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Teaching Macbeth

Resources from Folger Education

This page contains resources for teaching Macbeth, a play whose violence, magic, and explorations of ambition and evil continue to fascinate audiences. Below you'll find links to resources from Folger Education that include activities, teaching modules, audio and video resources, teaching tools, and more.

Teaching Modules

Folger Education offers teaching modules on Shakespeare's frequently taught plays, as well as modules on introducing Shakespeare. Try the modules below, or, for more modules for Macbeth, visit the Teaching Modules Archive.

"What are these?"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 3, and 7. The lesson introduces students to the Weird Sisters and invites them to explore the roles they play in Macbeth.

"When Fair is Foul"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 2, 3, and 6. The lesson is best used after students have read the entire play, and encourages students to consider how Shakespeare and his characters use language to give words multiple and complex meanings.

"32-second Macbeth" 
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 3, and 4. This interactive lesson is used to introduce students to the play by literally encompassing the major plot points in 32 seconds!

Teaching Tools

The Folger edition of Macbeth includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play, fascinating essays on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times, and notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day. Request a desk copy of this edition from Simon & Schuster


Curriculum Guides lay out everything you need to teach this play for the first time: an introduction to the play, character connections, synopsis, teaching modules, suggested scenes for performance, fun facts, and familiar quotes.

Shakespeare Set Free , a groundbreaking curriculum on performance-based teaching, includes a unit on teaching Macbeth.


Other Resources

Colorful Character Connections offer an at-a-glance map of character relationships, an introduction to the plot, and important quotes to look and listen for.


Archived study guides from past Folger Theatre performances provide activities and discussion questions for students to consider before seeing a performance or as they rehearse scenes from this play.

Audio and Video Resources

Seeing Shakespeare performed, or performing Shakespeare, can help students feel confident reading and understanding Shakespeare's language. To see performance-based education strategies for your classroom, check out our clips on YouTube here.


Remixing Shakespeare
This short video is a step-by-step guide on how to use audio technology to introduce middle and high school students to Macbeth.

Insider's Guide: Macbeth
Introduce your students to this classic work with our Folger Insider's Guide podcast, as Folger Theatre artists, including co-directors Teller (the silent partner in Penn & Teller) and Aaron Posner and actors Eric Hissom, Kate Eastwood Norris, Ian Merrill Peakes, and Craig Wallace, talk Macbeth.

Macbeth Teacher's Guide
In our "Macbeth Teacher's Guide" podcast, Folger educators, all teaching the play in their classrooms, talk about sure-fire ways for successfully introducing students to one of Shakespeare's most popular plays in the Teacher's Edition podcast.


For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in Macbeth include words that are intentionally imprecise.

In Macbeth Shakespeare often uses words that are deliberately vague. For example, Macbeth's lines "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well / It were done quickly" (1.7.1-2) play with the verb "done" as well as an unnamed "it." In some cases, this vagueness might seem to be designed to cover up the darkness of the deed: in this case, the king's murder.

Opportunities to perform Shakespeare while learning Shakespeare can aid greatly in comprehension. To see performance-based education strategies for your classroom, check out our clips on YouTube here.

About the Play

Macbeth was first printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623.

To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.



From the Collection

Macbeth Photo Gallery

How To

Remixing Shakespeare

In The Shop

Folger Editions
MacbethThe DVD Edition

Folger Editions
Trade Paperback

Shakespeare Set Free Series

Learn More

Discover Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Life

Shakespeare's Works

Shakespeare's Theater

Read the Play

Folger Digital Texts:

Related Items

Curriculum Guide

Study Guide

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Folger Theatre: Macbeth 2008

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