Macbeth – Reading Comprehension Questions

Hello Year 5,

This term for Literacy we have started a new topic written by William Shakespeare-Macbeth.  We found out a little information about him and started reading the first scene of this play.  We also annotated the play as it was written in old English.  Please read the text below and answer the questions in full sentences.

Act 1 – Scenes 1-3

First Witch When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch Where the place?

Second Witch Upon the heath.

Third Witch There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch I come, graymalkin!

Second Witch Paddock calls.

Third Witch Anon!

ALL Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Duncan What bloody man is that? He can report,

As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt.  The newest state.

Malcolm This is the sergeant

Who like a good and hardy soldier fought

‘Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!

Say to the king the knowledge of the broil

As thou didst leave it.

Sergeant Doubtful it stood;

As two spent swimmers, that do cling together and choke their art.

The merciless Macdonwald– Worthy to be a rebel, for to that the multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon him–from the Western Isles Of kerns and gallow glasses is supplied;

And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, Show’d like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak:

For brave Macbeth–well he deserves that name– Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valour’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave;

Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,

Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps,

And fix’d his head upon our battlements.

Duncan O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!

Sergeant As whence the sun ‘gins his reflection

Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,

So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come

Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:

No sooner justice had with valour arm’d

Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,

But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage,

With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men

Began a fresh assault.

Duncan Dismay’d not this

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?


Do you think the old English was more powerful than modern English and that William Shakespeare used strong language?

Who was William Shakespeare?

Is the text above written in old English or modern English? How do you know this?

Can you give any examples of words from the text above that he used, which made the language more powerful?

What impression do you get about the witches? Think about the language they have used?

Why do you think the witches want to meet Macbeth?

Who is Duncan?

What is this battle about?


We will continue looking at the rest of the scenes this term and we will be doing some drama work.  Wait and see to find out what you have answered above is going to happen.  I’m really excited about this playwright.  You will enjoy it!

Mrs Khan

5 thoughts on “Macbeth – Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. 1.I think the old version is more powerful than the modern version as it uses more powerful adjectives and phrases to describe a Event and many more.E.g The merciless Macdonwald – Worthy to be rebel.Also William Shakespeare has used strong language throughout the play which makes the reader understand the events, personality and appearance.For an example William Shakespeare used the adjectives when Duncan said “O valiant cousin, Worthy gentleman”.

    2.William Shakespeare was a poet, playwright and actor who was born on April 1564 and died on April 23 1616.William Shakespeare has been considered as the greatest writer in the English language.Also he is regarded to be the worlds pre-eminent dramatist.

    3.The text above is written in the old version. I think this because the names and words which have been used such as ” graymalkin, hurlyburly, anon and many more.

  2. I think that old English is better than modern English because William Shakespeare used the words to make Macbeth very strong so you wold keep on reading . William Shakespeare was a poetry writer and a play writer . I think that the witches wonted to meet Macbeth because the witches needed to tell him that he is going to be king and lord . Duncan is the king he was so proud of Macbeth wininng the battle and helped Scotland win against Norway .

  3. I think that the old English is better than than modern English and Wiliam Shakespeare has used strong vocabulary to catch the readers attention. He is an famous play writer and an famous poet writer. The text above is written in old English. I know this because of the words like shall. Valiant and plight,revolt is an example that makes it stronger. The witches gave me an impression of them to me that they are nasty and a bit of evil minded. I think that the witches want to see Macbeth to tell him about his future and life and maybe trick him for doing something. Duncan is the King. The battle is about two countries Scotland and Norway having a war. Macbeth was the heroe and help won the battle with some help of his friend Banquo.

  4. I think thAt old English is more powerful that modern English because the old English explains it more powerfully and uses better vocabulary.i think that Shakespeare had used some powerful vocabulary because in his stories he has described the characters well and made all his stories intresting.william Shakespeare was a very famous play wrighter and poet wrighter.i think that the text above is ole English because the words are all spelled wrong aswell as the text explains more on what is happening in the play.the words that William Shakespere used in his play that ment a lot was compel’d,dis a’do and anon,I think this because the words that are said all effect the reader.the impressions that I think of the three witches are evil,scary,cruel and selfish.i think this because the words the witches say are quite powerful.i think they want to meet Macbeth to see what he looks like because every one else has seen him after the battle however not the wiches.duncan is a brave warrior who helped Macbeth win the battle against Norwich.the battle is about two warriors who joined a battle to help Scotland win against Norwich.

  5. I think the old English is more powerful and William Shakespeare used very strong language. William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. It is written in the old English because it uses words like ere and hurly burly. I think to word anon makes the language more powerful. I think the witches are mean because they used lots of strange language. Maby they want to meet Macbeth because he might of done something wrong. Duncan is a long and he is strong and brave. The battle is about two countries having a battle then Scotland wins because Macbeth killed everyone and Norweyan lost the battle.

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