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Macbeth: Past and Sample Exam Questions (H)

Past Exam Questions (Reverse Chronological Order)

2014

(i)  “Macbeth’s relationships with other characters can be seen primarily as power struggles which prove crucial to the outcome of the play.”

Discuss the above statement in relation to at least two of Macbeth’s relationships with other characters. Support your answer with suitable reference to the play, Macbeth.

OR

(ii)  “Throughout the play, Macbeth, Shakespeare makes effective use of a variety of dramatic techniques that evoke a wide range of responses from the audience.”

Discuss this view with reference to at least two dramatic techniques used by Shakespeare in the play. Support your answer with suitable reference to the text.

 

2013

(i)  “The variety of significant insights that we gain into Macbeth’s mind proves critical in shaping our understanding of his complex character.”

Discuss this view, supporting your answer with suitable reference to the play, Macbeth.

OR

(ii)  “Shakespeare makes effective use of disturbing imagery in the play, Macbeth.”

Discuss this statement, supporting your answer with suitable reference to the text.

 

2009

(i)  “Macbeth’s murder of Duncan has horrible consequences both for Macbeth himself and for Scotland.”

Write a response to this statement. You should refer to the play in your answer.

OR

(ii)  “Macbeth has all the ingredients of compelling drama.”

Write a response to this statement, commenting on one or more of the ingredients which, in your opinion, make Macbeth a compelling drama.

 

2007

(i)  “The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth undergoes significant change during the course of the play.”

Discuss this statement supporting your answer with the aid of suitable reference to the text.

OR

(ii)  “Essentially the play Macbeth is about power, its use and abuse.”

Discuss this view of the play, supporting your answer with the aid of suitable reference to the text.

 

2004

(i) “Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites us to look into the world of a man driven on by ruthless ambition and tortured by regret.”

Write a response to this view of the play, Macbeth, supporting the points you make by reference to the text.

OR

(ii) “The play, Macbeth, has many scenes of compelling drama.”

Choose one scene that you found compelling and say why you found it to be so.  Support your answer by reference to the play.

 

2003

(i) “We feel very little pity for the central characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play.”

To what extent would you agree with the above view? Support your answer by reference to the play

OR

(ii) “In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil.”

Write your response to the above statement. Textual support may include reference to a particular performance of the play you have seen.

 

1995

(i) Discuss the course and nature of the resistance to Macbeth’s rule in the play.

Support your answer by quotation from or reference to the play.

OR

(ii) “Kingship, with all its potential for good or evil, is a major theme in the play, Macbeth.”

Discuss this view, supporting your answer by quotation from or reference to the play.

 

1991

(i) “The eternal struggle between good and evil – a struggle in which evil comes very close to victory – is the central theme of the play Macbeth.”

Discuss this view and show how the struggle is illustrated in the imagery of the play. Support your answer by reference or quotation.

OR

(ii) “While there are redeeming features in the character of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a ruthless opportunist whose ambition for her husband supersedes all moral considerations.”

Discuss this view, supporting your answer by reference or quotation.

 

1987

(i) “The Banquo Macbeth has killed is not the innocent soldier who met the witches and scorned their prophecies, nor the man who prayed to be delivered from temptation. He is a man whose principles have been deeply compromised.”

Discuss this view, supporting the points you make by reference to or quotation from the play.

OR

(ii) Discuss the way in which the language of the play Macbeth contributes to the creation of the atmosphere of evil and violence that pervades the play.

Support your answer by relevant quotation or reference.

 

1983

(i) “The Witches in Macbeth are malevolent creatures who originate deeds of blood and have power over the soul.”

Discuss the role of the witches in the play in the light of this statement. Support your answer with appropriate reference or quotation.

OR

(ii) Discuss the way in which light/darkness, violent imagery and unnatural happenings are used in Macbeth to create atmosphere. Support your answer with appropriate quotation or reference.

