One of the most important decisions that a director of Macbeth has to make is how to stage scene 1 of Act II, when Macbeth suddenly sees a dagger that leads his way to killing Duncan. In this activity, students analyze two depictions of the dagger scene and think about how they would direct it. This activity encourages imaginative, yet well-reasoned thinking and shows students how Shakespeare's plays can be interpreted in many different ways.
Part I of this worksheet is based on watching two brief film clips (hyperlinked within the worksheet to YouTube videos) of Act II, scene 1 (one was filmed in 1971 and the other in 2010). In these eight questions, students analyze how each director chose to portray the dagger and what it could suggest about the dagger's origins. They also evaluate the effectiveness of the actors who played Macbeth.
In Part II, students respond to four questions about how they would direct the scene, considering the casting of the actors, the time period, the visuals, the specific actions Macbeth would perform, and more. These questions work well after the class has read Act II, but they can also be used after they've read the entire play.