Much Ado About Nothing
Sue Biondo-Hench, Carlisle Senior High School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Janet Field-Pickering, Folger Shakespeare Library, Head of Education 1996-2000.
This lesson may be tailored to work with many of Shakespeare's plays; however, this version is designed for the 4th act of Much Ado about Nothing.
What's On for Today and Why
Many of Shakespeare's plays offer tantalizing tidbits of information that allude to scenes, moments, and responses that are not included within the specific text of the play. For example, in Measure for Measure, the Duke asks Isabella to marry him, but her response to his proposal is not included in the text. In this lesson, the students will hypothesize about the content of unscripted moments, search for evidence in the actual text to support their hypothesis, and explore how this hypothesis would affect characterization.
This activity emphasizes higher level thinking, performance, and problem solving through direct involvement with the text.
This lesson will take at least two class sessions to complete.
What You Need
Folger edition of Much Ado About Nothing
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts
What To Do
1. After reading the play, return to the moment in Act 4, Scene 1 when Hero comes out of her faint after being falsely accused by Claudio on their wedding day. Her friends devise a plan to pretend she is dead until they figure out how to clear her name. Hero doesn’t speak much in this scene, but it obvious that she is filled with many conflicting emotions about what just happened to her.
2. Divide the students into groups, and ask them to complete the following tasks:
a. Create a scene that reveals what happens to Hero during the time she is pretending to be dead. We know how Beatrice feels, but how does Hero feel about Claudio and her father? How do her friends comfort her? How do they keep it all a secret?
b. Look for textual evidence that supports your characterization of Hero and her friends.
c. Write and rehearse a script that will bring this scene to life.
d. Prepare a report (including textual support) of your group’s decision-making process during the creation and rehearsal of the scene.
3. Have each group perform its scene and present its report.
4. Discuss the similarities and differences among the scenes and responses.
How Did It Go?
Did the students create and perform a scene that was logically supported with evidence from the text? Was the defense clear and complete? Was the performance (both scenes and the defense) prepared and interesting?
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.
Common Core State Standards
There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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Much Ado About Nothing: Study Guide
Measure for Measure: Study Guide