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Interpreting Character

Teaching Shakespeare series


Sue Biondo-Hench, a curriculum specialist (and alumna) of the Folger's Teaching Shakespeare Institute and an English teacher at Carlisle High School for 29 years, often starts off a new Shakespeare unit by having students explore character and motive using a key passage of text—sometimes just a single line.


"What makes Interpreting Character such a successful exercise," says Biondo-Hench, "is its multiple points of focus. Students explore a play-specific character, engage in performance-based methods for interpreting the text, and learn how Shakespeare's language allows for multiple meanings".

Interpreting Character uses scenes from Henry IV, Part 1  and centers on Prince Hal, but the exercise works equally well for any Shakespeare play—or any other play!

On the right side, other Teaching Shakespeare videos show how to explore text and imagery ("Tableaux Vivants") and how playing style and speech inflection may change meaning ("Occupation Romeo").




Interpreting Character is a project of Folger Education, Robert G. Young, Director, and Folger External Relations, Garland Scott, Head.

Director/Writer/Producer: Tien Pasco, StoryLab Films
Director of Photography: David Brillhart, Patrick Greene
Sound Recordist: Steve Rykerd
Editor: Teresa Stubs, Karen Mitchell

Special thanks to the students and faculty at Carlisle High School and Sue Biondo-Hench.

Children's Shakespeare Festival

How To

"Exploring characters is a sure-fire way for engaging students in Shakespeare. Who isn't fascinated by human behavior?"

       - Sue Biondo-Hench
         Teacher, Carlisle High

Interpreting Character:
Step-by-Step Guide


Teaching Henry IV, Part 1:
Fathers and Sons Lesson Plan

You might also like ...

Occupation Romeo

Tableaux Vivants

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