Chimes at Midnight is a 1965 film directed by and starring Orson Welles. In 2015, critics stated that it could be the greatest film adaptation of any Shakespeare work. The film's plot centers on William Shakespeare's recurring character Sir John Falstaff and the father-son relationship he has with Prince Hal, who must choose between loyalty to his father, King Henry IV, or Falstaff. The script contains text from five of Shakespeare's plays; primarily Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2, but also Richard II, Henry V, and uses some dialogue from The Merry Wives of Windsor. Students can view the film on YouTube, ITunes, or other means and teachers can use a flipped classroom approach to complete this lesson in four days.
Students will read the Criterion Collection film essay on Chimes at Midnight and view supporting video clips and resources on the film. An additional resource is a TED Talk on the importance of Shakespeare. Students will view links to clips from the film as well as have access to a couple interviews with the director and critics of the film.
Included is a lesson on crafting a thesis sentence, as well as a link to the Question #3 prompt for the 1980 AP English Literature and Composition examination. The students will consider “Chimes at Midnight” in writing a thematic argument concerned on theme of passion versus responsibility. Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.
The activities fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, British Literature, or AP English Language or Literature class. The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions.
These four lessons 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.
Tags: Socratic Seminar, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, adversity, mentorship, Shakespeare