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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:  

Curriculum subtopic:  

Difficulty level:  

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. 

 

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

 

Cauldron with smoke coming out of it

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.

Now read some 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 defenseless, 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

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?

Golden crown

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

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

Witches with cauldron

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

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

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

 

Cauldron with smoke coming out of it

CORRECT ANSWER
Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor.
Banquo's sons will become kings.
Macbeth will become King.
EDDIE SAYS
These prophecies set Macbeth down the path of murder and contribute to his evil decisions throughout the play.
  • Question 2

Now read some 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 defenseless, 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. She is the one to manipulate a reluctant Macbeth into going ahead with murdering Duncan in order to make the witches prophecy come true.
  • Question 3

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. This reveals his confused and anxious state of mind before the murder.
  • Question 4

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

Golden crown

CORRECT ANSWER
escape to England
EDDIE SAYS
They escape to England. They are worried that they will be killed next, but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth twist it to make it seem they were involved in a plot to murder their father.
  • Question 5

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
Macbeth being haunted by the ghost of Banquo suggests that he does feel some guilt or remorse for what he has done. However, the decision to kill a child (Fleance) marks a downward shift in Macbeth's character.
  • Question 6

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

Witches with cauldron

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
The witches prophecies here give Macbeth a false sense of security; he feels that he is invincible.
  • Question 7

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 8

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 9

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 10

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, as Duncan's eldest son. It is unknown at the end of the play if the witches' prophecy about Banquo's descendants becoming kings will come true.
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