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

"Double, double, toil and trouble": A Dual Exploration of Macbeth

Teachers' Rating:
  11 ratings

Macbeth bas relief

April 1999
Elizabeth DeGaynor, Covenant School, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Macbeth 1.1 and 1.2.1-48
What's On for Today and Why

Students should already be familar with Macbeth before undertaking this activity.

In this lesson, students will emulate a key practice of Renaissance theater: doubling. The goal of this lesson is for students to experience—to see, hear, and feel—the differences between characters (especially supernatural versus royal) when students, as actors, have to take on more than one role. They will need to understand Shakespearean language, and will need to create distinctive personas so that the audience can differentiate between characters during presentation.


This lesson will take two 50-minute class periods (20-25 minutes for preparation and the rest of the time for presentation, questions and answers, and final discussion).

What You Need

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

What To Do

1. Divide your class into groups of three.


2. Explain to the students that they will be presenting the first two scenes from Macbeth and that each of them will be playing two characters.


3. Ask the class to focus on distinctive physical characterizations and the differences in vocal quality (e.g., volume, tone, rate, inflection) between characters. Since the students will not have props, they must rely on unique movements or behavior for each character.


4. Give the class enough time to look over the scenes, determine meaning, and decide on casting and characterization. I would suggest giving them at least 20 minutes, more if you want characters to develop through repeated rehearsals.


5. Each group will present its scene to the rest of the class. Allow time for questions afterwards so that performers can defend the decisions that they made for each character.


6. After each group has performed, discuss the different choices as well as the similarities in each presentation. Try to determine which nuances of character are essential (if any), and which choices are left to the actor.

How Did It Go?
Assess this project by examining how fully the groups addressed the tasks set before them. Did their performances show a real distinction between characters? Were their choices informed by the text? Additionally, I would suggest a short response paper from each student which details the differences between the characters that he or she had to portray, along with an explanation of how those differences might affect the play as a whole. If the class has not yet read further in the play, you could also ask your students to predict the behavior of these characters throughout the rest of the play.

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.

50 CommentsOldest | Newest

what they want to do to act out the refrain. Practice once or twice...neuroflexyn
david January 26, 2015 4:13 AM

Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. heldesk
egtisham January 26, 2015 2:39 AM

I am amazed to read the content here on this site, i will come back for future posts.citation
peter January 26, 2015 1:26 AM

They will need to understand Shakespearean language, and will need to create distinctive personas so that the audience can differentiate between characters during presentation.développement site ecommerce
Jack January 25, 2015 2:41 AM

I was in vital need to get some information on this topic and thanks to you, I've got that! Thanks, once again..hospitals new jersey
peter January 24, 2015 6:47 AM

I look forward to reading your work in the future as...Webseite
peter January 24, 2015 2:23 AM

G roups such as respiratory, circulatory and a central nervous system..neuroflexyn
david January 22, 2015 6:25 AM

As well as numerous internal organ groups such as respiratory, circulatory and a central nervous system...testosterone replacement
peter January 22, 2015 1:19 AM

it, you know how to present in a way that people will want to read more. Im so happy to know someone. website wireframe tools
Jack January 22, 2015 12:45 AM

Great work! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Shame on Google for not positioning this publish higher!loose diamonds
peter January 21, 2015 4:20 AM

View More
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
Additional Information

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.

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