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

Famous Death Lines

Teachers' Rating:
  13 ratings

Henry IV, Part 1

October 2010
Leslie Kelly teaches at Githens Middle School in Durham, North Carolina.

Plays/Scenes Covered

This lesson is a general introduction to Shakespeare's language. Lines have been taken from:

Antony and Cleopatra


Henry IV, Part 2

Julius Caesar

King John

King Lear



Richard III

Richard II

Romeo and Juliet

Timon of Athens

Titus Andronicus

The Winter's Tale

What's On for Today and Why

In this pre-reading activity, students are introduced to the drama and language of Shakespeare by delivering the famous last words of his characters.


This lesson will take one class period.  

Famous Last Words from Shakespeare
Famous Last Words Using "Death Lines" to Introduce Shakespeare
What To Do

1. Prepare the activity by printing or writing each death line on a separate index card.


2.  Begin the lesson by handing one card to each student. 


3. Explain to the students that the words on their cards were the last words spoken by a character from one of Shakespeare’s plays.  They are “death lines.”  Inform the students that although they may not understand all the words on the card, they must attempt to derive meaning from the line and visualize the moment of death.  (3 minutes)


4. Give the student the task.  They must read the line out loud to the class as they act out the death itself.  Not all students will have lines that dictate the method they use to die. Some will.  They must take this into consideration as they plan their dramatic demise.  (3 minutes)


5. Model for the students.  (1 minute)


6. Give the students time to silently read their lines, ask any questions they may have about them, and plan out the death itself.  (10 minutes)

Note:  This is a good time to set limits that ensure the safety of all students.


7. Refocus the students to the front of the room.  There is one final element of the activity that must be explained to them.  After reading the line and dying, they must remain “dead.”  By the end of the activity, all teachers and students will be lying dead in the same position in which they landed.


Note:  Although the students can be instructed to deliver their line and death whenever there is a break and they are inspired to do so, I have learned that it is often better to have them take their turn in a more organized manner.  I now have the student at the front and right of the room begin and direct students to proceed in a circular pattern.


8. Let the activity proceed.  (10 minutes)

How Did It Go?
Did your students enjoy delivering the dramatic death lines? Did they gain confidence in speaking and interpreting Shakespeare's language? Have they gained familiarity with Shakespeare's characters?

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.

21 CommentsOldest | Newest

mickey mouse waffle maker Cuisinart Waffle Maker blue cookware sets
Traci October 6, 2014 11:04 AM

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." William Shakespeare
Lee September 24, 2014 3:17 PM

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." William Shakespeare http://www.clickbank-reviews.net/
Lee September 23, 2014 11:30 PM

This is awesome Thank you
Lee September 23, 2014 11:27 PM

This is awesome Thank you
Lee September 23, 2014 11:26 PM

Excellent strategy, I am doing the same too in my task. This is a precious piece of writing actually. Thanks www.FitJackets.com
Annie September 18, 2014 3:11 AM

Interesting topic shown here, I am now working on it to determine the positive path and result. It’s effective to rely on. Exceptional! NewAmericanJackets
Annie September 18, 2014 3:08 AM

Shakespeare words are always inspiration for all of us. ______ Panic Attack Solution by Anna Gibson
Peter September 12, 2014 7:07 AM

You share inevitable features. I appreciate your effort to sharing with us. Keep up the good work! Smallville Jacket
Annie September 10, 2014 6:21 AM

The writer should ask about the reader where they want improvement in his articles. He should ask them to comment on your article and give you suggestions how they get quality stuff from you. This thing will give buy custom essays online you
Olga September 8, 2014 4:49 AM

View More
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
Additional Information

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