This close reading assessment features 9 text-dependent, high-order questions to promote improved reading comprehension and analysis of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act 4, Scene 3) with emphasis on Malcolm’s skepticism about Macduff’s intentions. By engaging in this exercise, students will identify the purpose of a particular excerpt, analyze character motivations and development, examine word choice to discern meaning, draw logical inferences about the significance of given details, apply knowledge of literary devices, and more. An answer key with detailed rationale for each correct option is included, as are Word Document and PDF versions of the assessment.
This resource aligns well to Academic Literacy Project teaching principles. These worksheets serve well as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students decode Shakespeare’s language and pose/respond to questions relating to plot, broad topics, and character development, demonstrating an ability to analyze how complex characters transform and advance the plot and themes by applying logic and citing compelling, meaningful textual evidence. They will also evaluate their peers’ reasoning and use of rhetoric to advance claims, clarifying or challenging unclear ideas. Using this resource for structured guidance, students, ultimately, will present information, conclusions, and supporting textual evidence clearly, concisely, and appropriately, thereby helping their peers – and teacher – comprehend their thinking.
In addition to helping students gain deeper understanding of the material and greater confidence in their ability to read and comprehend complex texts, this resource helps prepare students for ACT reading question types.
Specifically, questions pertain to the following:
- Discerning the tone of an excerpt in context
- Applying knowledge of literary devices to the text (allusion)
- Drawing reasoned inferences about Malcolm and Macduff’s characterization
- Analyzing how complex characters interact
- Analyzing the author’s craft to infer intent
- Analyzing the significance of a particular textual detail
- Discerning the function of a particular excerpt
- Using specialized reference materials to define words and phrases, taking into consideration both denotative and connotative meanings