Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Anon Methought the Umbrellas Began to Move

Teachers' Rating:
  29 ratings

John Jellicoe and Herbert Railton. Macbeth at the Lyceum. Pen and ink drawing, 1889 (Detail)

October 2000
John Fennell, Cape Fear Academy, Wilmington, North Carolina.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Macbeth 4.1, 5.4, & 5.5
What's On for Today and Why

This activity involves the whole class in a simple but effective dramatization of the Third Apparition's prophecy in 4.1 regarding Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane. The exercise employs a series of theater games that culminate in a reenactment of the moment in 5.5 when Birnam Wood approaches Dunsinane. This lesson works very well with both middle and high school students.


This lesson will take one class period.

What You Need

Folger edition of Macbeth
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts




A film version of Macbeth that includes the Birnam Wood scene.

Copies of Birnam Handout
What To Do

1. The day before you introduce this exercise, ask each student to bring an umbrella to class the next day. Umbrellas can be any size and any color.


2. The following day, divide the class into two groups facing one another without their umbrellas. Ask one group to chant the Third Apparition's prophecy to Macbeth in 4.1 and ask the second group recite Macbeth's response (see handout below). Repeat several times. Have the groups switch roles. Repeat the exercise until the class can recite the lines without referring to the handout.


3. Now have one group read the part of the Messenger and the other group read Macbeth's lines from 5.5 (see handout below). Ask the two groups to read the dialogue back and forth. When the class is comfortable with the language of the second dialogue, ask if anyone can explain what they think is happening. What is the tone or mood these two readings create?


4. Have three volunteers read the dialogue involving Malcolm, Menteith, and Siward in 5.4 (see handout below) and begin a class discussion. How does changing the chronological order of the scenes effect the reading?


5. Now ask your students to get their umbrellas and to hold them quietly by their sides. Explain that the umbrellas represent the trees of Birnam Wood, and that the students are now the troops Malcolm has brought from England to fight Macbeth. Ask your students to arrange themselves around the room so that they can open their umbrellas without bumping into their neighbors and tell them to hide behind their "trees."


6. Have a volunteer give Malcolm's orders from 5.4. Following the order, the troops march around the room (ideally accompanied by some percussion). As they march, have the troops chant the Third Apparition's prophecy from memory. Have a volunteer recite Macbeth's response from memory.


7. Ask the troops to freeze. Have the class close their umbrellas. Divide the students into two new groups facing one another. The umbrellas are now "swords" and "spears." Have one group represent Macbeth's army, the other group Malcolm's army. Have the two armies advance on one another, swords and spears raised towards the ceiling in slow motion (SAFETY MUST BE STRESSED). As the armies clash (umbrellas touch) have everyone give a mighty war cry and freeze again.


8. Ask students to return to their seats. Show them the Birnam Wood scene from any of the many movie versions of Macbeth available on DVD (the Japanese film, Throne of Blood, has a particularly striking sequence).

How Did It Go?
Did your students learn the dialogue without referring to handouts? Did they become more comfortable with Shakespeare's language? Did they enjoy performing?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

Login or register to post comments.

15 CommentsOldest | Newest

Terima kasih untuk info infonya, Obat Nyeri Lutut Obat Limpa Bengkak
firmansyah November 26, 2014 11:12 PM

Terima kasih banyak untuk informasinya, kunjungi kami juga, Obat Asam Urat
firmansyah November 26, 2014 11:10 PM

Terima kasih untuk informasinya, Obat Rematik Obat Diabetes Melitus
firmansyah November 26, 2014 11:04 PM

There are recommended daily pengobatan alternatif kanker allowances with the consumption of minerals vitamins. Screenings are for girls who have never had cancers of the breast or other problems with their breasts.
feby November 26, 2014 3:48 AM

The information you have posted is very useful http://apkmoddata.com/subway-surfers-1-30-0-mod-apk/
fitri November 26, 2014 1:33 AM

Website yang bagus, Obat Demam Berdarah Herbal

Obat Penyakit Asam Urat

firmansyah November 25, 2014 1:31 AM

Sangat Informatif sekali beritanya, terima kasih, Obat Tipes Tradisional

firmansyah November 24, 2014 9:35 PM

Sangat berkualitas tampilan websitenya, Ulasannya juga sangat informatif, Obat Asam Lambung Tradisional

firmansyah November 24, 2014 9:28 PM

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. http://apkmoddata.com/
fitri November 16, 2014 12:44 AM

Strong people are well aware of his weakness, weak people never realize its advantages how to prevent anti aging , find here
fitri November 16, 2014 12:43 AM

View More
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users:

If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix:
Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

Related Items

Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623