are confused. She tells them they will examine the scene for support for their adjectives or to answer their questions. The teacher explains that unlike Shakespeare’s other opening scenes, this one provides very little expository information.  Instead, its primary purpose is to establish the mood of the play.  The teacher then elicits responses in an attempt to define mood.  Once a definition – the overall feeling or atmosphere of the work –is furnished, the teacher asks the class to brainstorm ways a writer creates a feeling or mood.  The teacher records the student responses on the board.  The list could include the use of connotation, details, dialogue, imagery, figurative language, foreshadowing, setting, and/or rhythm.  The teacher then models a think-aloud and marks words from the setting’s description:   “A desert place…Thunder and lightning.” The teacher then explains the connotations of these words.  The teacher then asks every student to find one example that might evoke a similar connotation. Students should mark these on their copies of the scene.  Students might refer to the second reference of “thunder, lightening, or…rain.” Other examples might be “fog and filthy air” and the presence of witches. Once students share their responses and they are discussed, the teacher, if no one in the class mentioned them, points out the paradoxes within the scene: “when the battle is lost and won” and “fair is foul and foul is fair.”  The teacher will explain that a paradox is “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.” (dictionary.com). She will ask why inclusion of paradoxes helps establish the mood of the scene and ultimately the play. Possible responses might include a sense of confusion, chaos, deception, etc.  Students will then refer to their original adjectives to see if their initial responses were accurate.  The teacher ends by explaining that the dark and ominous mood of scene i continues throughout the play.
 

Assessment:
 

To assess learning the teacher can choose to have students complete a graphic organizer – a web works well – explaining the mood of scene ii or of another piece of literature. If using a web, students should write the mood of the piece in the center and the details that determine the mood should be in the circles.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Included Works:

ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL

AS YOU LIKE IT

THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS

CYMBELINE

THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK

THE FIRST PART OF KING HENRY THE FOURTH

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY IV

THE LIFE OF KING HENRY THE FIFTH

THE FIRST PART OF HENRY THE SIXTH

THE SECOND PART OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH

THE THIRD PART OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH

KING HENRY THE EIGHTH

KING JOHN

THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CAESAR

THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST

THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO, MOOR OF VENICE

KING RICHARD THE SECOND

KING RICHARD III

THE TRAGEDY OF ROMEO AND JULIET

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

THE TEMPEST

THE LIFE OF TIMON OF ATHENS

THE HISTORY OF TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

THE WINTER'S TALE

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Folger Shakespeare Library Lesson Plans

 

Full collection of full course lesson plans for many of Shakespeare's popular works.

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