I’ve used this twice now and it works pretty well as a revision tool.
Here’s what to do:
1. Print off Plot Phase One. Cut it up into strips, then try to put it back together in order.
2. Repeat for Plot Phase 2, 3, 4 & 5.
Here’s how I’ve done it with my class (bear in mind that my desks are in clusters, not rows):
Students work in groups of 3 ideally. So if there are 30 in the class, you’ll need to print off 10 sets, to be cut into jigsaws. Also print off ten extras of each plot phase – this is what you’ll hand them to check their answers as they complete each ‘jigsaw’. The advantage of this, rather than projecting the answers up on to the whiteboard is that each group can work at their own pace and self-assess as they go.
WARNING: this cutting up into jigsaws bit can be quite time consuming. Perhaps ask some first years for help at lunch time – they love cutting stuff up!
HERE ARE THE PLOT PHASES:
PLOT PHASE ONE from Witches opening scene to Macbeth’s decision to murder Duncan
- WITCHES = CORRUPT “Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air”
- MACB = TRUSTED WARRIOR “brave Macbeth” “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman”
- MACB = VIOLENT “unseamed him from the nave to th’chops & fixed his head upon our battlements”
- DUNCAN = DECISIVE “go pronounce his present death and with his former title greet Macbeth”
- WITCHES = LIMITED POWERS “though his bark cannot be lost yet it shall be tempest tossed”
- PROPHESY to MACBETH “All hail to thee… that shalt be King hereafter”
- BANQUO Q’s MACBETH‘s reaction “Why do you start & seem to fear things which do sound so fair?”
- BANQUO ASKS 4 PROPHECY “speak to me then who neither beg nor fear your favours nor your hate”
- PROPHESY to BANQUO “Thou shalt get Kings though thou be none”
- MACBETH’s NEW TITLE “Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?”
- BANQUO’s WARNING “oftentimes to win us to their harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles to betray us in deepest consequence”
- MACBETH’s TEMPTATION soliloquy no. 1 “why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature?”
- MACBETH RESISTS TEMPT “If chance will have me King why chance may crown me without my stir”
- DUNCAN RE: APPEARANCES “there’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”
- DUNCAN REWARDS LOYALTY to Macbeth “More is thy due than more than all can pay. I have begun to plant thee and will labour to make thee full of growing”. To Banquo “thou hast no less deserved. Let me infold thee & hold thee to my heart” to which Banquo replies “there if I grow the harvest is your own”.
- DUNCAN’s HEIR “we will establish our estate upon our eldest Malcolm”
- MACBETH’s REACTION TO HEIR NEWS “This is a step on which I must fall down or else o’er-leap for in my way it lies. Stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires”
- LADY MACBETH RECEIVES LETTER “my dearest partner of greatness”
- LADY M’s soliloquy “yet do I fear thy nature, it is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great, art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it”… “hie thee hither that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise thee with the valour of my tongue…”
- LADY M requests help! “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty”
- DUNCAN ARRIVES “this castle hath a pleasant seat” “our honoured hostess” “fair & noble hostess”
- MACBETH TEMPTED AGAIN soliloquy no. 2 “if this blow might be the be-all and the end-all we’d jump the life to come. But…we still have judgement here..” “He’s here in double trust, first as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then as his host who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself” …“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent but only vaulting ambition”
- DUNCAN = GREAT KING Macbeth’s tribute, soliloquy no. 2 “This Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead out trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off”
- MACBETH & LADY M. ARGUE ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO KILL DUNCAN
“We will proceed no further in this business. I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people which would be worn now in their newest gloss not cast aside so soon” – Macbeth
“Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself?”… “From this time such I account thy love”… “live a coward in thine own esteem” – Lady M
“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none” – Macbeth
“When you durst do it then you were a man” … “I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me – I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed his brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this” – Lady Macbeth
“If we should fail?” – Macbeth
“We fail. But screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail” – Lady Macbeth
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know” – Macbeth
PLOT PHASE TWO from Duncan’s murder to announcement that Macbeth will be the next King.
- BANQUO’S DREAMS “A heavy summons lies like lead upon me and yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature gives way to in repose”
- MACBETH SEEKS ALLIES “if you shall cleave to my consent when tis it shall make honour for you” Banquo is determined not to compromise either his honour or his loyalty to Duncan and resolves to keep his “bosom franchised and allegiance clear”.
- MACBETH HALLUCINATES soliloquy 3“is this a dagger which I see before me?…. Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going” … “Hear it not Duncan for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell”
- LADY M = ACCOMPLICE not killer! “Hath he not resembled my father as he slept I had done’t”
- MACBETH’s REMORSE “Methought I heard a voice cry ‘sleep no more, Macbeth doth murder sleep’” “I’ll go no more, I am afraid to think what I have done” “Will all great neptune’s oceans wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red” … “To know my deed ’twere best not know myself”
- LADY M FRAMES CHAMBERLAINS She tries to shake him out of his trance”These deeds must not be thought after these ways, so it will make us mad” but later loses patience with him “Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. …I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal” “A little water clears us of this deed”
- PORTER = COMIC RELIEF describes himself as a “porter of hell gate” and jokes that drink provokes “nose-painting, sleep and urine”. It both provokes and unprovokes lechery “it provokes the desire but it takes away the performance… makes him stand-to and not stand-to” (this bit’s accompanied by rude hand gestures).
