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Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth (1) - The Plot

In this worksheet, students will ensure that they are confident with the plot of Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth'.

'Reading Shakespeare: Macbeth (1) - The Plot' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Set, Plot and Character Awareness

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In this worksheet, you will make sure that you fully understand the plot of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Read the following summaries to remind you of the plot and then answer the questions that follow. 

 

Read this summary of the opening of the play and answer the following questions.

 

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part one            

The play is set in Scotland and begins with the three witches and then moves to a military camp, where the Scottish King Duncan hears the news that his generals, Macbeth and Banquo, have been successful in battle. Macbeth and Banquo then meet the witches and the witches prophesy that Macbeth will be made Thane of Cawdor and eventually King of Scotland. They also prophesy that Banquo’s sons will be kings but he will never become King himself.

The witches vanish, and Macbeth and Banquo don’t really believe the witches until Macbeth is named Thane of Cawdor for his skill in battle. Macbeth is now intrigued by the possibility that the the witches’ prophecies may all come true. He arranges for Duncan to dine at his castle and then Macbeth writes ahead to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches’ prophecies.

**************

 

Where is the play set?

What three things do the witches prophesy for Macbeth and Banquo?

 

Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor.

Banquo will become Thane of Glamis.

Banquo's sons will become kings.

Macbeth's sons will become kings.

Macbeth will become King.

Macbeth will die in battle.

How is Macbeth rewarded for his bravery and success in battle?

 

with a gold medal

given the title of Thane of Glamis

given the title of Thane of Cawdor

Now read some more of the plot summary and answer the questions that follow. 

      

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part two

When Lady Macbeth reads the letter, she is ambitious and wants Macbeth to be King so she decides they need to kill King Duncan.

When Macbeth arrives at their castle, she talks him out of his concerns and persuades him to kill the king that very night. He and Lady Macbeth plan to get Duncan’s two chamberlains drunk so they will fall asleep and then the next morning they will blame the murder on the chamberlains, who will be defenceless, as they will remember nothing.

While Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him. This takes him a while to do because he has so many doubts and a supernatural vision of a bloody dagger. When Duncan’s death is discovered the next morning, Macbeth kills the chamberlains, pretending to be angry at their crime, and becomes King.

Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland, fearing that whoever killed Duncan will try and kill them as well.

**************

 

Which words do you feel best describe Lady Macbeth's reaction to Macbeth's letter?

Choose two words.

scared

ambitious

driven

hesitant

Who do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan to blame for the murder?

 

Macbeth is clearly scared when he goes to murder Duncan. What image does he see before him?

a crown

a castle

a bloody dagger

Once Macbeth becomes King, what do Duncan's sons do?

try to get revenge

escape to England

try to challenge Macbeth for the crown

Now read about more of the plot and answer the questions.

      

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part three  

Macbeth remembers the witches’ prophecies and is worried that Banquo’s sons will take the throne so he hires a group of murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. They kill Banquo but his son Fleance escapes.

At the feast that night, Banquo’s ghost visits Macbeth. When he sees the ghost, Macbeth becomes scared and starts to rave. Lady Macbeth tries to cover up Macbeth’s strange behaviour.

Frightened, Macbeth goes to visit the witches in their cavern. There they give him three prophecies: he must beware of Macduff, a Scottish nobleman who was against Macbeth becoming King; he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman; and he will be safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle.

Macbeth now feels relieved because he knows that all men are born of women and that forests cannot move. Macduff flees to England and so Macbeth in a fit of anger has his wife and children killed in their castle.

**************

 

Sequence the following series of events in the correct order.

Column A

Column B

1
Banquo is murdered but Fleance escapes.
2
Macbeth hires some murderers to kill Banquo and hi...
3
Macbeth is worried that Banquo's sons will challen...
4
Macbeth is haunted by Banquo's ghost at the banque...
5
Macbeth remembers the witches' prophecies.

Macbeth revisits the witches. What three prophecies do they make?

to beware of Fleance

to beware of Macduff

that only a man not born of a woman can harm him

that he is safe until his castle moves

that he is safe until Birnam Wood moves

Which word best sums up Macbeth's reaction to these latest prophecies?

fear

excitement

relief

Macduff flees to England. What does Macbeth do as a result of this?

