Saturday, February 14, 2009

Now we're ready to gouge out eyes

It was certainly Friday the 13th yesterday at school. All throughout the English department, there seemed to be drama and upheaval, from minor to major.

However, I had taught one of my favorite lessons I have all year, and, as a result, am feeling totally invigorated about my King Lear unit. I'm teaching the hell out of it.

I adapted a lesson developed by Tori Talbot, one of my colleagues at the Teaching Shakespeare Institute. I ran off three copies of Act 3, Scene 2, in which Lear is railing against the storm, minus the punctuation. Then, we watched three clips of the speech, and students punctuated the speech as they watched. They really connected the way the language was used to convey meaning, and the comments they offered after each viewing (and each clip was under 2 minutes) were so good, they gave me goosebumps. We were able to analyze how each Lear sort of emphasized different aspects of the character; James Earl Jones emphasized his fury, Michael Holdern emphasized the self-pitying, and Lawrence Olivier read it like a weak ramble, emphasizing both Lear's madness and his impotence.

Afterwards, we compared the quarto version with the folio version of the play, and then to our conflated version. The punctuation has been added hundreds of year after Shakespeare, and we discussed how and why they punctuated it as they did.

It was awesome; it really was. We're now ready to gouge out eyes.


Anonymous said...

would love to hear your reaction to Baltimore Sun's three-part Alonso story.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I saw the title of your post and just about gagged. As I read on, I recognized the allusion. Whew!

KK the Englishee Teacher said...

I do a similar lesson with Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy. Last time I did it, we watched the Olivier, Gibson, Kline, and Brannaugh versions. Personally, I liked the Brannuagh best.