- DISORDER IN NATURE Lennox arrives with MAcduff to rouse the King and (before discovering the King’s murder) describes a terrible storm “the night has been unruly: … our chimneys were blown down … lamentings heard i’ the air, strange screams of death… some say the earth was feverous and did shake”.
- MACDUFF RESPONDS TO DUNCAN’s MURDER “O horror! horror! horror! Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!” … “Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope the Lord’s anointed temple”
- LADY M RESPONDS “Woe, alas! What in our house?” Banquo, picking up on the stupidity of her remark rebukes her saying “too cruel anywhere”. After Macbeth admits to killing chamberlains she faints.
- MACBETH RESPONDS “Had I but died an hour before this chance I had lived a blessed time” … and admits to stabbing the chamberlains “Yet I do repent me of my fury that I did kill them”
- BANQUO RESPONDS “Let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work, to know it further… In the great hand of God I stand and thence against the undivulged pretence I fight of treasonous malice”
- MALCOLM & DONALBAIN RESPOND Malcolm“to show an unfelt sorrow is an office which the false man doth easy. I’ll to England”. Donalbain “To Ireland, I… There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the near in blood the nearer bloody”
- NATURE IN TURMOIL Ross describes an eclipse, something a Shakespearean audience wouldn’t have understood “by the clock tis day and yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp”. Old Man replies “a falcoln was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed”. Ross responds “Duncan’s horses turned wild in nature” and Old Man reports “tis said they ate each other”.
- MACDUFF SUSPECTS MACBETH He mentions that “those that Macbeth hath slain” are accused; that suspicion has been put upon the King’s sons because they have fled; and decides to return home to Fife rather than attend Macbeth’s coronation, even though he knows this will be interpreted as a deliberate snub.
PLOT PHASE THREE from Banquo’s temptation & murder to the end of the Banquet scene.
- BANQUO’s TEMPTATION “Thou hast it all, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, as the weird women promised; and I fear thou play’dst most foully for’t” … “May they not be my oracles as well, and set me up in hope?”
- MACBETH PLOTS BANQUO’s MURDER “Ride you this afternoon? … Is’t far you ride? … Fail not our feast … Goes Fleance with you?” “To be thus is nothing but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared” To the murderers: “Both of you know Banquo was your enemy” … “Masking the business from the common eye for sundry weighty reasons”
- LADY MACBETH’s REMORSE to a servant: “Say to the King I would attend his leisure for a few words”. “Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content: Tis safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” YET when Macbeth enters she pretends that everything’s fine: “Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done”.
- MACBETH’s PARANOIA & MENTAL DISTURBANCE “we have scorched the snake not killed it” he & L M “sleep in the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly”. He also envies Duncan as “nothing can touch him further” & concludes “better be with the dead whom we to gain our peace have sent to peace than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy” “O, full of scorpions is my mind dear wife”
- MARITAL AFFECTION BUT LACK OF HONEST COMMUNICATION Lady M “Gentle my lord…be bright and jovial among your guests tonight” M “So shall I love” Lady M “What’s to be done?” Macbeth “Be innocent of the knowledge dearest chuck till thou applaud the deed”.
- BANQUO’s MURDER “O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge”.
- BANQUET SCENE MACBETH “I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears” “Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me”. In a calm moment he proposes a toast “ drink tot he general joy of the whole table and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss: Would he were here!” after which Banquo’s ghost appears again. “Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!”.
- BANQUET SCENE LADY MACBETH “Sit worthy friends: my lord is often thus and hath been from his youth” “This is the very painting of your fear” “Stand not upon the order of your going but go at once”
- AFTER THE BANQUET “It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move and trees to speak” “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” Lady M “You lack the season of all nature’s sleep” Macbeth “Come we’ll to sleep”
- MACBETH AS RULER “How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person at our great bidding?” “There’s not a one of them but in his house I keep a servant fee’d”
PLOT PHASE FOUR from Witches apparitions to murder of L. Macduff & Macduff’s reaction.
- HECATE’s PREDICTION “he shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear”
- LENNOX CRITICISES MACBETH he observes that “the gracious Duncan was pitied of Macbeth: marry he was dead and the right-valiant Banquo walked too late”. He’s not buying the official story of how they died. He openly criticises Macbeth’s reign when he comments that “’cause he failed the tyrant’s feast, I hear, Macduff lives in disgrace”.
- LORD & LENNOX LAMENT SCOTLAND’s DEMISE He places all his hopes in Macduff’s visit to England to the “pious Edward” & Malcolm. The Lord hopes they will march against Macbeth & end the starvation, insomnia & violence sweeping the nation (“give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives”). Lennox prays “a swift blessing may soon return to this our suffering country under a hand accursed!”
