Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis

Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Friends, Romans, Countrywomen: Practice with Rhetorical Analysis
Grade Levels
Common Core Standards
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This lesson encourages students to write a rhetorical analysis essay.

Students learn about the all women cast of the Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

Students will read, listen to and view supporting video and audio clips while learning the necessary elements to establish their argument on the theme of the unit. Students will show mastery of the standards at the end of the lesson through a SOAPSTONE Analysis, short paragraph assessments, a Socratic seminar, and a written timed essay scored on an AP English-style rubric.

The central text is The New York Times theatre review, “Friends, Romans, Countrywomen” by Ben Brantley. The students will complete an evaluation on a purpose graphic organizer on this essay. The TED TALK is, Shakespeare in Shackles: The Transformative Power of Literature: Laura Bates at TEDxUCLA. Links to different NPR, New York Times articles and many videos showing the themes of the unit. There is a short paragraph writing opportunity writing to Frances Barber. Students will reading an interview with actor Frances Barber; they will complete the evaluation of ethos, logos, and pathos. There is a lesson on rhetorical situation on The New York Times essay “A Timeless Thirst for Power” by Charles Isherwood.

There is also a viewing and reading of a PBS interview with Phyllida Lloyd, Harriet Walter, and Frances Barber concerning the Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. The entire lessons act as a building of background knowledge for an original rhetorical analysis prompt based analyzing Ben Brantley’s theatre review of the production of the play.

These five daily lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities.


There are sources for teaching the Socratic Seminar, as the lessons act as building context for the argument analysis. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.


Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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