Unlocking Shakespeare's Text

Created by Anna Porter

Shakespeare’s text holds valuable tools that students can use to unlock and understand meaning. In this unit by Anna Porter, students explore how to use the tools of research, context, textual analysis, imagery and punctuation to help them unlock meaning in Shakespeare’s text. This unit is created for an Intermediate to Advanced drama class with a basic background in plot structure and acting technique.

Through this five lesson series, students will use journals, participate in class discussions, activities and performance to explore the tools used to unlock a text. Assessment tools include informal assessment as well as a final group presentation and performance.

The overview lays out the goals and objectives for the unit, as well as a materials list and lesson descriptions.
1: Approaching the Text
As a class, students will explore the tools of context, meaning of words, and imagery to unlock meaning in a Shakespearean text. Students will then use these tools to create a modern translation for their text. Students will also be introduced to resources and begin work on a monologue that they will continue to use throughout the unit.
2: Imagery and Insults
Students will use insults and compliments to explore sound and imagery created in Shakespeare’s texts. Students will also practice this form, then create a short scenario where they must use their voice and body to bring Shakespeare’s imagery to life to achieve a specific emotional response.
3: Finding Emotion and Action in Text
Students will explore Outbursts, Action Words, and Emotion Words through structured activity and textual analysis.
4: Punctuation
Students will learn the clues and meaning behind the punctuation that Shakespeare used. Students will also dissect, analyze, and color code examples. They will also use physical movement tied to specific punctuation to help them explore how it can communicate meaning in the text. Students will then apply this and analyze their performance script by examining their punctuation.
5: Performance
Students will demonstrate their understanding of textual analysis, painting with words and imagery, and physicalizing punctuation by preparing and performing a staged reading of a Shakespearean monologue in a group presentation.

Standards Addressed

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