BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 13711

Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 7 - To kill the King (workshop)

Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 7 - To kill the King (workshop)
Key Info
  • Macbeth: Act 1 Scene 7 - To kill the King (workshop)
  • Duration: 07:13
  • Michael Boyd and Jonathan Slinger rehearse Macbeth's soliloquy and unpick key images from the speech about why he must not kill the King. We hear from the actors off stage who talk about their ideas and opinions to how Macbeth was thinking. The clip uses black/white and colour to distinguish between on and off stage. First broadcast on the Learning Zone on BBC2 in March 2012 as part of the Shakespeare Unlocked season.
  • Subject:



    Shakespeare: Tragedies

  • Keywords: ShakespeareUnlocked, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Shakespearian language, Act 1 Scene 7, iambic pentameter, English, Drama, language
Ideas for use in class
  • To start a discussion about the conflict Macbeth feels about the plan to murder Duncan and his fear of the consequences. Before watching the workshop, ask the students to consider the importance of a King in Shakespeare’s time. How would Shakespeare’s original audience react to the idea of someone planning to murder a king? Explain that there would be practical consequences (revenge, the consequences of treason) and also spiritual ones (the belief that you would be punished after death for committing such a grave sin). In the speech, Macbeth considers both kinds of consequence. Then read Macbeth's soliloquy in a group taking it in turns to read to a punctuation mark before the next student takes the speech to the following punctuation mark. In small groups ask students to brainstorm a list of words which describe the relationship of Macbeth and Duncan to this point in the play. Now ask them to make two lists from the soliloquy: one is of Macbeth's hopes for the outcome from the murder of Duncan and the other is of his fears. Next ask students to write two definitions, one of the word 'murder' and the other of 'assassination'. Can students give examples of each which would help to illustrate the difference? Finally, ask students to analyse the first seven lines of Macbeth's speech, from “If it were done . . .” to “We'd jump the life to come”. Ask them to explore what exactly Macbeth is saying here. You could do this by asking students to draw simple illustrations of each image to clarify what they mean. After watching the scene, split the students into pairs and ask them to chose three words to describe the actor/ director relationship as they saw and heard it in the workshop. Ask them how they think this compare with the student/teacher relationship. Find further resources at
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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