SWBAT describe Shakespeare’s use of humor in his introduction to Julius Caesar and evaluate the tone of Act I Scene I.
SWBAT evaluate sources for research use and organize information onto note cards.
This morning we busted out the first scene of Julius Caesar. I say “busted” because that’s pretty much what it was, a bust. I had no idea tenth graders could whine so much. I played Marullus, and three students played Flavius and the two commoners. “Played” being too strong of a word, as reading aloud standing up appeared to be just as painful as reading aloud sitting in a desk. It’s such a pity that I have to stop and tell the kids when to laugh. My personal favorite line:
FLAVIUS: But wherefore art not in thy shop today? Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?
SECOND COMMONER: Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday, to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.
…get it? The second commoner is a cobbler, so when asked “Why are you out partying on a work day?” his answer was, “Well, technically I am working! If they wear their shoes out partying, they’ll pay me to fix them!” My students make this excuse all the time: “Johnny, it’s hard to read with the book closed.” “No, I’m reading with my X-Ray vision.” Yeah, uh-huh. And yet, no one laughed, even when I explained it. Crickets. I personally wonder if Shakespeare had any idea of his works being forced on unsuspecting, ungrateful, whiny high school students who don’t realize that the reason they don’t understand it isn’t that the writing is bad, but because their brains are. Shakespeare wrote for the lowest of London classes, and yet my students consider him too high brow to bothered with. I forgot to bring sheets for togas today, but when we have a little costume to go with our forced, monotonous attempts at acting, they’ll warm up to Caesar. It will be a long two weeks if they can’t…
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