Macbeth follows him.

Macbeth has his wife and children killed.

Macbeth does nothing.

Now read this summary of the final part of the play and answer the following questions.

 

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part four

When Macduff learns that his family have been executed, he vows revenge. Prince Malcolm, Duncan’s son, has formed an army in England, and Macduff joins him. They ride to Scotland to challenge Macbeth’s forces.

Lady Macbeth, meanwhile, is sleepwalking and trying to wash imaginary blood stains from her hands. She then kills herself. Macbeth falls into despair but he awaits the attack from the English. When he learns that the English army is coming towards Dunsinane shielded with tree branches cut from Birnam Wood, Macbeth is terrified. Birnam Wood is indeed coming to Dunsinane, fulfilling half of the witches’ prophecy.

In the battle, the English army are stronger. On the battlefield, Macbeth fights against the vengeful Macduff. He declares that he was not “of woman born” but was instead “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb (what we now call birth by caesarean section). Though he realizes that he is doomed, Macbeth continues to fight until Macduff kills and beheads him. Malcolm is now the King of Scotland.

**************

 

Which two characters travel from England to Scotland with an army ready to challenge Macbeth?

Malcolm

Fleance

Donald

Macduff

What three things show that Lady Macbeth was deeply troubled by her part in Duncan's murder?

 

nightmares

sleep-walking

seeing imaginary blood on her hands

crying

her own suicide

The witches' final prophecies come true and Macbeth is killed by Macduff. Who becomes the rightful King of Scotland?

  • Question 1

Read this summary of the opening of the play and answer the following questions.

 

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part one            

The play is set in Scotland and begins with the three witches and then moves to a military camp, where the Scottish King Duncan hears the news that his generals, Macbeth and Banquo, have been successful in battle. Macbeth and Banquo then meet the witches and the witches prophesy that Macbeth will be made Thane of Cawdor and eventually King of Scotland. They also prophesy that Banquo’s sons will be kings but he will never become King himself.

The witches vanish, and Macbeth and Banquo don’t really believe the witches until Macbeth is named Thane of Cawdor for his skill in battle. Macbeth is now intrigued by the possibility that the the witches’ prophecies may all come true. He arranges for Duncan to dine at his castle and then Macbeth writes ahead to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her about the witches’ prophecies.

**************

 

Where is the play set?

CORRECT ANSWER
Scotland
in Scotland
EDDIE SAYS
The play is set in Scotland.
  • Question 2

What three things do the witches prophesy for Macbeth and Banquo?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor.
Banquo's sons will become kings.
Macbeth will become King.
EDDIE SAYS
The correct answers are:
That Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor.
That Banquo's sons will become kings.
That Macbeth will become King.
  • Question 3

How is Macbeth rewarded for his bravery and success in battle?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
given the title of Thane of Cawdor
EDDIE SAYS
Macbeth is given the title of Thane of Cawdor.
  • Question 4

Now read some more of the plot summary and answer the questions that follow. 

      

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part two

When Lady Macbeth reads the letter, she is ambitious and wants Macbeth to be King so she decides they need to kill King Duncan.

When Macbeth arrives at their castle, she talks him out of his concerns and persuades him to kill the king that very night. He and Lady Macbeth plan to get Duncan’s two chamberlains drunk so they will fall asleep and then the next morning they will blame the murder on the chamberlains, who will be defenceless, as they will remember nothing.

While Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him. This takes him a while to do because he has so many doubts and a supernatural vision of a bloody dagger. When Duncan’s death is discovered the next morning, Macbeth kills the chamberlains, pretending to be angry at their crime, and becomes King.

Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland, fearing that whoever killed Duncan will try and kill them as well.

**************

 

Which words do you feel best describe Lady Macbeth's reaction to Macbeth's letter?

Choose two words.

CORRECT ANSWER
ambitious
driven
EDDIE SAYS
Lady Macbeth is ambitious and driven.
  • Question 5

Who do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan to blame for the murder?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
the chamberlains
chamberlains
EDDIE SAYS
They plan to blame the chamberlains.
  • Question 6

Macbeth is clearly scared when he goes to murder Duncan. What image does he see before him?

