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I, Banquo: Activities


(Suitable for year 7 and above)

A young audience who have heard the story of Macbeth's murderous tyranny told by one of his bleeding victims will quickly make their own response to it. Here is a classroom exercise devised by Colin Crouch for young people who have seen I, Banquo.

Print Macbeth Act III, scene (iii) in full. This can be found at Rhymezone .

These 20 lines make up an entire scene in Macbeth. Three thugs have been paid (threatened? persuaded? blackmailed?) by Macbeth to meet in a wild place at sunset to ambush and kill Macbeth's best friend, Banquo, and his son.

In groups of five (if you appoint a director or change the number of murderers your group could be more or less) rehearse and present the scene.

Colin's tips:

  1. This is not a fight. It is the cold-blooded killing of a defenceless victim.
  2. Try to find ways of showing the tension in the murderers as they prepare for the killing.
  3. How can you emphasize the helplessness of the victim?
  4. Shock the audience with the violence of Banquo's death - but make sure none of your actors get really hurt.
  5. Try to show young Fleance's bewilderment - then terror.
  6. Actors rehearse again and again till they are perfect. Check if your scene is perfect. Can you learn your lines?

You've perfected your presentation? Now some writing:

Imagine you are one of the murderers and tell your version of the whole affair, from getting the King's orders to reporting back to him your success. And your failure to kill the boy.

Write a script for the scene in which the murderers report back to the king. You can boast if you like, and try to impress him with gory detail, but you must confess you failed with the boy. How will he react to that?

Recently a number of innocent teenagers have been stabbed on their own streets by other teenagers. Explore your own thoughts about this.