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Analyse the role of key characters and their development in 'Macbeth'

In this worksheet, students will revise the main characters in 'Macbeth', analysing how they develop over the course of the play.

'Analyse the role of key characters and their development in 'Macbeth'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas,

Curriculum topic:   Shakespeare

Curriculum subtopic:   Macbeth

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

In Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth', the key character is identified in the title! Macbeth is the eponymous character as the play is named after him. This is a clear hint to us that we should begin any study of the play by analysing how Macbeth may be considered as a tragic hero.


We must always remember that because Shakespeare was writing a play to be performed in front of an audience, he imagined an actor bringing his character to life on stage. But as readers, we are an audience too! How we feel about Macbeth is important. Keep a note of your own thoughts and observe if they change as you notice Macbeth's character developing - this counts as a personal response and will help to enrich your answers.




We can use these three methods to learn about a character in a play:


1) What they say

2) What they do

3) What other characters say about them

(Also, where there are stage directions we can gain insight into the playwright's intentions.)


This is a great way to collect some memorable quotations - they may be just one word or a short phrase that you can use as your evidence and analysis in your PEA paragraphs.


Another comprehension technique is to track the character throughout the play. Macbeth appears in all five acts, so by noting what he says, what he does, and what others say about him at different points in the play, it makes it easier to comment on his character development. Macbeth opens the play as the hero, but transforms into a villain by the final scenes.


You can also track the play structurally. If you're able to identify structural components, this will help you write a more sophisticated answer. One final reminder: when using the play's title, put '...' around it like this: 'Macbeth'. When writing about the character known as Macbeth, don't, it is just his name!


You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.

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