Lesson Plans, Figurative Language,
and the Backstory of Macbeth
Fuseli, Henry, 1741-1825, artist. Macbeth consulting the vision of the armed head. (1793).
Folger Shakespeare Library Shelfmark: FPa27. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library
(under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License).
NEXUS: Macbeth and the Dark Ages
- Common Core-Aligned lessons embedded in the text
- Shakespeare’s Language made Accessible, Inspiring, and Relevant without paraphrasing or translations into modern English
- Students explore the erosion of conscience after a moral line is crossed
- Intriguing Windows into History and Culture that help Illuminate Shakespeare’s Darkest Drama
HE COLLEGE BOARD
“The wonderfully rich historical background — colorful anecdotes and clear, conversational accounts of family ties, political motives, events, and phenomena — will definitely enhance students’ study of the play. The illustrations for the 14 short sections of this volume are stunning: maps, production photos, beautiful reproductions of tapestries, and manuscript illuminations.”
LASSROOM NOTES PLUS, NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)
“Each [NEXUS] volume…is a hybrid of a well-written interdisciplinary textbook and a lively, attractive magazine.”
Aligned with Common Core Standards. For secondary students.
Figurative Language in Macbeth – Macbeth Themes and Lessons
Lesson on Creative Ways of Staging Macbeth
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1, RL.2, RL.3, and RL.5 (for 9-10 and 11-12).he Macbeth theme of conscience vs. ambition is explored in a Stratford, Ontario production in which Macbeth’s personality is split between several versions of the character. At the same time, Stratford Festival director Richard Rose, the former head of the Festival’s Young Company, teaches students to read the subtext of Macbeth from multiple viewpoints and to stage the play with a modern spin. This chapter is aligned with
Macbeth Figurative Language Lesson
Macbeth Themes Lesson: Fatal Passion and The War Within
Macbeth Witches Lesson – Cauldron of Chaos
Macbeth Pre-Reading Activities – The Backstory of Shakespeare’s Darkest Drama
Macbeth Pre-Reading Lesson for Act 1: Macbeth and the Vikings
he Viking (Norwegian) invasion that begins the play is supported by Scottish rebels. Such alliances were typical in the 10th and 11th centuries. In this chapter students investigate the the Viking assaults on Scotland and the Scottish factionalism that it provoked. This chapter prepares students to understand not only the opening scene of the Scottish play, but also the closing scenes (Siward was a Viking).
Unraveling the Bayeux Tapestry Lesson
Bayeux Tapestry provides contemporary views of feudal customs, military dress, battle tactics, medieval dining and so forth.n this lesson students explore the Battle of Hastings – which reshaped Scotland during Malcolm and his son’s reigns nearly as much as it did England – through the Bayeux Tapestry’s scene-by-scene the lead-up to the battle and the battle itself. In addition, the
Royal Murder and the Real Macbeth – Macbeth Pre-Reading Lesson
his lesson introduces students to the real Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and investigates the bloody competition for the throne that dominated Scottish politics throughout the 10th and 11th centuries. The lesson also explores the reign of Macbeth’s successor, Malcolm III, who was exiled at the court of Edward the Confessor during Macbeth’s reign. In addition students learn how the death of Macbeth helped make the consolidation and Anglicization of Scotland possible under Malcolm (Shakespeare implies the latter in the final scene).
Malcolm Canmore and Saint Margaret of Scotland
rom this lesson students learn the enormous influence of Malcolm III’s Anglo-Saxon queen, Saint Margaret of Scotland, on the next two centuries of Scottish history. Malcolm’s and Margaret’s marriage was an important side effect of the Battle of Hastings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2, RH.3, RH.6, RH.8 and RH.9 (for 9-10 and 11-12).his lesson meets Common Core History Standards
Macbeth Pre-Reading Lesson for Act 4 – Edward the Confessor
tudents investigate Edward the Confessor’s role as an exemplary king in Macbeth. They also explore how events during Edward’s reign led to the Battle of Hastings.
