Shakespeare would likely have been familiar with this work, Thomas Hoby's 1561 translation of Castilglioni's The Book of the Courtyer. In these two excerpts, Hoby outlines the differences between good writing and good speaking, focusing on how a speaker should effectively use his/her voice when delivering a speech. The book as a whole is meant to define the qualities of the "ideal" man.—JB
Castiglione, Baldassarre, conte, 1478-1529.
The courtyer of Count Baldessar Castilio diuided into foure bookes. Very necessary and profitable for yonge gentilmen and gentilwomen abiding in court, palaice or place, done into English by Thomas Hoby., Imprinted at London : By wyllyam Seres at the signe of the Hedghogge, 1561
View available documents
First book excerpt-page 1
First book excerpt-page 2
Second book excerpt
Jack Bathke / Princeton High School / Princeton, NJ / English
Have the students listen to a piece of oration from Shakespeare, perhaps Antony's oration following Caesar's assassination or Richard's speech in prison at the end of Richard II. After they have listened to the speech, have the students create a tableau vivant of the central image found in the speech. Then, as a class, discuss how the speaker uses words to create each image. Compare this result to the instructions in the first primary source excerpt: how closely have Shakespeare's speakers followed Castiglioni's guidelines?
Also, students can compare the idea of imagery in this work with the ideas that modern authors of how-to-write texts use (i.e. Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Ralph Keyes' The Courage to Write, or Stephen King's On Writing.)
Heather Newsam / Little Rock Central High School / Little Rock, AR / English
Have the students watch several video clips from unsuccessful and successful modern politicians and critique each speaker using the rules of speaking in the 16th century. Then, do the same with video excerpts of Shakespearean speeches.
Amy Krajeck / Webster Thomas High School / Webster, NY / English
After reading the guidelines aloud, have the students deliver a speech in three different ways: (a) soft "like a woman"; (b) rough "like a beast or country person"; and (c) a balance between the two. Discuss the effects of each presentation.