Macbeth webquest

Shakespeare wrote and acted in London. Look at the website below to find out a bit more about the theatre in London during Shakespeare’s time. Then answer the questions.

Royal Shakespeare Company: Shakespeare’s London

1. Which social classes went to the theatre in London?

2. When did Shakespeare begin working in London?

3. Who worked in the theatre companies?

4. Which companies earned the most money?

5. Shakespeare was in The Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later called The King’s Men). How many people could they perform to?

6. How many times would a single play be performed?

William Shakespeare in London

Shakespeare grew up in Stratford upon Avon, but he wrote Macbeth when he was living in London. Read about what life was like in Shakespeare’s London.

7. Who was Richard Field?

8. Why do we think Shakespeare lived in Bishopsgate?

9. How much money did Shakespeare pay to buy his house in 1613?

10. Who wrote the pamphlet “The Seven Deadly Sins of London”?

11. What did the author think of London?

William Shakespeare the Playwright

Let’s find out a bit more about Shakespeare the playwright. Use the website below to answer the questions.

12. Was the profession of playwright a good career in Shakespeare’s time?

13. Did Shakespeare think his plays had great literary merit?

14. What is a patron?

15. What was the name of Shakespeare’s patron?

16. Why was being a playwright dangerous?

17. How many plays did Shakespeare publish in his lifetime?


Macbeth was based on historical events. Read about the inspiration for the play Macbeth and answer the questions below

18. What work did Shakespeare base his play on?

19. Where does the idea of Macbeth meeting the three witches come from?

20. What did King James VI think of witchcraft?

Genealogy of King James

Shakespeare wrote plays during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James VI. Have a look at the website which tells you about King James’s ancestors and the family connections he had with some of the people Shakespeare used as characters in Macbeth. Then answer the questions below.

21. Who was James VI related to?

22. Why did Shakespeare make Banquo a good and honorable man in the play, Macbeth?

Ghosts, Witches and Shakespeare

The three witches are famous characters from the play Macbeth, but what would Shakespeare’s audience have thought about witchcraft? Have a look at the website and answer the questions below.

23. What sort of entertainment were Shakespeare’s audience used to?

24. Did Elizabethan Londoners believe in astrology?

25. Did they believe in ghosts?

26. Why did some people think the play Macbeth was cursed?

Elizabethan superstitions

The Elizabethans were very superstitious and there were many rituals and beliefs that would seem extreme to us today. Have a look at the website link above and then answer the following questions.

27. How many witch trials were there in Elizabethan England?

28. What sort of people were usually accused of witchcraft?

Macbeth – the play and its players

29. How do actors refer to the play, Macbeth?

30. What do they believe will happen if they say ‘Macbeth’ inside a theatre?

31. If an actor says the name of the play by accident, how can they dispel the curse?

Publishing and advertising the plays

Many plays were performed every week in Shakespeare’s time. Nowadays there are hundreds of plays in theatres every night. Let’s find out how the theatres advertise their plays and get people in to watch them. Follow the website link above and then answer the questions below.

32. How many people could read in Shakespeare’s time?

How did theatres advertise their plays?