Module 4

Unit II: “There’s no art/ To find the mind’s construction in the face”

Essential Question

How do authors use craft and structure to develop characters and ideas?

In this unit students read William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in its entirety, analyzing how Shakespeare’s structural choices and use of language contribute to the development of characters and central ideas (e.g., imbalance and disorder, contemplating mortality, fate versus agency, and appearance versus reality).
Students also consider representations of Macbeth in other media, first in paintings by Joseph Anton Koch and Henry Fuseli and then in film, via Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and the Royal Shakespeare Company 2010 production of Macbeth directed by Rupert Goold.

Common Core Standards

RL.9-10.3 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 theme.
RL.9-10.7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
RL.9-10.5 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.
RL.9-10.2 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.
L.9-10.4.a Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
L.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
L.9-10.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Suggested Student Objectives

Students will be required to:
1) Read closely for textual details
2) Annotate texts to support comprehension and analysis
3) Engage in productive evidence-based conversations about text
4) Determine meaning of unknown vocabulary
5) Independently preview text in preparation for supported analysis
6) Provide an objective summary of the text
7) Paraphrase and quote relevant evidence from a text
8) Construct an argument
9) Analyze various treatments of a text across different media
10)Write original evidence-based claims
11)Generate and respond to questions in scholarly discourse

Suggested Text
Macbeth William Shakespeare

Rupert Goold’s Macbeth 2011 Royal Shakespeare Company
Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 film adaptation of Macbeth

Resource Links

Engageny: Grade 10 ELA
Macbeth synopsis:
“Witchcraft in Shakespeare’s Time,” narrated by Ethan Hawke:
Free audio resource:
Homework Scaffolding Tool: Macbeth Act 1.4
Soliloquy Jigsaw Tool for Act 1.5
Homework Scaffolding Tool: Macbeth Act 1.6
Act Synopsis and Analysis Tool
Short Response Rubric and checklist
End-of-Unit Text Analysis Checklist
Mid-Unit Assessment
Macbeth Character Responsibility Tool
Act 1 Witches’ Scenes Review Tool
Grammar and spelling conventions:
Colon and Semicolon Handout
Analyze nonfiction: Central and main Ideas
Answer the BIG Question with Examples and Evidence pdf

Macbeth in Visual Art and Film
Stylistic Choices Tool (This organizer also includes the pieces of art listed below)
  1. Théodore Chassériau’s “Macbeth and Banquo Meeting the Witches on the Heath”
  2. Clarkson Frederick Stanfield’s “Macbeth and the Witches”
  3. Henry Fuseli’s “The Three Witches”
  4. Joseph Anton Koch’s “Macbeth and the Witches”
RSC Film Viewing Tool


Fishbowl protocol:Activity 5: Fishbowl Discussion
The fishbowl discussion is designed to mimic real-life interactions, where people move in and out of conversations as contributors or as recipients of information. The activity promotes active listening for students and allows them to join and contribute as they feel comfortable. The purpose of the fishbowl discussion is to facilitate student discussion around the two “Mr. Julius Caesar” competitions in a structured manner. Arrange the students into two mixed groups: an inner Group (A) and an outer Group (B).
Explain that as Group A discusses questions posed by the teacher, Group B observes and listens to Group A’s discussion.
When a member of Group B wants to join Group A’s discussion, students should tap a Group A classmate and they trade places. Explain that all students should be in Groups A and B at some point during the discussion.
  • Students listen.
  • Arrange the desks in two concentric circles. Members of the inner circle discuss questions posed by the teacher. Members of the outer circle listen, observe, and decide when they would like to swap places in order to contribute to the discussion taking place.
  • Teachers may wish to set up parameters for this task (e.g., time limits, number of student swaps, number of student swaps per discussion question) so that the flow of student discussion is not disrupted in a way that curbs the quality of the conversation.
  • Depending on class size, there may be more than one fishbowl at a time. In this situation, the teacher may want to solicit note takers to keep track of the ideas being expressed. Note takers can share after the fishbowl discussion.
Fishbowl protocol in a 10th grade ELA class:

Stay and Stray

The teacher will divide the class into groups of four or five students, with each group getting a poem and/or piece of artwork, an oversized sheet of paper, and markers. Within the groups, the students will analyze the poem/artwork that was assigned to them and discuss their thoughts and feelings relating to the work. The group will then use the oversized sheet of paper and markers in order to create a visual presentation of their discussion. At the end of the group activity, one student will volunteer to be the presenter while the other members of the group will watch the presentations of the other groups. The students watching the presentations will have a short period of time to read the poem assigned to the other group or view the piece of artwork. The presenters will then discuss what their group thought and explain the work that was completed.

Table Text

The teacher will divide the class into groups of four or five students. Each group will receive a poem along with a worksheet presenting four to five questions (enough for each student in the group to always have a question to answer). The students will read the poem, then answer the first question on their worksheet. After a predetermined time interval, the students will switch worksheets and then answer the next question. Once all the questions on the worksheet have been answered, the students will then have a group conversation based on their thoughts and the answers of their classmates.


Considering and thinking about a topic or question and then writing what has been learned; pairing with a peer or a small group to share ideas; sharing ideas and discussion with a larger group To construct meaning about a topic or question; to test thinking in relation to the ideas of others; to prepare for a discussion with a larger group
Discussion Groups Engaging in an interactive, small group discussion, often with an assigned role; to consider a topic, text, question, and so on To gain new understanding or insight of a text from multiple perspectives

Responding to a text by writing for a short, specific amount of time about a designated topic or idea related to a text To activate background knowledge, clarify issues, facilitate making connections, and allow for reflection.


Unit 1 Writing prompts:
  • How do the interactions in Act 1.1 and 1.2 develop Macbeth’s character? How do words and phrases in section 1 reveal White’s tone?
  • Analyze how a central idea emerges in Act 1.3.
  • Analyze how Shakespeare develops Lady Macbeth over the course of this scene (Act 1:5)
  • Analyze how Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s relationship develops over the course of these scenes.
  • Analyze the impact of Shakespeare’s use of figurative language on the mood of this scene.
  • Analyze the effect of Shakespeare’s structural choices in this scene.
  • Donalbain states: “There’s daggers in men’s smiles.” How does Shakespeare develop this idea in Act 2.3?
  • use textual evidence from Acts 1–2 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to craft a formal, multi-paragraph essay in response to the following prompt: How do Shakespeare’s structural choices create an effect of mystery, tension, or surprise in the first two acts of the play?
  • How do key details in this scene further develop a central idea (act 3:1)?
  • Analyze how Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s interaction in this scene advances the plot. (Act 3:2).
  • How do the Witches’ interactions with Macbeth advance the plot (Act 4:1)?
  • Analyze the effect of Shakespeare’s structural choice in revealing to the audience and to Macduff that his family has been murdered.
  • How does Shakespeare unfold and develop an element of tragedy in Act 5.7 and 5.8?
  • Which character bears the most responsibility for the tragedy of Macbeth? Use reasoning to support the claim and provide one piece of evidence to support your choice and strengthen your reasoning.
Macbeth in Visual Art and Film:
  • Analyze how Henry Fuseli draws on and transforms the Witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. What does Fuseli emphasize or omit in his treatment of these characters?
  • Analyze the interactions between the main characters and the Witch(es) in Kurosawa’s adaptation and the RSC’s 2011 version of Macbeth. What is emphasized or absent in each treatment?

Post Unit Assessment
Unit 2: Select a central character from Macbeth. Write an argument about how this character is primarily responsible for the tragedy. Support your claims using evidence that draws on character development, interactions, plot, and/or central ideas.