Lesson on Reading Visual Metaphors in Medieval Art
- Reinforces literary figurative language reading skills and appeals, in particular, to visual learners
Metaphors in Illuminated Manuscripts
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1, RL.4 and RL.7 (for 9-10 and 11-12).n this lesson students identify and explicate visual metaphors and contrasts in two medieval images of Hell Mouths and relate them to the Porter Scene in Macbeth. Morality plays about the Mouth or Gate of Hell were very popular during Shakespeare’s youth; the Porter’s allusion to the Mouth of Hell in Macbeth would have resonated with a Shakespeare audience. This lesson meets Common Core Language Arts Standards
Books of Light – Illuminated Manuscripts Lesson
Manuscript Making Lesson, the Monk’s Art
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4 and RL.7 (for 9-10 and 11-12) as well as National Core Arts Standards 1 through 8.n this lesson, a modern manuscript illuminator takes students through the stages of illumination enabling them to illuminate a scene from Macbeth, using techniques discussed in this section, as well as patterns, limited palette and visual metaphors that reflect metaphors or themes in the play. Lesson meets Common Core Language Arts Standards
Bayeux Tapestry and the tapestry borders, which provide an alternative Saxon perspective that seems to contradict the Norman point of view emblazoned in the principle imagery. Students also explore techniques employed in creating this celebrated visual history of the Battle of Hastings.tudents learn to read the pictorial language of the
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7 (for 9-10 and 11-12) as well as National Core Arts Standards 7, 8, 9 and 11.his lesson meets Common Core Language Arts Standard
Medieval Music and Science
An 11th-Century Musical Revolutionary
n this lesson students explore the work of Guido of Arezzo whose book on medieval music theory, Micrologus, laid the foundation for Western musical notation. The lesson also emphasizes the importance of recognizing musical patterns in sight singing.
The Trebuchet— Nightmare Weapon of the Middle Ages
n this lesson students investigate the history and laws of physics associated with the most powerful weapon of the Middle Ages: the concepts of potential energy and work, and the physics of levers, hinges and rotational motion are examined.
his chapter is aligned with the following Common Core Science Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.1, RST.2, RST.3 RST.5, and RST.7 (for 9-10- and 11-12) and includes activities.
Macbeth Lesson Plans, Teaching Guidelines, and Supplements
NEXUS Supplements can be accessed under the SUPPLEMENTS menu. NOTE: NEXUS supplements and magazines are protected by U.S. Copyright and cannot be photocopied, photographed or downloaded.
n the Medieval Armor Supplementary lesson students examine the type of armor Macbeth and MacDuff would have worn, and they learn about the evolution of armor through the centuries.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2 and RH.4 (for 9-10 and 11-12).his lesson is aligned with Common Core History Standards
his lesson introduces students to the Romanesque style, which spread from France to most of Western Europe during the Macbeth era. However, like other Continental influences, Romanesque Architecture reached Scotland late. The supplement focuses on the Fortress Cathedral of Durham, which was begun in northern England the year Malcolm III and Saint Margaret died, 1093, and helped defend the border between Scotland and England.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2, RH.4 and RH.8 (for 9-10 and 11-12)his supplementary lesson is aligned with Common Core History Standards
he Braveheart and Bruce supplementary lesson explores the unification of Scotland & England, which is alluded to in Macbeth. The unification of the two kingdoms began, of course, with James I, two or three years before Shakespeare wrote his tragedy.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2, RH.3, RH.6, RH.8 and RH.9. (for 9-10 and 11-12).his lesson is aligned with Common Core History Standards
e provide free interdisciplinary Macbeth lesson plans with interdisciplinary activities for all subjects with class-set orders of Macbeth and the Dark Ages.
Macbeth Vocabulary (Coming Soon)
Macbeth Quizzes (Coming Soon)
- Macbeth Test (Coming Soon)
- Shakespeare Study Hall/Macbeth (Spring 2020)
Macbeth vocabulary exercises and quizzes, plot quizzes and the Macbeth Test will soon be available.
GUIDELINES: The outstanding and thorough Macbeth Guidelines provide additional lesson ideas for using the NEXUS book, suggestions for reports, research and cross curricular projects, including dramatic stagings of scenes from Macbeth and other Shakespeare plays. They also include multiple suggestions for ancillary readings in primary sources that offer different perspectives on the same topic and teach students to recognize biases in divergent accounts. Thus they enable teachers to rigorously meet three Common Core Anchor Standards:
“Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.”
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.