Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Teaching Resources
• Teaching Modules
Teaching Modules Archive

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Exploring Rhythm in Richard III

Teachers' Rating:
  7 ratings

William Shakespeare. The tragical history of King Richard III. Altered…by C. Cibber. Dublin, 1756.

January 2009
Mark Miazga teaches 9th and 11th Grade English at Baltimore City College High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

Plays/Scenes Covered
Richard III  1.2
What's On for Today and Why

Students will examine meter and experiment with pauses in the dialogue between Lady Anne and Richard in 1.2, in order to analyze how rhythm affects meaning and tone. This lesson will take approximately 50 minutes.

What You Need
  • Folger edition of Richard III (Act 1, Scene 2)
    Available in  Folger print edition  and Folger Digital Texts
  • Handout on iambic pentameter


Handout #1 Iambic Pentameter
What To Do
  1. Have students begin reading at around line 72 of 1.2 in Folger text of the play when Richard and Anne start addressing each other. Read it “round robin” style, with all students reading one piece of dialogue without any distinguishable pauses between readers.
  2. Distribute Handout #1 on rhythm and iambic pentameter making sure that students understand the main principles of scansion. Scan about 30 lines of text, counting syllable and noting breaks in iambic pentameter.
  3. Discuss with class – why does Shakespeare break the iambic pentameter? In addition, why does he write some of his iambic pentameter lines with 10 syllables and some with 11 syllables? What is the effect of this break in rhythm? Students should note that breaks in the rhythm seem to come with high emotional points in the dialogue, and seem to shift the balance of power in the conversation.
  4. Re-read lines of text with a 3 second pause, then repeat with a 5 second pause after Anne or Richard speaks. Discuss – how do the pauses affect meaning? Discuss the relationship between the shifts in meter and pauses – does Shakespeare intend for there to be pauses? How do you know?
  5. Assign students into groups of 3-4 students, and have them continue to read through the rest of the scene. As they read, they should note places in the dialogue where iambic pentameter is broken, as well as places where a longer pause most affects meaning.
  6. Have students report back to the group about the specific lines where meter and pauses most affect meaning.
  7. Ask students to decide on the lines of text that most deserve longer pauses because of metrical shifts.
  8. Have the class annotate their scenes with these pauses.
  9. Have two volunteers perform the scene using the class recommendations for pauses, and taking additional direction from the class as appropriate.


How Did It Go?
At the end of the lesson, the teacher should reflect on whether the students’ work during their group exercises and subsequent report to the class demonstrated understanding of the affect of meter and pausing in dialogue. Participation by all students in the first reading, as well as all students in the class direction and the end, will also demonstrate understanding of the concept.

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.

Login or register to post comments.

10 CommentsOldest | Newest

Varun November 22, 2014 12:25 AM

Thanks for share! I like Friv4 ||| friv4 update new games http://friv4schoolonline.net/kids-games
Friv4 November 12, 2014 4:58 AM

This was the best website with lot useful information for the reader. Thanks for shring the post and keep the good works. You are the best, god bless you. Read our traveling blog : Bali Tour, Bali Tours, Bali Tour Driver, Bali Day Tours, Best Bali Tour, Bali Full Day Tour, Bali Half Day Tour, Bali Combination Tour, Bali Adventure Tour, Bali Car Charter, Bali Driver, Bali Day Tour
Wayan November 10, 2014 4:39 PM

Si vous êtes une entreprise, vous pouvez faire votre comité entreprise lyon avec achat espace lyon .
perry October 29, 2014 5:33 AM

Découvrez le meilleur karting à Lyon indoor. Découvrez aussi notre park attraction lyon exclusivement pour enfants avec des attractions de tous genres.
perry October 29, 2014 5:32 AM

Discover the F1 Driving , Professional drivers in Europe. Découvrez des stage pilotage et stage de pilotage sur divers circuits d'Europe. Découvrez le meilleur perry October 28, 2014 4:56 AM

This concept really works well, just need to implement with the right strategy. Worth exploring!
Amazon Bontonwear X Men Jacket
Hazel October 11, 2014 6:47 AM

This concept really works well, just need to implement with the right strategy. Worth exploring! Amazon Bontonwear X Men Jacket
Hazel October 11, 2014 6:47 AM

Great, nice choice of topic discussion. It is effective for me for accessing the required result of work out. Thumbs up! Drive Jacket on Amazon
Annie October 11, 2014 6:43 AM

garage door sizes
Traci October 7, 2014 3:55 AM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

Note to Mozilla Firefox Users:

If the PDF documents are freezing, please try the following fix:
Go to Tools. Under Options click the Applications icon. Under Content Type, find Adobe Acrobat Document. Select Use Adobe Reader. If the option already says Use Adobe Reader, try changing the option to Use Adobe Acrobat.

Bookmark and Share   
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623