Tuesday, October 7, 2008

British Lit: Great Activity for Macbeth

I've been struggling through Macbeth. I think I've finally found a stride with it, where we're not going through scene by scene. Instead of having them struggle through the reading, we're doing summaries and overviews and the occasional study of a monologue. My kids had a great discussion today on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship.

I got this activity from www.bard.org/images/educationimages/macbethguide.pdf
and it could likely be used at the end of the play, but I did it after Act II, and I think I will ask these questions again at the end and compare their answers.

Divide the class into boy and girl groups and have the groups prepare organized arguments on the following questions: Is the relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth a
healthy one? Is Lady Macbeth helping Macbeth? Does Macbeth have weaknesses and does Lady
Macbeth help eliminate them? Do they make a good team as they work together? Who is stronger? Do they complement each other? Are they two halves of a whole? What attributes do you like in the couple? Would you find these attributes desirable in a boyfriend or girlfriend?

My class really responded to these questions, and while with most of the questions both male and females agreed, there definitely were some gender differences that were interesting to see.

Some questions I added to this were:
  • Are Macbeth or Lady Macbeth "crazy"?
  • Does Lady Macbeth have a conscience?
  • Would Macbeth go through with the murder if not for Lady Macbeth?
It really worked today, although discussion got a little out of hand. I think next time we'll try fishbowl or some other kind of structured discussion.

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