Using Cymbeline as a template, students will understand what is a problem play and how to understand and incorporate rhythm into their monologues by analyzing their monologues and coming up with three clues the rhythm gives them about their characters.
– White board and markers – Cymbeline synopsis (studied before class) – individual monologues – individual first folios
Play Synopsis (30 minutes)
Cymbeline!! Select a student to draw on the board again. Remind students to take notes on the plays.
Discussion: (15 minutes)
What makes this play a tragedy? What does this play have to do with your life?
Instruction: (15 minutes)
Shakespeare wrote the majority of his characters in iambic pentameter—that means 10 syllables per line. Stressed/unstressed/stressed/unstressed/etc., but no one actually talks like that. Good Shakespeare actors that you see don’t speak in perfect iambic pentameter or end all of their phrases on a stressed syllable; however, the rhythm of Shakespeare’s words is vitally important in your character analysis.
If you piece is in iambic pentameter, then you must always pay attention to when your lines fall out of rhythm. It usually means something emotional is going on with your character. 12 syllables or more: it’s a hint that the character’s inner volcano is bubbling over. So much feeling, so little time to express it. 9 syllables or fewer: For some reason Shakespeare has written in a pause. Is the character hesitant? Confused? Unsure? Waiting for a response? 11 syllables: not necessarily a huge hint… although, multiple ones in a row will draw focus to the next regular 10 syllable line and make it more meaningful. Monosyllabic lines: lines in which all words are only one syllable. Give these the space they need. Draw focus to every word. Only the naked truth is being spoken. LOOK FOR PATTERNS
Some characters do not speak in rhythm at all—the number of syllables in their lines are completely random and meaningless. This is usually the case for lower class characters such as Bottom or Mistress Quickly. Students who have a monologue not in rhythm are not required to complete the rhythm portion of the assignment for the final assessment, however, the only way you can see if you fall into that category is by counting your syllables with the rest of us.
When you turn your final script in, there are two ways you can show your work on rhythm. You can write the total number of syllables at the end of lines that are not 10, or write a + and – system like so: How weary, stale, flat, and vnprofitable 11 Seemes to me all the vses of this world? 10 Fie on’t? Oh fie, fie, ’tis an vnweeded Garden 12 That growes to Seed: Things rank, and grosse in Nature 11 Possesse it meerely. That it should come to this: 11 But two months dead: Nay, not so much; not two, 10 So excellent a King, that was to this 10
Hiperion to a Satyre: so louing to my Mother, +5 That he might not beteene the windes of heauen +1 Visit her face too roughly. Heauen and Earth +1 Must I remember: why she would hang on him, +1 As if encrease of Appetite had growne 0 By what it fed on; and yet within a month? +1 Let me not thinke on’t: Frailty, thy name is woman. +2
Individual Practice: (15 minutes)
Have students spread around the room and individually count out their rhythms. Write down three hints you discover about your character based off of the rhythm or lack of rhythm found in your piece.
Group Practice: (10 minutes)
Get in groups of three and perform your monologues for each other. After each monologue, come up with one of the four main techniques we have focused on this unit the person needs to work the most on before previews next class.
Rhythm written in as script analysis and three hints about rhythm written down.
REMEMBER!!! YOUR QUIZ ON THE FOUR CATEGORIES OF SHAKESPEARE AND THE FOUR DIFFERENT PLAYS WE HAVE SPECIFICALLY COVERED IS NEXT TIME AT THE START OF CLASS. DON’T’ BE LATE.