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Measure for Measure: Illuminating the script

Teachers' Rating:
  1 rating

Shakespeare. The works of Shakespear. Oxford, 1743-1744

November 2011
Danette Long teaches at Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Plays/Scenes Covered
Measure for Measure, 5.1 and 2
What's On for Today and Why

Students will learn to recognize, analyze, and synthesize the concept of ambiguity. Specifically, the students will extend and  illuminate the text of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure 5.1, debating the ambiguity in the Duke's marriage "announcement" to Isabella. Students will write a creative ending to Act 5, storyboard the scene and, finally, perform the scenes for the class or as a festival activity.


This lesson will take approximately 2-5 block schedule class periods, depending on how much class time is allowed for disussion, group work, technology, and performances.

What You Need

Folger editions of Measure for Measure

Digital cameras-one per group

Supplies of paper, pencils, markers, stickers, etc.

What To Do

1. Have students discuss the Duke's proposal to Isabella. What is his motivation? What does Duke Vincentio gain or lose from the proposal? What does Isabella gain or lose from the proposal? What are Isabella's options?


2. Divide the students into groups of 5 or 6. Have each group create a different ending. Have groups collaborate to extend Act 5 with a second scene that picks up where Scene 1 ends.


3. Ensure that the script includes as many characters as the number of students in the group so that every student participates in the performance. The principal characters of Duke Vincentio, Angelo, Claudio,and Isabella must be among the characters.


4. The student scripts should maintain the integrity of Shakespeare's language, style, and structure as much as possible and incorprate one of the proposed endings discussed in class.


5. Optional extension #1: Have students create a story board of their scene using tableaux and the Comic Life software.Students should develop individual tableaux (frozen pictures) which depict the most important aspects of their scene

  • Students photograph each tableau and load pictures into the Comic Life software to create a storyboard

Optional extension #2:

  • Once the script and storyboards are complete, students may work within their groups to block and perform their scenes. Performances should be shared with as many people as possible.

How Did It Go?

Were students able to sustain a discussion regarding the Duke's proposal to Isabella and how she should answer? Were students able to work collaboratively within their groups and create a script that maintained both the storyline and the integrity of Shakespeare's language? Did everyone participate in the performance?



Have students reseach other plays, novels etc where there is ambiguity (e.g Kate's speech in the final scene of The Taming of the Shrew,)


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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1 Comment

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monu November 5, 2014 5:50 AM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.

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