 

1979

(i) “Their partnership in guilt, which, at the beginning of the play, is a strong bond between them, gradually drives Macbeth and his wife apart until they go down to their separate dooms, isolated and alone.”

Discuss this view, with the aid of suitable quotation or reference.

OR

(ii) “Lady Macbeth is no monster. She is a loyal (though misguided) wife, not without tenderness and not without conscience.”

What do you think of this estimation of Lady Macbeth? Support your answer with relevant quotation or reference.

 

1975

(ii) “In Macbeth, Shakespeare does not present Macbeth as a mere villain, but succeeds in arousing a measure of sympathy for him.”

Discuss the character of Macbeth in the light of this statement, supporting your answer by relevant quotation and reference.

OR

(ii) “In Macbeth, the inner self is conveyed, not through the ideas expressed, nor through the actions performed, but by means of an elaborate pattern of imagery and symbolism.”

Test the truth of this statement by considering any two of the play’s characters and the images and symbols associated with them.

 

1971

(i) “In Macbeth, Shakespeare heightens our experience of wickedness and order by setting them against a background of goodness and order.”

Discuss this view with the aid of appropriate reference or quotation.

OR

(ii) Discuss the view that Lady Macbeth has more in common with the Witches than with Lady Macduff.

Support your answer with suitable reference or quotation.

 

1962

(i) “We find in Macbeth rapidity of movement, great diversity of character, and many spectacular scenes.”

Discuss this estimate of the play and quote in support of the points you make.

OR

(ii) “Lady Macbeth dominates the play up to the murder of Duncan; after that her influence gradually diminishes, while her husband’s power for evil grows ever greater.”

Discuss with relevant quotation from the play.

 

1953

(i) “Macbeth has physical courage, but moral weakness, and is subject to excited imaginative fears.”

Discuss this estimate of Macbeth, quoting freely from the play.

OR

(ii) “There is at once a grossness, a horrible reality about the Witches, and a mystery and grandeur of evil influence.”

Discuss, with suitable quotation from the play.

 

Sample and Past Exam Questions (By Category)

Character

Macbeth

  • 2014: “Macbeth’s relationships with other characters can be seen primarily as power struggles which prove crucial to the outcome of the play.”
  • 2013: “The variety of significant insights that we gain into Macbeth’s mind proves critical in shaping our understanding of his complex character.”
  • 2009: “Macbeth’s murder of Duncan has horrible consequences both for Macbeth himself and for Scotland.”
  • 2004: “Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites us to look into the world of a man driven on by ruthless ambition and tortured by regret.”
  • 1975: “In Macbeth, Shakespeare does not present Macbeth as a mere villain, but succeeds in arousing a measure of sympathy for him.”
  • 1962: “We find in Macbeth rapidity of movement, great diversity of character, and many spectacular scenes.”
  • Macbeth can be seen both as a tragic hero and a villain. Discuss.
  • Macbeth is a deeply disturbing character and his actions disgust us, yet he also arouses our sympathy. Discuss.
  • Macbeth is a portrait of the destruction of a fine, impressive spirit.
  • Macbeth is “not equal to the struggle with face and conscience.” (William Hazlitt)
  • Macbeth fails not so much because of outward events and forces, but through that part of his nature which originally forbade murder. (Adapted from G. Wilson Knight.)

