Great Literature: The Tempest & MacBeth

Week 16: Great Literature: Shakespeare’s The Tempest & MacBeth


Read K – 5: The Tempest by Bruce Coville

6 – 8: The Tempest AND MacBeth both by Bruce Coville


  • Shakespeare was famous for his comedies (funny stories), tragedies (sad stories) and histories.  Is the Tempest a comedy, tragedy, or history? (comedy)
  • How did Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, end up on an isolated island?  (His brother and a nearby king wanted control of the city of Milan and plotted against him.)
  • Who do Prospero and his daughter share the island with? (a spirit and a monster)
  • Who does Miranda fall in love with? (king’s son Ferdinand)
  • Which 3 characters provide the comedy for the play? (Caliban the monster, the jester, and the butler)
  • Why does Prospero choose to forgive his brother and the king? (He could tell they were truly sorry for the wrongs they had committed.)
  • What is a tempest? (a great storm)
  • Why do you think the play is called “The Tempest”? (A storm brings a ship to the island carrying those who had originally betrayed Prospero.)

Questions for grades 6 – 8: 

  • Is MacBeth a comedy, tragedy, or history? (tragedy)
  • Witches inform MacBeth that he will be king.  Why does this news seem to be both good and bad? (Good to be king, bad because ugly witches delivered the news.)
  • How did MacBeth become King? What part did his wife play in him becoming king? (MacBeth killed Duncan; his wife urged him on.)
  • Was MacBeth a happy king?  Why? (no; tormented with guilt)
  • Why did he want Banquo and Banquo’s son, Fleance, killed? (Prophecy said that Branquo’s children would be kings;  he didn’t want his throne to pass to their line.)
  • What happened to Fleance? (escaped)
  • How did Lady MacBeth change after becoming queen? (sleep walking; muttered strange words, complained of blood on her hands; eventually died)
  • How did Birnam Wood come to Dunsinone Hill? (men marched with cut branches to hide their true numbers)
  • MacBeth was told no one born of woman could kill him. How was he defeated by MacDuff? (cesarian section)
  • Did any lines in this play sound familiar to you? (answers will vary)
  • What do you think may be a famous rhyme from this play? (Double, Double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.)
  • Why do you think this is such a popular play? (Temptation to do evil can cause more evil; twisted words make story exciting.)


K – 2:  Art: Draw your own picture from The Tempest.

3 – 5: Of the three Shakespeare stories you’ve read over the past three weeks, which one do you like the best?  Why?  Write a paragraph.

6 – 8: Choose one of the following essay topics:

  • Of the six Shakespeare stories you’ve read, which is your favorite? Why?  Write a 5 paragraph, three proof essay.
  • Compare and contrast MacBeth and his wife to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
  • How can the witches MacBeth encounters be compared to the devil?
  • Who is the greater villain in the play, MacBeth or his wife? Defend your answer.

Copyright December 23rd, 2015 by Gwen Fredette


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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Reformation, Renaissance

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