Revisit Lady Macbeth’s hopes and fears chart from Exercise 6 of Act 3 Scenes 3-4
Discuss how Lady Macbeth may be feeling about everything that has been happening. How might she feel about the murder of Banquo and of Macduff’s family? How might she feel about Macbeth making those decisions without asking her? Perhaps proud, perhaps lonely, anxious or guilty?
Explain that Lady Macbeth has been acting strangely. She has been walking in her sleep and her maid has called a doctor to watch her.
Invite all students to imagine they are the doctor. They are going to see how Lady Macbeth behaves and what she says and make notes for their report.
Give each student a copy of the ‘doctor’s report’ from the pdf resources to complete.
Play Lady Macbeth Sleepwalking video(s) BSL/ SSE or ASL.
- After watching the film, ask students to make notes answering the questions on the doctor’s report. You can display her lines on the slide and support them with the following additional questions. You can also watch the films again as needed:
Description of behaviour
What is Lady Macbeth doing? (Walking in her sleep; her eyes are open but she doesn’t know where she is; showing her hands; rubbing and washing her hands; smelling her hands; looking around; looking confused, looking determined…)
Description of speech
What seems most important in what Lady Macbeth signs/says? Which words or signs stand out most to you? Are there any repetitions?
Who is she talking to when she says ‘my lord’? (Macbeth, her husband)
Who does she talk about? (The old man who had so much blood in him - King Duncan; the wife of the Thane of Fife, Macduff’s wife; Banquo)
What do these people have in common? (They are all dead, killed by Macbeth)
State of mind
Does Lady Macbeth seem happy, anxious, guilty…?
Does she seem dangerous - might she hurt herself or someone else?
Why do you think Lady Macbeth is behaving like this? (She seems to be re-living terrible things that have happened in the past. She seems to be haunted by nightmares. Perhaps her mind seems full of scorpions - see Exercise 6 in Act 3 Scene 1-2)
What would you suggest to help Lady Macbeth? (medication or exercise or talking to someone?)
Can she be left alone or should she be looked after?
Remind students that in the time the play was written, many people believed in supernatural powers. The doctor has to write a professional report but how might they feel having witnessed Lady Macbeth’s speech? Perhaps scared that they know too much about what the Macbeths have been doing? Perhaps scared that bad spirits or demons are involved?
You might like to ask students to write up a final draft of their report.