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Ariel, the (occasionally) tricksy spirit

Teachers' Rating:
  5 ratings

Henry Fuseli. Ariel. Oil on canvas, ca. 1800-1810.

February 2007
Bil Hoff teaches English at Faribault High School in Faribault, MN.

Plays/Scenes Covered
The Tempest
What's On for Today and Why

Students will focus on the character of Ariel. Using both online research and close reading in small groups, the students will come to a better understanding of this tricksy spirit.


This lesson will take one to two class periods.

What You Need

Folger edition of The Tempest
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Ariel Characterization Worksheet
What To Do

1. Demonstrate how to use the online concordance at shakespeare.clusty.com. Explain that a concordance groups together all the uses of each word in a piece of literature. Show students how to select a play to search, how to search for a particular word, and how to read the passages provided by each search.


2. Divide the class into at least five groups. Assign an act or a series of scenes to each group so that the whole play is covered.


3. Have the students scan the scenes identifying those in which Ariel appears. Have students make notes on the character's actions, behavior and speeches on the attached worksheet below. These are examples of direct characterization.


4. Have students then go to the concordance and enter the word Ariel. With reference to the whole text now, students should cross check every hit with their text. Who is speaking about Ariel? What is being said about Ariel? Which words are used to describe Ariel? Have students record these observations on the worksheet. These are examples of indirect characterization.


5. As a group, have students compare  and discuss their notes. How do the direct and indirect characterizations differ? How would students choose to perform Ariel, based on the results of this project?

How Did It Go?

Were students able to use a concordance effectively? Were students able to differentiate between the way in which Ariel presents himself as a character and the way others view him?

Were they able to use this information to suggest performance choices?


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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2 CommentsOldest | Newest

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coco November 16, 2014 12:29 PM

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Sheila October 13, 2014 7:29 PM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
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