Shakespeare’s Times• During the reign of Elizabeth 1 public concern over witchcraft grew. In 1564 a law was passed making murder by witchcraft punishable by death.• In Scotland 8,000 witches were burned to death between 1564 & 1603.• King James 1 became personally involved with witchcraft when he and his wife Anne were almost shipwrecked on returning to Scotland from Denmark in 1590.
• Dr Fian and the “witches of Berwick” were found guilty of trying to kill them by raising storms at sea.• James 1 published a book on witchcraft named Demonology in 1597.
Divine Order• In Jacobean times people believed that the whole universe had an order that was decided by God. Anything unnatural was against the divine order. Kings were God’s agents , so action against a King was a crime against God. Satan, who had rebelled against God, was responsible, through witches and evil spirits, for all attacks on the divine order.
• Shakespeare would have been well aware of his patron the king’s interest in and fear of witchcraft and so has chosen to make the witches the catalyst for all the evil events which occur in the play.• They lead Macbeth into evil deeds but also trick him into feeling invincible.• Banquo, who was an ancestor of James remains uncorrupted by them.
Lesson Objectives• To fully understand Shakespeare’s use of language in Act 1 Scene 1 of Macbeth.
Act One Scene One• Why do you think the scene opens with thunder & lightning?• This is the first scene, what tone does it set?• What is “the heath ?”• What are “Greymalkin & Paddock?• What do you think they mean by “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”?• What do you notice about the way the witches speak?
Your TurnThis is a chance to improve your Speaking &Listening Role Play mark.Split into groups of three.Practise a performance of this opening scene.Try as much as possible to do without yourscript. Concentrate on conveying a sense of evil.
Beliefs about witches• They were often held responsible for the death of animals.• They travelled the seas in sieves.• When witches transformed themselves into animals they were often incomplete.• They could control the winds.• Parts of corpses were used in casting spells.• The number 3 and its multiples were regarded as magic numbers.
Act 1 Scene 3• What does the first witch say she has been doing?• What does the second witch say she is going to do?• What is the second witch carrying with her?• What impression to we gain of the witches from their conversation up to line 30?
Line 38Macbeth and Banquo are on their way backfrom battle where they have defeated theNorwegian forces who have been trying tooverthrow King Duncan. The Norwegians werehelped by the Thane of Cawdor, a Scottish lordwho has turned traitor.Line 38 “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.”Macbeth’s words echo those of the witches inscene 1.
Line 39 - 46What do we learn about thewitches’ appearance from whatBanquo says in these lines?
Line 47 - 69• What 3 things do the witches say to Macbeth?• What do they say to Banquo?
Line 70 -133• What news does Ross bring?• What is Banquo’s reaction?(line 107)• How does the news seem to effect Macbeth?• Line 120 – 127. What does Banquo warn Macbeth about?
Act Four Scene OneBy this stage in the play Macbeth has killedDuncan and become king. He was tormented bythe fact that according to the witches Banquo’sancestors would become kings so he has hiredmurderers to kill him. Banquo’s son escaped sothere is still a chance that the witches prophecycould come true. Macbeth goes to find thewitches again to ask them about this.
Lines 1 - 39The witches are in the process of mixing a spell.• List the ingredients.• What do you notice about the rhythm and rhyme in this section?
The ApparitionsThese are conjured by the witches’ spell.• What are the first three apparitions and what do they tell Macbeth?• What does the fourth appear to show?• Line 44/45 What do the lines “By the pricking of my thumbs..”etc tell us about Macbeth?• Why is line 138 “Infected by the air whereon they ride, And damned all those that trust them” ironic?
BetrayalNow you have watched theending of Macbeth explain howthe witches have betrayedMacbeth’s trust in them.
A film presentation of the witches• Where is the opening of the play set?• How are the witches dressed?• What are they doing?• What effect do they have on the audience?
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