Research On Shakespeare's Era

Research On Shakespeare's Era

Prospero?s Magic

Opening

Complete a Quick Write as follows.

  • Make a list of the magic that Prospero uses in act 1.

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Prospero?s Magic

Work Time

Share your Quick Write list with your reading group, and then discuss the following questions. After listening to your group’s responses to each question, jot down brief answers and submit them to your teacher.

  • In what ways does Prospero wield his power (over Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, and Fernando)?
  • Why is Ariel bound to Prospero as a servant? How does Prospero treat him?
  • Why is Caliban bound to Prospero as a servant? How has Prospero treated him in the past, and how does he treat him now?
  • What are Ferdinand’s and Miranda’s responses to meeting each other?
  • What do you think are Prospero’s motives for causing this storm and shipwreck and the saving of those on board the ship?

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Who Is Civilized?

Work Time

With the whole class, discuss the following questions (in either order).

  • Who is civilized in this play so far? Explain your answer.
  • Who do the characters believe is the most civilized?

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Elizabethan Era Research

Work Time

How have ideas about civilized behavior and human rights changed since Shakespeare wrote his play?

To be clear about this, use the Internet to research what was practiced in Shakespeare’s time when criminals were punished and for entertainment. Work with your reading group, with one part of your group looking for information about punishment and the other for information about entertainment.

A suggested site for research is http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/.

Look at the Elizabethan Era sitemap and find entries for Elizabethan Entertainment and Elizabethan Executions.

Share with your group the information you find. Then go back to the initial question: How have ideas about civilized behavior and human rights changed since Shakespeare wrote his play?

Discuss the following questions.

  • Were the public executions (beheadings) of the Elizabethan era more civilized than what we do today?
  • Is bearbaiting a civilized form of entertainment? Is dogfighting or cockfighting?
  • Are modern boxing and wrestling civilized?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Work Time

In 1948, after the devastation of World War II, the newly formed United Nations adopted a set of “universal” human rights, rights for all people on Earth.

  • Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • If you have any questions about what the rights mean, ask your teacher and classmates about them.

Rights Violated

Closing

Work with your group to determine which of the rights in the document have been violated for characters in the play. Write your answers to the following questions.

  • Who in The Tempest violates those rights?
  • Where in the play are the rights violated? (Which act, scene, and line?)

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In the next lesson, you will share your answers with the whole class.

Choose one character whose rights have been violated according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Work with your group to produce prosecution evidence against the violator of human rights. During Lesson 3, you will have an opportunity to present this evidence. You will need to cite act, scene, and line numbers.

Ariel?s Song

Homework

While reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest , you will have the opportunity once or twice to look carefully at the poetry in the play. An obvious place to begin is act 1, scene 2, lines 440–467. Ariel has been asked to lead Ferdinand to Prospero and Miranda.

Read the lines carefully, and write your answers to the following questions.

  • What is the effect of the first part of Ariel’s song (beginning with “Come unto these yellow sands”) on Ferdinand?
  • In the song’s “burthen” (burden), or refrain, dogs bark and a rooster crows. How might these sounds affect a listener?
  • After the part beginning “Full fathom five thy father lies,” how does Ferdinand respond?
  • Much of this play has magic spells and invisible characters. How do you suppose these “special effects” were done during Shakespeare’s time? Draw a sketch of Ariel leading Ferdinand, and account for the fact that Ferdinand can’t see Ariel.

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