Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Lesson 16: "Their names are pricked."    

Teachers' Rating:
  11 ratings

Plutarch. Lives. London, 1579 (Detail)

November 2007
Daniel Rock teaches language arts at Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami, Florida.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Julius Caesar 4.1
What's On for Today and Why

In this lesson, students will discuss areas of ambiguity in Julius Caesar. Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? The exploration of different characters' understanding of honor is one of the most interesting aspects of the play. Brutus seeks to "do the right thing", but commits treason and rebellion. Or does he? Are we meant to feel sympathy for Brutus? Is he a pawn in Cassius' game or a villain who rationalizes his actions? This activity is designed to have students analyze language as a tool to communicate essential and complex desires.


This lesson will take one or two class periods.

What You Need

Folger edition of Julius Caesar
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Script for neutral scene
What To Do

1. Write on the board, "one man's occupier is another man's liberator." Give students 10-15 minutes to write a response either agreeing or disagreeing.


2. In groups of two or three, have students discuss their responses. Read some aloud to share with class as a whole.


3. Introduce the concept of subtext, or the real meaning behind the text. (See the lesson plan, "It's all in the way you say it" )


4. Distribute copies of the short modern scene to the class. This is a "neutral scene"- a scene in which all of the content is provided by the subtext. 


5. Have two students volunteer to act out the scene with a subtext provided by other students. Examples include: B is late for a date, job interview, etc.


6. In groups of two, have students create their own subtexts and then perform the scene to the class. After each performance the audience has to guess the subtext.


7. Read Julius Caesar 4.1 with no inflection or meaning: students should ignore question or exclamation marks.


8. Divide students into groups of three. Ask each group to prepare a performance of the scene. Assign each group a character in the scene: they should try to act out the scene in a way that makes that character look the most admirable.


9. During rehearsal, students should highlight words to emphasize to make the subtext clear.


10. Have the students perform these scenes and after each performance discuss the subtext.

How Did It Go?
If the groups were able to accurately portray a point of view through a specific delivery techniques, the lesson was successful. It would be useful to review the words the students chose to highlight in the script to see the decisions they reached before performing.

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.

Login or register to post comments.

  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users:

If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix:
Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623