Embracing Shakespeare


The students will demonstrate their understanding of Shakespeare by performing a presentation on one of his plays.


Materials Needed

see lesson


Related Documents

• Launce Monologue  Lesson6.LaunceMonologue
• Play List  Lesson6.PlayList


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Shakespeare Insult kit, explanation and trial game.



Instruction: If we really want to get a taste of Shakespeare, we need do examine his plays. During this period (and possibly the next), we will have the opportunity to explore about 22 of his plays. Each member of the class should have a presentation to do that was given to them last week. You will need to insert at least 3 of these plays, with the dates initially written into your timelines. But let’s start out with one of Shakespeare’s first plays that he wrote when he was quite young, in the year 1592 or 1593 could be his first, and definitely not his most accomplished.


Modeling: Brief Presentation of Two Gentlemen of Verona. The students will be performing their own after the instructor. This is merely an example of how they can present. My personal favorite character is Launce and I will talk a bit about him.


Bosom buddies Valentine and Proteus bid a tearful farewell on a street in Verona. Valentine is off to improve himself, venturing out to see the world, while Proteus stays home in Verona, tied by his love for Julia. After Valentine departs, his servant, Speed, enters. Proteus inquires whether or not Speed delivered a letter to Julia, to which Speed replies affirmatively. Julia, meanwhile, asks her maid, Lucetta, with which man she should fall in love, and Lucetta recommends Proteus. Lucetta admits that she has a letter for Julia from Proteus. After much bickering, Julia tears up the letter, only to regret this act an instant later.
Antonio decides to send Proteus, his son, to the Duke’s court in Milan, a decision with which neither Proteus nor Julia is particularly happy. They exchange rings and promises to keep loving each other. Meanwhile, Valentine has fallen in love with the Duke’s feisty daughter, Silvia. When Proteus arrives at court, he too falls in love with Silvia, and vows to do anything he can to win her away from Valentine. When Valentine confesses that he and Silvia plan to elope, Proteus notifies the Duke of their plans, gaining favor for himself and effecting Valentine’s banishment from court. Back in Verona, Julia has hatched a plan to disguise herself as a man so that she can journey to Milan to be reunited with Proteus. Upon arriving at court, she witnesses Proteus and Thurio wooing Silvia.
The banished Valentine, while traveling to Mantua, is apprehended by a group of outlaws. The outlaws, all of whom are banished gentlemen as well, demand Valentine to become their king. Since they threaten to kill him if he refuses, Valentine accepts. Silvia and Julia, who is disguised as the page Sebastian, meet when Julia delivers the ring Proteus had given her to Silvia on behalf of Proteus. Julia does not reveal her identity. Silvia calls on her friend Sir Eglamour to help her escape her father’s oppressive will (he wants her to marry Thurio) and to find Valentine. However, while traveling through the forest, she and Eglamour are overtaken by a band of outlaws. Eglamour runs away, leaving Silvia to fend for herself against the outlaws. By this time, the Duke, Proteus, and Thurio, with Sebastian/Julia in tow, have organized a search party for Silvia.
Proteus wrests Silvia away from the outlaws. Valentine watches the interaction unseen. Proteus demands that Silvia give him some sign of her favor for freeing her, but she refuses. He tries to rape her for her resistance, but Valentine jumps out and stops him. Proteus immediately apologizes, and Valentine offers to give him Silvia as a token of their friendship. At this moment, Sebastian faints and his true identity becomes clear. Proteus decides that he really loves Julia better than Silvia, and takes her instead. The Duke realizes that Thurio is a thug and says that Valentine is far nobler and can marry Silvia. Valentine asks for clemency for the outlaws, and suggests that his marriage to Silvia and Proteus’ marriage to Julia should take place on the same day.


This summary was found at: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/twogentlemen/summary.html


Launce is the servant of Proteus and throughout the play, he interjects little observations along with his dog, Crab. Many have said that he is the first really memorable Shakespearean character, due largely to his comic relief, an example of which is demonstrated in the monologue section below where Launce is telling/demonstrating his family’s reactions as he left Verona. Check out a great video of this at: http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/works/work156.html#


Launce’s monologue, Act 2, scene 3
Nay, I’ll show you the manner of it. This
shoe is my father: no, this left shoe is my father:
no, no, this left shoe is my mother: nay, that
cannot be so neither: yes, it is so, it is so, it
hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in
it, is my mother, and this my father; a vengeance
on’t! there ’tis: now, sit, this staff is my
sister, for, look you, she is as white as a lily and
as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid: I
am the dog: no, the dog is himself, and I am the
dog–Oh! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so,
so. Now come I to my father; Father, your blessing:
now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping:
now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on. Now
come I to my mother: O, that she could speak now
like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why, there
’tis; here’s my mother’s breath up and down.


Launce also later talks about being in love and describes his dream girl as: “She can fetch, carry, milk, sew, brew good ale, knit, wash and scour. She is not without her detriments: she is toothless, and overly fond of liquor, and has illegitimate children and “… more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults”


Checking for Understanding: What did you like about the story? What parts were interesting to you? What did you like about the character I described? Do you see any plays or movies from today, or the characters in them, that have similarities?


Transition: Now that we are more familiar with the two gentlemen of Verona, it’s time for us to familiarize ourselves with the other works of Shakespeare


Guided Practice: Presentations on Shakespeare’s plays: from the list given, write down what the play is about to remind yourself. Star the ones that appeal to you or characters you might be interested in playing someday. Which ones seemed exciting or interesting to you that you would like to get to know further? This paper will be turned in for credit and returned later for your future use.


Independent Practice: Get together with new groups and talk about your observations. As a group, choose one play you all liked. If you were to change the setting to any other setting in the history of the world, except Shakespeare’s, how would you do it? Why would this be interesting?



Closure and Assessment: Group leader from each group needs to share your ideas from the group discussion with the class.