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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's Tortured Sonnets

Teachers' Rating:
  15 ratings

Georg Goldberg after Valentine Walter Bromley. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Engraving, 19th century

November 2006
Hannah Kang teaches English at Garden City High School in Garden City, New York.

Plays/Scenes Covered

Sonnets 71, 144, 147, 148 and Macbeth

What's On for Today and Why

Today, students will read four of Shakespeare's sonnets that can be read from either Macbeth's or Lady Macbeth's point of view. Students will analyze the sonnets and determine whose point of view is being expressed and support their decision with textual evidence.


This activity will take two to three class periods to complete.

What To Do

1. Choose one of the selected sonnets to read together as a class making sure that students understand the text: who is the speaker? What is his/her point of view?


2. Have students highlight words that indicate whether the point of view of the narrator best fits Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Ask students to be specific about where and when in the plot the sonnet might fit in.


4. Ask a student to perform the sonnet for the class as the character the students have selected. If they have multiple opinions, have them perform it multiple times. How does the effect change?


5. Divide students into small groups and give them one of the remaining sonnets. Have them repeat the process with one member of each group performing the sonnet to the rest of the class. Do the students find any of the choices surprising? Why?


6. As a follow-up activity, have students write a formal analysis comparing and contrasting the elements of one sonnet to the play.

How Did It Go?
How did working with the sonnets enhance the students' understanding of the relationship between characters and events in 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.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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