Macbeth Act 1 Worksheet

Macbeth Act 1

Macbeth is a tragedy play written by William Shakespeare. It tells the story of a Scottish warrior, Macbeth, who receives a prophecy from three witches that he will become the king of Scotland. Encouraged by his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth commits a series of murders in order to fulfill the prophecy. Act 1 of the play sets the stage for the rest of the story and introduces several major characters and themes.

Short Questions

  1. Who are the three witches and what do they prophesy to Macbeth?
  2. What reasons does Lady Macbeth give to convince Macbeth to murder King Duncan?
  3. Why does Macbeth see a hallucination of a dagger before he murders King Duncan?
  4. What happens to the original Thane of Cawdor and why?

Quotation Analysis

Read the following quote from Act 1, Scene 7 and answer the questions that follow:

"I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself / And falls on th' other." - Macbeth
  1. What does Macbeth mean by "spur"?
  2. What does Macbeth mean by "vaulting ambition"?
  3. How does this quote reveal Macbeth's character?

Contextual Research

Research the historical context of Macbeth and answer the following questions:

  1. What was the political situation in Scotland when Shakespeare wrote Macbeth?
  2. What role did James I play in the production of the play?
  3. How did Shakespeare alter the historical events upon which Macbeth is based?

Open-Ended Task

Argue whether Macbeth is ultimately a victim of fate or of his own actions. Use evidence from Act 1 to support your argument.

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