- WITCHES APPARITIONS (2nd prophecies)1st apparition an armed head “Beware Macduff”; 2nd apparition a bloody child “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”; 3rd apparition, a child with a tree in his hand “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him”. Final apparition, a show of eight kings, and Banquo last. Macbeth reacts with horror “will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?”
- MACBETH CRITICISES WITCHES “infected be the air whereon they ride, and damned all those that trust them”
- MACBETH RESOLVES TO ACT ON IMPULSE & DESIRE ignoring his conscience “from this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand”. Soliloquy 5.
- MACBETH DECIDES TO MURDER MACDUFF’s FAMILY “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to the edge of his sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line”.
- LADY MACDUFF CRITICISES HER HUSBAND for leaving her alone and unprotected “His flight was madness. … He loves us not, he wants the natural touch”
- ROSS DEFENDS MACDUFF “he is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows the fits of the season” and blames circumstances “cruel are the times… when we hold rumour from what we fear yet know not what we fear”
- LADY MACDUFF & HER CHILDREN ARE MURDERED She refuses to tell them the whereabouts of her husband. Her son’s dying words are “he has killed me mother. Run away I pray you”
- MACDUFF VISITS MALCOLM “each morn new widows howl, new orphans cry; new sorrows strike heaven on the face” but Malcolm is suspicious “This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, was once thought honest; you have loved him well; he hath not touched you yet”. Malcolm fears Macbeth is using Macduff to lure him back to Scotland. He knows that “a good and virtuous nature may recoil in an imperial charge” (Macduff may be just obeying orders!)
- MACDUFF & MALCOLM DESCRIBE SCOTLAND’s SUFFERING Macduff is devastated that Malcolm won’t lead an army against Macbeth“bleed, bleed, poor country! Great tyranny… goodness dare not check thee”. Malcolm knows how bad things are “I think our country sinks beneath the yoke; it weeps, it bleeds, & each new day a gash is added to her wounds” & admits he has “offer of goodly thousands” from Edward to lead an army against Macbeth.
- MACDUFF & MALCOLM’s DESCRIPTION OF MACBETH AS KING “Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth” (Macduff). “I grant him bloody, luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, sudden, malicious, smacking of every in that has a name” (Malcolm).
- MALCOLM TESTS MACDUFF’s LOYALTY & PATRIOTISM by claiming that he he will make a terrible King. He accuses himself of being lustful, greedy, and lacking in all the king-becoming graces.
- MALCOLM’s LIST OF KINGLY VIRTUES “justice, verity, temperance, stableness, bounty, perseverence, mercy, lowliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude” but claims he has none of them.
- MACDUFF IS HORRIFIED “Fit to govern! No, not to live” “Thy royal father was a most sainted King”
THEY PREPARE TO INVADE SCOTLAND Macduff is distraught with news of his family’s slaughter “All my pretty ones? Did heaven look on and would not take their part?” Malcolm advises Macduff to “let grief convert to anger. Blunt not the heart, enrage it”. He feels certain they will secure victory “the night is long that never finds the day”
PLOT PHASE FIVE from sleepwalking scene to Malcolm’s first address as King of Scotland.
- LADY MACBETH RELIVES THEIR CRIMES “Out, damned spot” “The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now? What will these hands n’er be clean?” “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”. The doctor comments “This disease is beyond my practice” “Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles”
- MACBETH DISCUSSED BY ADVANCING ARMY “some say he’s mad; others, that lesser hate him, do call it valiant fury” “Now does he feel his title hang loose upon him like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief”.
- MACBETH: DEFIANT, DEPRESSED, RUTHLESS, CONCERNED “Bring me no more reports, let them fly all” Soliloquy 6“I am sick at heart. I have lived long enough… and that which should accompany old age, as honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have” “I’ll fight til from my bones my flesh be hacked” “Hang those that talk of fear”“How does your patient doctor?”
- MACBETH RESPONDS TO LADY MACBETH’S DEATH Prior to the news he claims”I have almost forgot the taste of fear” “I have supped full with horrors”. However, he delivers a profoundly beautiful nihilistic soliloquy on the pointlessness of human existence when told“The Queen, my lord, is dead”:
“There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- MACBETH REMAINS DEFIANT “They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, but bear-like I must fight the course”. He kills Young Siward rather than surrender or commit suicide “why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword?”
- MACDUFF KILLS MACBETH Macduff: “Turn hell-hound, turn!” Macbeth: “Get thee back, my soul is too much charged with blood of thine already” Macduff: “Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped” Macbeth: “I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet”
- MACDUFF ENTERS WITH MACBETH’S HEAD
- MALCOLM DELIVERS HIS FIRST SPEECH AS KING Malcolm demonstrates his skill as a leader. He
1. rewards loyalty“My thanes and kinsmen henceforth be earls”,
2. calls home those in exile,
3. sums up his view of the defeated royals as “this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen, who tis thought, by self and violent hands took off her life”
4. Calls on “the grace of God” to help him perform his duties as King &
5. Invites all present to Scone for his coronation.