Use our Much Ado About Nothing Lesson Plan and video to teach about characterization.
Our Much Ado About Nothing rap brings you something you’ve probably never seen before: Shakespeare–the man himself–rapping. And it nicely summarizes the play. But what’s more, the song is a great starting point for a lesson on characterization. Use the song and this worksheet to help students pick out Shakespeare’s characterization in Much Ado About Nothing.
The lesson is versatile: You can use this Much Ado About Nothing lesson plan to introduce the characters at the beginning of the play, as an ongoing characterization lesson as you read, or as a way to review the characters after you’ve finished studying the play.
The Lesson Plan
1. Watch the Much Ado About Nothing Video. Before you begin, ask students to pay particular attention to one character that seems interesting to them. Tell them that you’ll ask them about the character when the song is over.
2. When you finish the video. Have students share their character of choice with a classmate and explain what they remember about the character. Then have a few students share their characters with the class.
3. Tell students that in the song, the rapper is making things easy for you by telling you about the character. For example, we know that Hero is beautiful because he says, “Total PYT, a pretty young thing.” or we know that Benedick is clever because the song says, “he’ll be full of wit.”
But in real life, and in Shakespeares plays, you don’t learn someone is pretty because they say, “I’m pretty.” (Unless they are really pompous.) They way you learn about a person is through indirect characterization. That’s when you learn about a person from what they say, think and act.
4. Tell students that they are going to go on a characterization hunt through the real Much Ado About Nothing to find the parts of the play where Shakespeare describes the characters. (Note: this could be done over the course of reading a play.) Students can use this chart to help them get started.
5. Fill out the descriptions of the characters from the song lines. Then, as they are reading, have students write down lines from the play that support the character description.
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