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Get Thee to Wife!

Teachers' Rating:
  6 ratings

Charles Gibbon. A work worth the reading. London, 1591.

October 2001
Ron Clark teaches English at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Plays/Scenes Covered
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, or any play dealing with arranged marriage.
What's On for Today and Why

After reading Shakespeare's plays, students may wonder if all Elizabethan fathers were patriarchal dictators. In this lesson, students read and analyze sections from Charles Gibbon's 1591 A Work Worth the Reading to discover that the issue was far from black and white even four hundred years ago.


This lesson will take one class period.

What You Need
Folger Edition of

The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, or Romeo and Juliet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts


Copies of the handout: excerpts from A Work Worth the Reading and guidelines for the activity.


Enough colored pencils or markers for each pair to have a set.

Get Thee to Wife Handout
What To Do

1. Break students into pairs. Give each pair a copy of each handout.


2. Have the students read the passage and answer the questions. You may wish to have students read the passages aloud before starting the questions. Remind students that letter usage was different in 1591, and they may need the following guide to "translation":

v = u

u = v

i = j

f = s

vv = w


3. Convene as a large group to discuss the students' findings. How similar or different do your students find this argument from similar arguments being held today? In what ways does this reading change their view of the arranged marriage in the Shakespeare play they are studying?

How Did It Go?
Could students identify positions, arguments, and examples from the two sides? Did they provide appropriate explanations for their choices? Did they demonstrate their understanding of the two writers' different sides of the argument? Could they draw parallels to similar modern discussions?

If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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