“Double, double toil and trouble;/ Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” So goes the Weird Sisters’ famous chant in Macbeth. Students are always enthralled with the supernatural elements in Shakespeare’s “Scottish play.” From the chanting witches to the mysterious floating dagger, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most fantastical and dramatic works. The foray into the supernatural is fun and exciting, and it also fills the play with the kind of ambiguity that invites deep textual analysis.
Psychological Character Study and Universal Theme
Like Hamlet, Macbeth is intensely psychological. It allows students to explore one of the most universal and socially relevant themes in Western literature – the consequences of human ambition when it suppresses one’s sense of morality. As students trace Macbeth’s downfall, they also explore what it is, exactly, that can cause a seemingly decent human being to commit immoral and evil acts.