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Text Map: the Structure of Shakespearean Drama

Teachers' Rating:
  2 ratings

Hamlet bas relief

May 2010
Christina Porter, English teacher and Literacy Coach, Revere High School, Revere, MA.

Plays/Scenes Covered

Hamlet, but this pre-reading activity can be used with any play.



What's On for Today and Why

Many middle and even high school students in American classrooms, for a variety of reasons, are unfamiliar with the basic structure of dramatic literature. Familiarity with the structure of a particular text will increase comprehension and provide a foundation for further studies in literature.



This lesson will take 20-30 minutes and can be interwoven into any introductory lesson for a play.

What You Need

Folger edition of Hamlet
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

Handout #1 Text Map

Handout #2  Student Exercise

Handout #3  Answer Sheet for Handout #2


Handout #1 Text Map
Handout #2 Student Exercise
Handout #3 Answer Key
What To Do

1. Explain to students that before reading a play, it is important to understand how the text of dramatic literature is structured.


2. Ask students to identify what they understand to be the differences between a play and other forms of writing.


3. Distribute Handout #1 which shows some of the major features of Shakespearean Drama (act and scene identification, line numbers, footnotes, stage direction, etc)


4. Review each of these features with the students and explain their purpose

(e.g  a stage direction may tell an actor when to enter or exit)


5. Distribute Handout #2 which offers an opportunity for independent practice where students can apply their knowledge with a new section of text.

How Did It Go?
How much did students know about the structure of dramatic literature before the lesson? Did their responses to Handout #2 indicate that the students were able to identify key features of Shakespearean Drama?

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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1 Comment

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  Common Core State Standards

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

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