Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in Macbeth

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Tragedy of Macbeth


Macbeth Symbols, Motifs, & Themes

Example



Use This Assignment With My Students

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)



Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs are valuable aspects of any literary work, and they add richness to stories. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to analyze without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our supplementary article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

As a classroom activity, students could track the rich symbolism William Shakespeare uses throughout Macbeth. In the example storyboard above, the creator has focused on Shakespeare's use of visions in the play. The recurrence of this motif throughout the play proves its significance. Since Macbeth's actions weigh heavily on his conscious, it is not surprising that he would have some second thoughts. The visions Macbeth and his wife consistently see throughout the play serve as constant reminders of their ambition and corruption.


Themes and Ideas to Discuss

Things Are Not What They Seem

Throughout the play, the idea that ‘fair is foul, and foul is fair’ is repeated. What you expect is not what will come about.


Nature at War with Itself / Man Goes Against his Nature

Another favorite theme is that nature is ominous and that it foreshadows and mimics what is to become of Macbeth and Macbeth's actions.


Ambition

Macbeth and his wife’s personal ambition to control the crown ultimately ends up controlling them.


Motifs and Imagery to Look For

Supernatural

Ghosts, witches, and spirits are used throughout the play to add a sense of suspicion and suspense.


Blood

The blood that was spilled because of Macbeth's ambition continuously reappears as a physical reminder that he cannot wash away his evil deeds.


Sanity/Insanity

As his corruption begins to control him, Macbeth and his wife slip out of reality and struggle between sanity and insanity.


Order/Disorder

Order and disorder surround the new king and queen. The order of their rule clashes with the chaos they have caused. This links to the theme that things are not what they seem.


Sleep/Insomnia

The motif of sleep (or sleeplessness) surrounds the tyrants as they struggle to overcome their deeds.



Use This Assignment With My Students

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)



Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and motifs in Macbeth. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Macbeth you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Add additional cells as needed.

Template: Theme

Template


Use This Assignment With My Students

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)




Rubric

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)






Use This Assignment With My Students

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)




More Storyboard That Activities for

The Tragedy of Macbeth








Use This Assignment With My Students

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)





Pricing




Help Share Storyboard That!

Looking for More?

Check out the rest of our Lesson Plans!


View All Teacher Resources


Our Posters on ZazzleOur Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers

Clever Logo Google Classroom Logo Student Privacy Pledge signatory
Start My Free Trial
Explore Our Articles and Examples

Business Resources

All Business ArticlesBusiness Templates

Film Resources

Film ResourcesVideo Marketing

Illustrated Guides

BusinessEducation
Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class   •   Quick Rubric   •   abcBABYart   •   Storyboard That's TpT Store