Lady Macbeth

  • 2007: “The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth undergoes significant change during the course of the play.”
  • 2003: “We feel very little pity for the central characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play.”
  • 1991: “While there are redeeming features in the character of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a ruthless opportunist whose ambition for her husband supersedes all moral considerations.”
  • 1979: “Their partnership in guilt, which, at the beginning of the play, is a strong bond between them, gradually drives Macbeth and his wife apart until they go down to their separate dooms, isolated and alone.”
  • 1979: “Lady Macbeth is no monster. She is a loyal (though misguided) wife, not without tenderness and not without conscience.”
  • 1971: Discuss the view that Lady Macbeth has more in common with the Witches than with Lady Macduff.
  • 1962: “Lady Macbeth dominates the play up to the murder of Duncan; after that, her influence gradually diminishes while her husband’s power for evil grows even greater.”
  • 1953: “Macbeth has physical courage, but moral weakness, and is subject to excited imaginative fears.”
  • Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are fired “by the same passion of ambition; and to a considerable extent they are alike” (A.C. Bradley). Do you agree with this statement?
  • Macbeth and Lady Macbeth allow their desire for the throne to control them, and the consequent disorder in their personalities in reflected in the chaotic state of Scotland. Discuss.
  • “Lady Macbeth is merely detested; and though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall.”  (Samuel Johnson)
  • Lady Macbeth’s “strength of will and masculine firmness give her the ascendancy over her husband’s faltering virtue”. (William Hazlitt)
  • Lady Macbeth dominates in her relationship with her husband, and she plays a significant role in influencing Macbeth – so much so, that she might even be called the Fourth Witch of the play. Discuss.
  • Discuss the role of women in Macbeth.

Witches

  • 1983: “The Witches in Macbeth are malevolent creatures who originate deeds of blood and have power over the soul.”
  • 1953: “There is at once a grossness, a horrible reality about the Witches, and a mystery and grandeur of evil influence.”
  • “While the influence of the Witches’ prophecies on Macbeth is very great, it is quite clearly shown to be an influence and nothing more. There is no sign whatever in the play that Shakespeare meant the actions of Macbeth to be forced on him by an external power.” (A.C. Bradley)
  • “The Witches and their prophecies… represent not only the evil slumbering in the hero’s soul, but all those obscurer influences of the evil around him in the world which aids his own ambition and the incitements of his wife.” (A.C. Bradley)

Minor Characters

  • 1987: “The Banquo Macbeth has killed is not the innocent soldier who met the witches and scorned their prophecies, nor the man who prayed to be delivered from temptation. He is a man whose principles have been deeply compromised.”
  • Describe the role and function of the character of Banquo.
  • The minor characters are “sketched lightly, and are seldom developed further than the strict purposes of the action required” (A.C. Bradley). Discuss the characters of Malcolm and Macduff in the light of this statement.
  • Discuss the importance of Macduff in the play.

 

Style

  • 2014: “Throughout the play, Macbeth, Shakespeare makes effective use of a variety of dramatic techniques that evoke a wide range of responses from the audience.”
  • 2013: “Shakespeare makes effective use of disturbing imagery in the play, Macbeth.”
  • 2009: “Macbeth has all the ingredients of compelling drama.”
  • 2004: “The play, Macbeth, has many scenes of compelling drama.”
  • 1987: Discuss the way in which the language of the play Macbeth contributes to the creation of the atmosphere of evil and violence that pervades the play.
  • 1983: Discuss the way in which light/darkness, violent imagery and unnatural happenings are used in Macbeth to create atmosphere.
  • 1975: “In Macbeth, the inner self is conveyed, not through the ideas expressed, nor through the actions performed, but by means of an elaborate pattern of imagery and symbolism.” Test the truth of this statement by considering any two of the play’s characters and the images and symbols associated with them.
  • The imagery throughout Macbeth awakens a sense of horror and supernatural dread.
  • Sleep in the play excites a supernatural alarm and a dread of the presence of evil.
  • Common sights and sounds adopt an ominous tone throughout the play.
  • “In its language, as in its action, the drama is full of tumult and storm.” (A.C. Bradley)
  • Macbeth is best interpreted through its themes and imagery, not through its characters. Do you agree with this statement?
  • Macbeth leaves a decided impression of colour… And, above all, the colour is the colour of blood.” (A.C. Bradley)
  • “The vividness, magnitude, and violence of the imagery… are characteristic of Macbeth throughout.” (A.C. Bradley)
  • The imagery and symbolism which pervades the play creates a distinctive atmosphere.

