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Here is the PBS version with Patrick Stewart as Macbeth:


Macbeth Seminar

How does the phrase "restless ecstasy" (3.2) describe Macbeth as a character? Consider connotations, metaphor, and oxymoron.

Introductory Power Point: http://www.box.net/shared/flb1mrnku4

Macbeth Quiz Alternatives for Acts 3-5


Iambic pentameter:



Macbeth Full Text: http://www.bartleby.com/70/index41.html


Open Source Shakespeare (highly recommended): http://www.opensourceshakespeare.com/


Study Guide http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/macbeth/


No Fear Shakespeare: http://nfs.sparknotes.com/





"The Ambassadors," an emblematic painting by Holbein (1497-1543), Henry VIII's court painter.


Alciato's Book of Emblems: http://www.mun.ca/alciato/


Macbeth character analysis based on emblem analysis: Macbeth character analysis


Freud on Macbeth; Sigmund Freud's famous essay that subjects Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to some good old-fashioned psychoanalysis



Medieval Bestiary: http://bestiary.ca/


Act 4 stunts


Chatham: Perform Act 4 in less than 5 minutes. No talking. Use items around the room as props and costumes.


Lynnewood: Sing a synopsis of Act 4 to the tune of 'Old McDonald"-- at least three verses.


Coopertown: Perform a short scene that could be logically inserted in to Act 4. (Meanwhile, back at the ranch...)


Manoa: Make up a 5-question bonus point quiz on Act 4. Every one Mullen gets wrong, the class gets a bonus point.


Chestnutwold: Perform a 30-second commercial with Macbeth or Lady Macbeth as the celebrity spokesman. Allude to the play to make your pitch.  






The Macbeth  Project


The Rationale:

  • Shakespeare's plays-- or any plays, for that matter-- are meant to be seen and performed. They are meant to be experienced. Theater is a visual and auditory medium. It is a communal experience.


The Goals:

  • We are going to read Macbeth, but we will also produce it (well, some of it).
  • By doing that, we are going to learn about Shakespeare's language-- its meaning, its structure, and its depth. We will also learn about Shakespeare's characters--  their personalities, their hopes, even their delusions-- and we will understand how the words Shakespeare wrote for those characters are the raw materials at our disposal for creating them.
  • We are going to learn that theater is the creation of a mood, a tone, and an attitude. The plot is just the plot. The story goes deeper than the succession of events.


The Process:

  • Read the play.
  • Watch the play. I have the movies and the links. Here is the PBS version with Patrick Stewart as Macbeth: http://video.pbs.org/video/1604122998 
  • The class has been randomly divided into groups of three or four. 
  • Groups will select a scene from the play and perform it. 
    • It is not necessary to do the whole scene.
    • Judicious cutting that does not impede the meaning of the scene is allowed and encouraged. 
    •  No parodies. Play it "straight."
    •  Preparation can be completed in class.
    • Gender is not a consideration for roles. Women can play Macbeth and men can play Lady Macbeth. 



    • Understand the words, the images, and what the characters are saying. Mr. M will help you with that. 
    • Understand the plot, but discuss the story:
      • What is going on that the characters are NOT talking about?
      • What are characters NOT saying?
      • What is the mood and the tone of the act?  


Production choices:

  • Live theatrical performance, a maximum of 5 minutes on stage for each group.


Elements to consider:


  • Costuming

    • Keep it low-key. No need for authentic period costuming. Simple yet thematic. 
    • Thematic: No need for period costuming. Note how many versions of Shakespeare are in modern dress. 
  • Props, sets

    • Same as above. Free stuff that is not too involved. Shakespeare's sets were practically bare.
  • Music often complements a good theater experience. 


A note on acting and lines:

  • No one in either class is a professional actor, so no one will be expected to perform like one. Everyone will be expected to exhibit commitment, preparation, and energy.
  • Try to remember your lines, but also remember:
    • There are lots of ways to cheat. I will show you some tricks and invite you to devise some of your own. All I ask is no reading from books in performance.  




  •  When the group delivers the performance on time with a full company-- 70 points.
  • Quality of performance-- 30 points
    • preparation
    • energy of performance  
  • If a member of the company is absent, that member (not the company) loses points.  


Perfection is not the goal here. Make mistakes. Have fun with it.


For Senior Project:

  • Students who wish to have their work count as senior project must:
    • direct and / or produce the scene
    • be "off book."
    • write an essay on the significance of the scene to the rest of the play.  500 words. Some research. Mr Mullen will assist you with a topic and give you secondary sources for consideration.


"SCOTTY" Awards

2 daily questions

  • Best Actor (male or female)
  • Best Scene




Comments (2)

Mr. Mullen said

at 10:46 am on Nov 17, 2010

What does Macbeth do to merit his being named Thane of Cawdor?

What prophecies do the witches have for Banquo?

What is Macbeth's reaction to Duncan's naming Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland?

Mr. Mullen said

at 2:24 pm on Nov 15, 2012


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