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After your class has finished Act 3 of William Shakespeare’s tense drama, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, take a break from the play and use this 45-minute non-fiction lesson to draw compelling parallels between the actions of Cassius, Brutus, and the other conspirators with the actions of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin who killed President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
Interestingly, Booth was a well-regarded, successful actor of his time and performed the role of Mark Antony in a New York production of Julius Caesar. Five months later, he shot the president and, while on the run for 12 days before his eventual killing by authorities, made repeated references to Julius Caesar and Brutus in his personal diary.
This non-fiction lesson includes a link to a well-written, high-interest article and attractively designed worksheet that will require students to dig back into the article, Shakespeare’s play, and their own minds to find the answers.
After students have completed the article and worksheet (either in teams of two or as a solo assignment), pull the class back together and discuss/debate students’ answers to the questions. (A detailed answer key is included to help you easily grade papers and guide the class discussion.) The text-based questions are mostly open-ended, meaning lots of great discussion will come about in the debriefing.
This lesson adds a rich layer of interest as students head into Act 4 of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
This product is a 4-page PDF.
Want more modern and compelling lessons to help your students get excited about their study of Julius Caesar? Click HERE to view my full Julius Caesar unit, including FIVE WEEKS of high-interest lesson materials. Please note that this lesson is included in the unit bundle. No need to purchase this lesson separately if you've already purchased the money-saving bundle.
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Credit for Lincoln image: Library of Congress, WikiMedia Commons, Public domain
Credit for Caesar image: Pixabay, Public domain