“I would not have such a heart”

In Act 5, Scene 1, Lady Macbeth’s Gentlewoman tells the Doctor:

I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Read Act 5, Scene 1 in full.

1) What happens in this scene? What is the mood and tone of this scene?

2) In what way is Lady Macbeth different to earlier in the play?

3) Despite her dark deeds, does this scene change your opinion of Lady Macbeth at all? If so, why? And if not, why not?

4) If you were a director, how might you stage this scene? How would you use set, costume, mood, sound, etc. to create the atmosphere for this scene?

5) What do you think Lady Macbeth is writing? Provide three ideas as to what she might be writing, and who she is writing to. Use evidence from the play to support your ideas.

6) Choose one of your ideas and write Lady Macbeth’s letter. Look closely at her lines in Act 5, Scene 1 to see what things are tormenting her, and include them in your letter.

7) Share the letters as a class – what ideas did your classmates have?

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