 

Theme

  • 2007: “Essentially the play Macbeth is about power, its use and abuse.”
  • 2003: “In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil.”
  • 1995: Discuss the course and nature of the resistance to Macbeth’s rule in the play.
  • 1995: “Kingship, with all its potential for good and evil, is a major theme in the play Macbeth.”
  • 1991: “The eternal struggle between good and evil – a struggle in which evil comes very close to victory – is the central theme of the play Macbeth.”
  • 1971: “In Macbeth, Shakespeare heightens our experience of wickedness and order by setting them against a background of goodness and order.” Discuss.
  • Macbeth and Lady Macbeth allow their desire for the throne to control them, and the consequent disorder in their personalities in reflected in the chaotic state of Scotland. Discuss.
  • In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare brilliantly portrays a supernatural world over which no one has any control.
  • In Macbeth, nature grows increasingly towards the world of the unnatural.
  • Discuss the significance of the supernatural in Macbeth.
  • Macbeth is best interpreted through its themes and imagery, not through its characters. Discuss.
  • Appearances in Macbeth conceal the disturbing reality. Discuss.
  • Discuss how evil and deception are explored in the play.
  • The themes which Macbeth explores chimes with modern audiences.
  • Account for the popularity of Macbeth.
  • Discuss gender roles in Macbeth.
  • Justice is often mentioned and yet rarely found in Macbeth. Discuss.
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Online Games

Novels

The Great Gatsby (GreatGatsbyGame.com)

The-Great-Gatsby-online-game

Just for fun! Click the image to open in a new tab. Source: http://greatgatsbygame.com/.

 

Lord of the Flies (NobelPrize.org)

Lord-of-the-Flies-online-game

Click the image to open in a new tab. Source: http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/literature/golding/lof.html.

 

The Song of Achilles

A game I created with Scratch to test some knowledge of characters in the novel.

A game to test knowledge of characters in 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller.

Click the image to open in a new tab.

 

 

Poetry

Emily Dickinson ‘Riddles’ Quiz (EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org)

Emily-Dickinson-online-game

Click the image to open in a new tab. Source: http://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/ed/node/231.

 

 

Shakespeare

Shakespeare Games (ModernLibrary.com)

Shakespeare-Games-online-game

Click the image to open in a new tab. Source: http://www.modernlibrary.com/shakespeare/shakespeare-games/.

 

 

Shakespeare Playwright Game (PBS.org)

welcome

Click the image to open in a new tab. Source: http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/game/.

 

Beat the Bard! (TheGuardian.com)

Beat-the-Bard--Shakespeare-s-characters-fight-it-out-in-our-interactive-game---Stage---theguardian

 

 

Vocabulary

Wordmaster (BBC.co.uk)

Wordmaster-online-game

 

Word Wangling (BritishCouncil.org)

Word-wangling-online-game

Timeline: A Brief Biography of Shakespeare

Click Shakespeare Timeline below.

Or click here to view a larger version.

The timeline was created using TimelineJS, an open-source tool that can create interactive timelines by using entries in a Google Spreadsheet.

Sources: William Shakespeare: Complete Works (ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, 2007); Bartleby.com; Britannica.com; CoventryTelegraph.net; Folger.edu; InternetShakespeare.uvic.ca; ShakespearesGlobe.com; Shakespeare.org.uk; WWNorton.com.

The Merchant of Venice – Quotes

Title Page (The Merchant of Venice, Quarto 1, Boston Public Library)

Title Page (The Merchant of Venice, Quarto 1, Boston Public Library)

From The Merchant of Venice, Quarto 1, Boston Public Library

From The Merchant of Venice, Quarto 1, Boston Public Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.79-81 Antonio: I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; / A stage where every man must play a part, / And mine a sad one.

1.1.132-133 Bassanio: To you, Antonio, / I owe the most in money and in love

1.1.140 Antonio: My purse, my person, my extremest means, / Lie all unlocked to your occasions.

1.1.148: Bassanio: I owe you much and, like a wilful youth, / That which I owe is lost.

