Lesson Plan

Wherefore Art Thou So Difficult, Shakespeare? Understanding Shakespeare

'Tis not easy to understand the language of the Bard! But, hark! Fret not! With the assistance of this joyous lesson, young players learn how to translate Shakespeare's English into modern language. Groups examine passages from Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, substituting modern words for Middle English.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the lesson to introduce a study of any of Shakespeare's plays or Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Challenge class members to craft a prologue for Romeo and Juliet as a rap or sonnet using modern language
  • Set aside extra prep time to prepare the many materials required for the lesson
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires projection equipment with audio for the slide show
Pros
  • The lesson demystifies the language and builds confidence in readers
  • Teacher notes provide extra support for instructors
Cons
  • None