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

Hero vs. Claudio: A Case of Slander

Teachers' Rating:
  15 ratings

Much Ado About Nothing

September 1998
Janell Bemis, J.F. Kennedy Jr. High School, West Valley City, Utah.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Much Ado About Nothing 4.1.1-268
What's On for Today and Why
In this lesson the class will read and discuss historical information concerning marriage customs in the Renaissance and relate the information to the text of Much Ado About Nothing. The students will then discuss and debate the issues raised by Claudio repudiating Hero at the altar, focusing on the customs of the day, the laws concerning marriage, and Hero's case in particular. The students will stage a mock trial accusing Claudio of slandering Hero. The lesson will be summarized with a short writing assignment. The class should have read up to the beginning of Act 4 before this lesson.


This lesson will cover several class periods.

What You Need

Folger edition of Much Ado About Nothing
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Handouts on "Historical Background of Marriage" and "Marriage and Courtship in the Renaissance" (below); optional props for the trial (a judge's gown, a gavel, witness stand)

Marriage Handout
What To Do

1. The Background

Pass out Handout # 1, "Historical Background of Marriage Customs," which contains passages from documents concerning marriage customs and the laws governing marriage in Shakespeare's time. Split the students into small groups of four or five, and assign each group one or two passages to read and discuss. Then have each group share its findings with the class.


2. The Great Debate

Introduce Much Ado About Nothing 4.1 by assigning roles and having the students read aloud. Lead the class in a debate about Hero's situation. Was she a fit bride? Was Claudio wrong to accuse her? How about Hero's father? Why did he react the way he did? Why did Beatrice get so upset? What was the role of the Friar? Was hiding Hero a good solution to the problem?


3. The Trial of Claudio

Stage a mock trial. Assign all the roles: the prosecutor, Hero (or her father); the prosecuting attorney; the defendant, Claudio; the defense attorney; a judge; a jury; and witnesses. Give the students time to prepare for their roles. The only information they may use is the script of the play and the marriage customs handout.


Begin the trial. The judge announces the case and the prosecution begins its arguments with an opening statement. The defense also gives an opening statement. The prosecution then calls witnesses. The defense gets to cross-examine the witnesses. Then the defense calls its witnesses, and the prosecution cross-examines. The prosecution gives a closing argument, and the defense gives a closing argument. Then the judge gives instructions to the members of the jury, and dismisses them to consider their verdict. The jury deliberates, then returns and gives the verdict. If it is "not guilty," the case is dismissed; if it is "guilty," they give a recommendation for sentencing. The jury needs to defend its verdict, telling the judge how it came to a decision. The judge pronounces the verdict, and the case is over.


(If you don't have enough students to have a jury, an alternative could be to have the class vote on the verdict. In this case, have each student write a paragraph explaining his or her decision.)


4. Reflections on Consequences

Pass out Handout #2, "Courtship and Marriage in the Renaissance." Have the students complete the handout with relevant quotations from the play and statements that reflect their understanding of these issues in modern times. Assign the students to write a short paper about their reactions to the false accusations about Hero and Claudio's decision to publicly disgrace her. Have the students use the handout they have completed to support their opinions with quotations from the historical documents and the play. This paper could be started in class and/or completed as a homework assignment.

How Did It Go?
This lesson incorporates many strategies: research with historical documents, group and class discussion, debate, performance, textual analysis, and writing. There are many opportunities for assessments of the students' work through the entire process. Did the students make logical and well-supported arguments throughout? Did their writing reflect an understanding of marriage customs then and now and in the context of the play?

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.

74 CommentsOldest | Newest

email list broker It makes us more care about our health and appreciate this life.
david February 1, 2015 2:43 AM

They have better jobs, higher salaries, happier families, better health and they even look better – all because of their brain... cancer
peter February 1, 2015 2:39 AM

we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students./. car rental jaipur to delhi
peter February 1, 2015 1:10 AM

This paper could be started in class and/or completed as a homework assignment.PLR WP plugins
Jack January 29, 2015 6:46 AM

It may done individually, in pairs, or in groups of three students..business to business email lists
peter January 29, 2015 1:31 AM

Then have each group share its findings with the class.Toyota used hilux
Jack January 28, 2015 6:48 AM

it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles.. schuheonlineblog.weebly.com
egtisham January 28, 2015 1:24 AM

I have a venture that I’m just now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such information. mass divorce forms
egtisham January 27, 2015 4:32 AM

Want Higher Ranking In Google?? Nothing Is Better Than HIGH PR BLOG COMMENTING SERVICE. High PR backlinks
peter January 26, 2015 4:40 AM

Want Higher Ranking In Google?? Nothing Is Better Than HIGH PR BLOG COMMENTING SERVICE. 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