Jodie Morgenson
English Language Arts
Material Type:
High School
  • Critical Thinking
  • Gender Roles
  • Literary Analysis
  • Macbeth
  • NE ELA
  • Shakespeare
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:
    Audio, Downloadable docs, Video

    Education Standards

    Witchy Women: Introduction to Shakespeare's *Macbeth* (Activity 1)

    Witchy Women: Introduction to Shakespeare's *Macbeth* (Activity 1)


    This lesson serves as a pre-reading activity for the play, Macbeth by William Shakespeare with a focus on gender roles and the portrayal of women in this famous play.

    Anticipatory Set

    Refer to SLIDES 1 and 2 of the Witchy Women slideshow to open your discussion.

    Questions to Consider

    •     What are our cultures’ expectations for men?

    •     What are our cultures’ expectations for women?

    •     What are the reasons for these cultural expectations?

    •     Do these societal expectations for gender reflect your personal vision of masculinity and femininity? Explain.

    Use slides 3 - 7 of the Witchy Women slideshow to analyze the images displayed. Look at each photo separately, and pose the following questions for each:

    • Based on the photo below, who would you say holds the most power in the relationship? 

    • How do you know?


    Activity 1: The Weird Sisters

    Use slides 8 - 13 to introduce the Weird Sisters. 


    Make a chart like the one on Slide 13 in your notebook. Be prepared to take notes while you read the opening scene in Macbeth and watch five interpretations of the scene. (See linked youtube video.) 


    After reading the opening scene, watching the video, and taking notes, break into small groups to discuss the notes you jotted down. 


    Reconvene and share out whole group. End this activity by sharing the teacher notes from slides 14-17 to supplement student notes. 


    Use slide 18 to give an example annotation.


    Activity 2 (and the remainder of the slides) will be used in another lesson that analyzes Act I, scene v.


    Optional Homework: Additional reading on Pathetic Fallacy and the Witches in Macbeth.