Et Tu Brutè: Performing Julius Caesar
Adapted by Mark Rounds
|California Language Arts Content Standards|
|Standards Addressed in this Unit|
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:
To engage students in preparatory research, see Shakespeare's England.
- Pre-reading: Synopsis and background notes.
- Read Julius Caesar.
- If possible watch a performance of the play and/or film (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1953 - with Marlon Brando, John Gielgud, James Mason).
- See the Romeo and Juliet unit for suggestions on ways to bring a play to life through a variety of reading strategies.
- Write a review of the production/s viewed. Evaluate features of design,
commenting on the effect of setting the play in different time periods.
Refer to descriptions of Orson Welles' production (set in Fascist Italy) at
the Mercury Theatre in 1937 (The
Road to Xanadu - Simon Callow).
- Background research: Use these sites:
- For information to help design a slide show or poster illustrating the political structure of Rome, the political situation, the sources of the play, Julius Caesar, Roman life and culture.
- Present your information to the class.
- Exposition: Using Act I as a reference, write character outlines for
Julius Caesar, Cassius, Brutus and Mark Antony, giving:
- a description of their position in Rome at the start of the play.
- two quotes showing what they think of themselves.
- two quotes showing what others think of them
(explain each of the quotes in your own words).
- Translate the main speeches of Brutus and Mark Antony in III.ii.
Identify features of persuasive language and quote examples.
- In groups, prepare, rehearse and present choral readings of these speeches, emphasising the persuasive language features (eg. repetition, rhetorical questions).
- Using persuasive language techniques, write a persuasive essay promoting either Brutus or Mark Antony for Emperor. Be sure to address the concerns of those who do not agree with you.
- Write a piece of expressive writing, discussing the
statement: "Julius Caesar should be called 'Brutus'."
- Using the search facility The Complete Works of William
Shakespeare collect references to animals (try key words 'beast'
and 'monster') in Julius Caesar. Create a chart or diagram
showing the quotes and the ideas they connote.
- Graph/chart/map the various stages in the plot against Caesar and the
subsequent political fortunes of Cassius, Brutus and Mark Antony. Record
the act, scene and line numbers of quotations; record events (past and
present) which indicate attitudes or changes of attitude or fortune.
- Role play the trial of Brutus and Cassius for the murder of Caesar - students to play roles of judge, defence/prosecution, fellow conspirators, Antony, Calphurnia, Portia etc.
Use the Persuasive Writing Rubric based on the California Content Standards to assess the Persuasive Essay (activity 7 above).
Select and analyze the meaning of an important 20+ line speech (students may work on 40+ lines of dialogue in pairs) from Julius Caesar. Annotate the speech/dialogue, showing:
- meaning - word choice, imagery and sub-text.
- motivation - reasons for behavior.
- relevant staging (set/costume/movement as relevant).
- relevant performance (physical and vocal) decisions.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - CD ROM
(© 1994-1997 Andromeda Interactive Ltd UK
- William Shakespeare: The Complete Works
This is a very comprehensive site with links to the complete works including background information, biographical information and pictures, information about Elizabethan theatres, a Shakespearean dictionary, the first folio, quotes, a quiz and a discussion forum.
- Life in Elzabethan England
- The Shakespearean Homework Helper
- Surfing with the Bard
- Talking to Shakespeare
- A Shakespeare Glossary
- Shakespeare's language
- Shakespeare's England
- Much Ado About Something
Is it possible that William Shakespeare was the nom-de-plume of Christopher Marlowe, the 16 century English playwright? This site explores the evidence and the conflicting viewpoints.
- In Search of Shakespeare
A PBS resource to support the television series which includes, teaching resources, a playwright game and information on Shakespeare's life and times.
- No Fear Shakespeare
A site which presents the language of Shakespeare's plays side-by-side with a facing-page translation into modern English.
- Mankiewicz, Joseph (Film). (1953) Julius Caesar