CORRECT ANSWER
a bloody dagger
EDDIE SAYS
He sees a bloody dagger.
  • Question 7

Once Macbeth becomes King, what do Duncan's sons do?

CORRECT ANSWER
escape to England
EDDIE SAYS
They escape to England.
  • Question 8

Now read about more of the plot and answer the questions.

      

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part three  

Macbeth remembers the witches’ prophecies and is worried that Banquo’s sons will take the throne so he hires a group of murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. They kill Banquo but his son Fleance escapes.

At the feast that night, Banquo’s ghost visits Macbeth. When he sees the ghost, Macbeth becomes scared and starts to rave. Lady Macbeth tries to cover up Macbeth’s strange behaviour.

Frightened, Macbeth goes to visit the witches in their cavern. There they give him three prophecies: he must beware of Macduff, a Scottish nobleman who was against Macbeth becoming King; he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman; and he will be safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle.

Macbeth now feels relieved because he knows that all men are born of women and that forests cannot move. Macduff flees to England and so Macbeth in a fit of anger has his wife and children killed in their castle.

**************

 

Sequence the following series of events in the correct order.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1
Macbeth remembers the witches' pr...
2
Macbeth is worried that Banquo's ...
3
Macbeth hires some murderers to k...
4
Banquo is murdered but Fleance es...
5
Macbeth is haunted by Banquo's gh...
EDDIE SAYS
1 - Macbeth remembers the witches' prophecies.
2 - Macbeth is worried that Banquo's sons will challenge him for the kingship.
3 - Macbeth hires some murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance.
4 - Banquo is murdered but Fleance escapes.
5 - Macbeth is haunted by Banquo's ghost at the banquet.
  • Question 9

Macbeth revisits the witches. What three prophecies do they make?

CORRECT ANSWER
to beware of Macduff
that only a man not born of a woman can harm him
that he is safe until Birnam Wood moves
EDDIE SAYS
He must beware of Macduff; he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman; and he will be safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle.
  • Question 10

Which word best sums up Macbeth's reaction to these latest prophecies?

CORRECT ANSWER
relief
EDDIE SAYS
Relief best sums up Macbeth's reaction to the prophecies.
  • Question 11

Macduff flees to England. What does Macbeth do as a result of this?

CORRECT ANSWER
Macbeth has his wife and children killed.
EDDIE SAYS
Macbeth has Macduff's wife and children killed.
  • Question 12

Now read this summary of the final part of the play and answer the following questions.

 

**************

The Plot of Macbeth - part four

When Macduff learns that his family have been executed, he vows revenge. Prince Malcolm, Duncan’s son, has formed an army in England, and Macduff joins him. They ride to Scotland to challenge Macbeth’s forces.

Lady Macbeth, meanwhile, is sleepwalking and trying to wash imaginary blood stains from her hands. She then kills herself. Macbeth falls into despair but he awaits the attack from the English. When he learns that the English army is coming towards Dunsinane shielded with tree branches cut from Birnam Wood, Macbeth is terrified. Birnam Wood is indeed coming to Dunsinane, fulfilling half of the witches’ prophecy.

In the battle, the English army are stronger. On the battlefield, Macbeth fights against the vengeful Macduff. He declares that he was not “of woman born” but was instead “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb (what we now call birth by caesarean section). Though he realizes that he is doomed, Macbeth continues to fight until Macduff kills and beheads him. Malcolm is now the King of Scotland.

**************

 

Which two characters travel from England to Scotland with an army ready to challenge Macbeth?

CORRECT ANSWER
Malcolm
Macduff
EDDIE SAYS
Malcolm and Macduff travel from England to Scotland ready to challenge Macbeth.
  • Question 13

What three things show that Lady Macbeth was deeply troubled by her part in Duncan's murder?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
sleep-walking
seeing imaginary blood on her hands
her own suicide
EDDIE SAYS
Sleep-walking, seeing imaginary blood on her hands and her own suicide show that Lady Macbeth was deeply troubled by her part in Duncan's murder.
  • Question 14

The witches' final prophecies come true and Macbeth is killed by Macduff. Who becomes the rightful King of Scotland?

CORRECT ANSWER
Malcolm
EDDIE SAYS
Malcolm becomes the rightful King of Scotland.
---- OR ----

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