Christina Porter, Revere High School, Revere, Massachusetts.
Julius Caesar 2.2.1-112
What's On for Today and Why
Students will examine primary source materials on history and the supernatural which relate to Julius Caesar. By acting out the scene based on different historical understandings, they will identify facts, theories and similarities in the sources which help explain characters' motivations, decisions, and reactions.
This lesson will take two to three class periods.
What You Need
Folger edition of Julius Caesar
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
What To Do
1. Read 2.2.1-112 together as a class.
2. Divide students into small groups and distribute 3 handouts :
Handout #1-Preliminary questions
Handout #2-Primary sources
Handout #3-Activity directions
Ask all students to fill out the preliminary questions, read the primary sources handout and then turn to the activity directions.
3. Walk through this next step a couple of times with the class as a whole. While one group is performing 2.2.1-112, other groups will interject "Prithee pause" to share an interesting fact, point out a similarity or a difference or offer a theory as to why a character behaves in a particular way based on what was learned from the primary sources. Allow students to continue this exercise without teacher direction.
4. Have a designated student keep a written record of these interjections. Discuss them as a group: which changed their view of the scene and its context?
5. Have students reread Plutarch's version and discuss how this could be acted out, what dialogue could be addd etc. In groups have students act out the scene again in 2 ways: first based on Shakespeare's interpretation of the scene, and second based on Plutarch's interpretation. Make sure they incorporate specific changes in their acting: for instance, Caesar's reaction to the light at the window is a specific difference they can note and incorporate.
6. Have students compare and discuss the differences in the interpretations.
7. Finally have students answer questions on Handout #4 to evaluate what they learned from reading the primary source material.
How Did It Go?
Did the students' interpretation of the scene change or evolve after studying the primary sources? Were students able to appropriately interject information learned from the primary sources into the scene? Did the answers to Handout #4 substantially differ from Handout #1, indicating greater understanding of the primary source material?
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.