The Tempest: Linked Text Set (Pre-Reading)

Before you begin your unit on William Shakespeare's The Tempest, introduce the themes of the play with a lesson based on the biblical story of Joseph. Taking your high schoolers through selected text from Genesis 17-44, the lesson encourages them to think about the ways that Joseph's story of betrayal and forgiveness connects to their own lives, and then to the play once they start reading.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • If you don't want to use the Bible in class, find an abridged version or summary of the Genesis story to bring to class in a worksheet
Classroom Considerations

  • Part of the lesson is based on a story from the Bible, and the lesson provides a note for explaining to kids that regardless of their religious beliefs, the Bible is a historical text and a precedent to Shakespeare's writing; if you're teaching in a public school, be ready for parent concerns about reading the Bible in class
  • Reference sheet with the Bible reading is very long (six pages), and may be too much for some readers, especially before reading Shakespeare
Pros

  • Provides links to an easier version of the text and a more complex version
  • Encourages kids to think critically about the themes they are about to read, and to explicitly compare two texts with very similar themes
Cons

  • None