1.1.163 Bassanio: In Belmont is a lady richly left, / And she is fair and, fairer than that word, / Of wondrous virtues

1.1.182 Antonio: Try what my credit in Venice can do

1.2.15 Portia: I may neither choose / whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike, so is the will of a living daughter curbed / by the will of a dead father.

1.2.84-85 Portia: If he have the condition of a saint / and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.

1.3.11-12 Shylock: My meaning in saying he is a good man is to have you / understand me that he is sufficient.

1.3.24-26 Shylock: I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, / walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor / pray with you.

1.3.29-34, 38-39 Shylock [aside]: I hate him for he is a Christian, / But more, for that in low simplicity / He lends out money gratis and brings down / The rate of usance here with us in Venice. / If I can catch him once upon the hip, / I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him… Cursed be my tribe / If I forgive him!

1.3.49-52 Antonio: I neither lend nor borrow / By taking nor by giving of excess, / Yet to supply the ripe wants of my friend, / I’ll break a custom.

1.3.89, 93 Antonio: The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose… what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

1.3.102-3, 105, 116-118 Shylock: You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, / And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine… it now appears you need my help… you spat on me on Wednesday last; / You spurned me such a day; another time / You called me dog

1.3.120-122, 125-127 Antonio: I am as like to call thee so again, / To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too… lend it rather to thine enemy, / Who, if he break, thou mayst with better face / Exact the penalties.

1.3.129-132, 140-143, 155-158, 160-162, 165 Shylock: I would be friends with you and have your love, / Forget the shames that you have stained me with, / Supply your present wants and take no doit / Of usance for my moneys… let the forfeit / Be nominated for an equal pound / Of your fair flesh, to be cut off and taken / In what part of your body it pleaseth me… If he should break his day, what should I gain / By the exaction of the forfeiture? / A pound of man’s flesh taken from a man / Is not so estimable, profitable neither… To buy his favour, I extend this friendship: / If he will take it, so, if not, adieu. / And for my love, I pray you wrong me not… this merry bond.

1.3.170-171 Antonio: Hie thee, gentle Jew. / This Hebrew will turn Christian, he grows kind.

1.3.172 Bassanio: I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.

2.1.1 Morocco: Mislike me not for my complexion

2.1.15 Portia: the lott’ry of my destiny / Bars me from the right of voluntary choosing.

2.2.14-15, 16-17 Lancelet: I should stay with the Jew, my master, who, God bless the mark, is a / kind of devil… Certainly the Jew is the very devil / incarnation

2.2.49-50 Lancelet: It is a / wise father that knows his own child.

2.2.73 Lancelet: I am a Jew if I serve the Jew any longer.

2.2.104 Lancelet [to Bassanio]: you have the grace of God, sir, and he hath enough.

2.3.2 Jessica: Our house is hell

2.3.15-19 Jessica: To be ashamed to be my father’s child! / But though I am a daughter to his blood, / I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, / If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, / Become a Christian and thy loving wife.

2.5.34 Shylock: My sober house.

2.5.53-54 Jessica: if my fortune be not crossed, / I have a father, you a daughter lost.

2.7.80 Portia: Let all of his complexion choose me so.

2.8.12-17, 21-22 Solanio: I never heard a passion so confused, / So strange, outrageous, and so variable, / As the dog Jew did utter in the streets: / ‘My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter! / Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats! / Justice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter!… Find the girl, / She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats’.

2.8.37, 47-50 Salerio: I saw Bassanio and Antonio part… his eye being big with tears, / Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, / And with affection wondrous sensible / He wrung Bassanio’s hand, and so they parted.

2.8.51 Solanio: I think he only loves the world for him [i.e. Bassanio is all he lives for].

3.1.37-40, 44, 45-49 Shylock: If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He / hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked / at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated / mine enemies, and what’s the reason? I’m a Jew… If you prick us, do we not bleed?… And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we were like you in / the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his / humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by / Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it / shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

3.1.59-60 Shylock: I would / my daughter were dead at my foot, and the jewels in her ear!

