in Drama, Essay Technique, Shakespeare, Writing Skills

In this article you’ll find text and study questions from Act 1, Scene 1 in Macbeth.

PROPHECY AND EVIL 

TASK 1: Read

  • Read aloud if you can manage it
  • If you get lost with the language, listen to a recording or watch a production of the scene on Youtube

Vocabulary: 

Hurly-burly – chaos

Ere – before 

Heath – moorland, harsh, wild landscape 

Fair – correct or right, good, beautiful 

Foul – bad, ugly, rotten, repulsive 

Macbeth Study Questions Witches
Decamps, Alexandre-Gabriel; The Witches in ‘Macbeth’; The Wallace Collection; Source: Wikimedia commons

A desert place

Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches

First Witch

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch

When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch

Where the place?

Second Witch

Upon the heath.

Third Witch

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch

Paddock calls.

Third Witch

Anon.

ALL

Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Exeunt

TASK 2: Reading comprehension questions

  • What is the setting of this scene? How does it contribute to the mood and atmosphere of the play as a whole?
  • Who are the first characters that we meet in the play?
  • What do they speak about? 
  • What is the meaning of ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’? 

TASK 3: Research

THEME: SUPERNATURAL 

Research the theme of the Supernatural in Macbeth and write a few notes on how it relates to this opening scene. 

CONTEXT: WITCHES 

Spend time research the connection between King James I, Macbeth and Witches. What did people believe about witches in the Jacboean era (Shakespeare’s time)? Why do you think Shakespeare included witches as characters in the play?


If you need a refresher about Shakespeare‘s “Macbeth”, click this link where we have an in-depth summary or this one for Key Quotations.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this, we have a whole course dedicated to William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, where you can find many useful documents.

COMING SOON: Macbeth Masterclass – click this link for more information.

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