Shakespearean Character Study | Lesson Plan

Corresponds to I Don’t Believe in Shakespeare article. 

Lesson Description & Overview

Grade: 12, English IV

After becoming familiar with the Shakespeare plays, “Richard III,” Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Romeo and Juliet,” students will work in pairs and use a Research Worksheet to conduct detailed research of one character from one of those plays. Each group will present their findings in the format of a courtroom-style class discussion, where the group must defend a claim about the actions of their character by presenting evidence from the text that supports their argumentative claim. The whole class will then display listening and argumentative skills by cross-examining the evidence and claim.

Note: This lesson is designed to be at the end of a Shakespeare Unit, after students are familiar with several plays. They have not been required to read every play in its entirety, but have been studying the overall plot of each play, close-reading excerpts, and comparing and contrasting the 3 plays against each other. In addition, the class will have already learned rhetoric and argumentative structure strategies in previous lessons.

Note: This lesson will take about one week to complete: 1 introduction day, 1-3 days for research and 2-4 days for courtroom proceedings, depending on class size.

Enduring Understandings

  • The moral dilemmas and quandaries of Shakespearean characters have underlying motivations, which can be revealed through studying the behaviors and actions of the character.
  • Effective arguments rely on factual and evidentiary support, good presentation skills, and strong organization in order to persuade an audience.

Please contact me for the detailed lesson plan.