3.1.78 Tubal: One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey.

3.2.174-177 Portia: I give them with this ring, / Which when you part from, lose or give away, / Let it presage the ruin of your love / And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

3.2.266-268 Bassanio: I have engaged myself to a dear friend, / Engaged my friend to his mere enemy, / To feed my means.

3.2.325 Bassanio [reading letter]: ‘Notwithstanding, use your pleasure, if your love do not persuade / you to come, let not my letter’.

3.3.5-6 Shylock: I’ll have my bond. Speak not against my bond. / I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond.

3.3.29, 31-32 Antonio: The duke cannot deny the course of law… if it be denied, / Will much impeach the justice of the state

3.4.16-17 Portia: this Antonio, / Being the bosom lover of my lord, / Must needs be like my lord

3.5.1-2 Lancelet: the sins of the father are to be laid upon the / children

3.5.7-8 Lancelet: you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not / the Jew’s daughter

3.5.14 Jessica: I shall be saved by my husband. He hath made by a Christian.

3.5.22-23 Jessica: [Lancelet] tells me / flatly there is no mercy for my in heaven because I am a Jew’s daughter

4.1.5-6 Duke: A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch / Uncapable of pity, void and empty / From any dram of mercy.

4.1.11-14 Antonio: I do oppose / My patience to his fury, and am armed / To suffer with a quietness of spirit / The very tyranny and rage of his.

4.1.26-27, 35 Duke: touched with humane gentleness and love, / Forgive a moiety of the principal… We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

4.1.37-38 Shylock: by our Holy Sabbath have I sworn / To have the due and forfeit of my bond

4.1.60-62 Shylock: can I give no reason, nor will I not, / More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing / I bear Antonio

4.1.67 Bassanio: Do all men kill the things they do not love?

4.1.68 Shylock: Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

4.1.69 Bassanio: Every offence is not a hate at first.

4.1.70 Shylock: What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

4.1.84 Antonio: Let me have judgement and the Jew his bond.

4.1.85 Bassanio: For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

4.1.88 Shylock: I would have my bond!

4.1.89 Duke: How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend’ring none?

4.1.90-91, 94-95, 98-104 Shylock: What judgement shall I dread, doing no wrong? / You have among you many a purchased slave… Shall I say to you, / Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?… You will answer / ‘The slaves are ours’. So do I answer you: / The pound of flesh which I demand of him / Is dearly bought, ’tis mine and I will have it. / If you deny me, fie upon your law! / There is no force in the decrees of Venice. / I stand for judgement.

4.1.114-115 Bassanio: The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all. / Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

4.1.116-117, 119-120 Antonio: I am the tainted wether of the flock, / Meetest for death… You cannot be better employed, Bassanio, / Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

4.1.123 Bassanio: Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

4.1.124  Shylock: To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

4.1.125-126 Gratiano: Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew, / Thou mak’st thy knife keen.

4.1.144 Shylock: I stand here for law.

4.1.171 Portia/Balthasar: Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?

4.1.182 Portia: Then must the Jew be merciful.

4.1.183 Shylock: On what compulsion must I? Tell me that.

4.1.184-187, 195-200 Portia: The quality of mercy is not strained, / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven / Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: / It blesseth him that gives and him that takes… It is an attribute to God himself; / And earthly powers doth then show likest God’s / When mercy seasons justice: therefore, Jew, / Though justice be thy plea, consider this, / That in the course of justice, none of us / Should seek salvation.

4.1.206-207 Shylock: My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, / The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

4.1.218-219 Portia: there is no power in Venice / Can alter a decree establishèd.

4.1.228-230 Shylock: An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven. / Shall I lay perjury upon my soul? / No, not for Venice.

4.1.247 Portia: You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

4.1.258-259 Portia: Are there balance here to weigh / The flesh?

