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Macbeth By William Shakespeare About the play: A masterpiece of world literature, Shakespeare’s swift and relentless tragedy uncovers the terrifying consequences of blind ambition. In medieval Scotland, a savage world of ghosts, witches and bloody battlefields, a dark prophecy leads a warrior and his wife past the point of no return. Featuring Kate Forbes (The Crucible) as Lady Macbeth. Grade Recommendation: 9th grade and up Content Advisory: Contains violence, witchcraft, and frightening images Topics    

Shakespeare Tragedy War Supernatural events

Themes  Greed and Ambition  Culture of Violence  Consequences of One’s Actions

Student Performance Series dates (all at 10:30 a.m.):  Wednesday, October 9  Friday, October 11  Thursday, November 7  Friday, November 8 Curriculum Standards Student Performance Series performances and workshops provide unique opportunities for experiential learning and support various combinations of Common Core standards in English Language Arts. They may also support standards in other subject areas such as Social Studies and History, depending on each play’s subject matter. The experience of seeing and discussing Macbeth provides classroom links to the following Common Core standards in English Language Arts: Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details.  Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text (Grades 9-10).  Analyze how complex characters (e.g. those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the themes (Grades 9-10).  Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop related elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed) (Grades 11-12). Reading Literature: Craft and Structure.  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone) (Grades 9-10).

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Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise (Grades 9-10). Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement) (Grades 11-12).

Reading Literature: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas.  Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare)  Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist) (Grades 11-12). Student Performance Series workshops also support the following Connecticut state standards in Theatre for grades 9-12:  5: Researching and Interpreting. Students will research, evaluate and apply cultural and historical information to make artistic choices.  6: Connections. Students will make connections between theatre, other disciplines and daily life.  7: Analysis, Criticism and Meaning. Students will analyze, critique and construct meanings from works of theatre.  8: History and Cultures. Students will demonstrate an understanding of context by analyzing and comparing theatre in various cultures and historical periods. About the Student Performance Series: Our Student Performance Series packages include  1 free chaperone ticket for every 20 student tickets  Free study guides that include historical context, thematic analysis, questions for discussion, and suggestions for learning activities (emailed to you in PDF format).  A talk back immediately following the performance. Hosted by a member of our education department staff and featuring actors from the play, the talk back provides students with the opportunity to ask questions and express their initial reactions to the play-going experience through dialogue with artists and each other. Pre- and post-show workshops are also available for an additional fee. Designed to help integrate the play into your curriculum, our interactive workshops are led by a Hartford Stage teaching artist who visits your classroom and gets students on their feet to explore the play’s major themes, plot points, and connections to history and culture. To book tickets for the Student Performance Series, please contact Chelsea Caplan, Education Sales Coordinator at (860) 520-7244 or

Macbeth Curriculum Guide