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Activities for Henry V




Secondary School Shakespeare Festival

Be the Chorus

 

1. Read the Prologue to Henry V as a group with the class and discuss any words that may cause difficulty
(ie:casques, ciphers, puissance)

2. Together, discuss the meaning and dramatic function of the Prologue.

2. Divide the class into four groups.

3. Have each group work on a choral performance of the Prologue - all can speak together or assign individual words/lines as long as everyone speaks.

4. Each group must include the following:  

  • An opening tableau—using any number of performers
  • A pause of three seconds
  • A direct address to the audience
  • A line that is whispered
  • A closing tableau (frozen picture) using all performers

5. Have students perform their version of the Prologue to the class.

6. Discuss choices: How did the language of the Prologue inform their choices?

 

"We Few, We Happy Few"

 

Henry’s most famous speech from Shakespeare’s play is now considered one of the greatest examples of motivational rhetoric in the English language. Its recognizable content and stirring emotional tone move almost any audience to Henry’s side.

1. Identify the following elements in the St. Crispin’s Day Speech (4.3)

a. Figurative language

b. Words that express or draw upon an emotion

c. Words that draw upon one or more of the senses

2. Discuss the elements of a moving speech delivery:

a. Vocal inflection

b. Physical relationship to the audience

c. Eye contact

d. Gestures

3. Have students write their own motivational speeches to inspire their peers to action (for example, raise money for a charity, play harder in a football game, etc.) incorporating the elements of content and presentation discussed in class.

 

4. Have each student present his or her speech to the class.

 

5. Compare the St. Crispin’s Day Speech to other motivational speeches from history or entertainment, for example: "I have a Dream" by Martin Luther King Jr., or the president’s speech from the movie Independence Day: Where else do we hear speeches like this? Are they effective?

 


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