In my AP Literature class, we read Othello together. But before we start, I want my students to get a feel for Shakespeare's language beyond just reading it out of a book. Each student randomly receives one of Shakespeare's monologues from a variety of his plays and is challenged to complete two tasks: complete an initial close reading analysis of the piece and also recite the monologue memorized to his/her classmates. My favorite part of this lesson is the complete and utter disbelief and fear that my students have when they are assigned it (after all, how much memorization and recitation do we ask of students anymore), and how wonderfully they do on the day of their recitations. It makes for a great coming together moment for the class as well as they each cheer each other on (I usually try to book the auditorium for them, as well.)
In this download is a .zipped file of 5 documents. It includes:
1. The assignment itself
2. A selection of 16 Shakespearean monologues for the students to choose from
3. A sample student analysis
4. A rubric for grading the monologue performances
5. A glossary of poetic terms to aid the students in their written analysis.
All files are written in Microsoft Word for easy editing to suit the particulars of your Shakespeare unit and/or classroom.