4.1.260 Shylock: I have them ready.

4.1.261-262 Portia: Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge, / To stop his wounds, lest he should bleed to death.

4.1.263 Shylock: Is it so nominated in the bond?

4.1.264-265 Portia: It is not so expressed, but what of that? / ’Twere good you do so much charity.

4.1.266 Shylock: I cannot find it, ’tis not in the bond.

4.1.279-281 Antonio: Say how I loved you; speak me fair in death. / And when the tale is told, bid her be judge / Whether Bassanio had not once a love.

4.1.288-289 Bassanio: life itself, my wife, and all the world, / Are not with me esteemed above thy life.

4.1.294-296 Gratiano: I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love. / I would she were in heaven, so she could / Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

4.1.299-301 Shylock: These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter. / Would any of the stock of Barabbas / Had been her husband rather than a Christian.

4.1.310-316 Portia: This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood. / The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh’. / Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, / But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed / One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods / Are by the laws of Venice confiscate / Unto the state of Venice.

4.1.318 Shylock: Is that the law?

4.1.319-321 Portia: Thyself shalt see the act, / For thou urgest justice, be assured, / Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.

4.1.327-328 Portia: The Jew shall have all justice. Soft, no haste. / He shall have nothing but the penalty.

4.1.342 Shylock: Give me my principal, and let me go.

4.1.344-345 Portia: He hath refused it in open court. / He shall have merely justice and his bond.

4.1.381-384 Shylock: Nay, take my life and all. Pardon not that. / You take my house when you do take the prop / That doth sustain my house. You take my life/ When you do take the means whereby I live.

4.1.388, 393-397 Antonio: quit the fine for one half of his goods… that for this favour / He presently become a Christian. / The other, that he do record a gift / Here in court of all he dies possessed / Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

4.1.403-405 Shylock: I pray you give me leave to go from hence, / I am not well. Send the deed after me, / And I will sign it.

4.1.415-146 Duke: Antonio, gratify this gentleman, / For in my mind you are much bound to him.

5.1.144-145 Bassanio: this is Antonio, / To whom I am so infinitely bound.

5.1.146-147 Portia: You should in all sense be much bound to him, / For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.

5.1.205-27, 210 Bassanio: If you did know to whom I gave the ring, / If you did know for whom I gave the ring, / And would conceive for what I gave the ring… You would abate the strength of your displeasure.

5.1.265-267 Antonio: I dare be bound again, / My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord / Will never more break faith advisedly.

5.1.283-284 Portia: Portia was the doctor, / Nerissa there her clerk.

5.1.299-300 Bassanio: Sweet doctor, you shall be my bedfellow, / When I am absent, then lie with my wife.

Link to film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice (2004, directed by Michael Radford, starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons):

Intro to Drama: Performance Activity (Macbeth 4.1)

Macbeth 4.1 role play activity (adapted from resource at teachit.co.uk)

Preview:

satscen(edited) adapted from teachit.co.uk-page-001

Possible questions related to the performance activity:

  • What sound effects would you use?
  • How would you perform the scene as the First/Second/Third Witch? Why?
  • What about stage directions – who would move and when? How would they move? Why do you think they would move in that way?
  • How would you describe/visualise the setting?
  • What about costumes? Colours? Props?
  • What effect does the alliteration, assonance, and rhyming have?
  • Explain how you would perform/stage the scene.

Performance of the scene in groups of threes (one for each Witch) can illustrate to students that it is a living text that is meant to be performed, help students understand pace of the dialogue/scene and stage directions, and offer them the opportunity to improvise staging and prop usage, etc.

stage arena

 

Follow-up design activity (aimed at Junior Cycle students):

Q.1. Design the front page of a tabloid newspaper. Be sure to include a picture of the witches and a short news report about the scene on the front page.

OR

Q.2. Draw/sketch the scene in detail. Include the witches, setting and props in your drawing.