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
Hurly-burly – chaos
Ere – before
Heath – moorland, harsh, wild landscape
Fair – correct or right, good, beautiful
Foul – bad, ugly, rotten, repulsive
A desert place
Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.
That will be ere the set of sun.
Where the place?
Upon the heath.
There to meet with Macbeth.
I come, Graymalkin!
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
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
Research the theme of the Supernatural in Macbeth and write a few notes on how it relates to this opening scene.
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?
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.
This course includes:
- A full set of video lessons on each key element of the text: summary, themes, setting, characters, context, attitudes, analysis of key quotes, essay questions, essay examples
- Downloadable documents for each video lesson
- A range of example B-A* grade essays, both at GCSE and A-Level with teacher comments and mark scheme feedback
- A bonus Macbeth workbook designed to guide you through each scene of the play