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Student Assignment Sheet: Much Ado About Something

An Introduction to Shakespeare's Language

  • A Note to Teachers

  • Pre-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Pre-Viewing Discussion Questions
  • Preparation for Viewing

  • Post-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Debriefing Discussion
  • Help with Reading Poetry
  • Which Text Should We Read?
  • Parodies of Shakespeare
  • Further Activities with Language

  • Internet Resources

    Student Assignment Sheets
  • Shakespeare's Language (with answers)
  • Viewing Worksheet
  • How to Read a Poem
  • Some Sonnets by Shakespeare
  • To Be or Not To Be -- Three Versions
  • A. The following exchange occurs in Henry IV Pt.1 between the obese and high-living Falstaff and the chief justice:

    Lord Chief Justice: "Your means are very slender and your waste great."
    Falstaff: "I would that my means were greater and my waist slenderer."

    B. Mercutio, a character in Romeo and Juliet who is characterized by his wit and lack of seriousness, says the following as he lies dying:

    "Ask for me tomorrow and you will find me a grave man."

    QUESTION: What do A and B have in common?

    . . . . .

    C. Shylock, a character in The Merchant of Venice, feels mistreated and says:

    "You foot me as you spurn a stranger cur."

    D. When Cleopatra thinks she is the victim of some fast talk from Antony, she says:

    "He words me girls, he words me."

    QUESTION: What do C and D illustrate?

    . . . . .

    E. King Henry IV, who was not fat, was called "portly."

    F. In The Merchant of Venice, a servant who intends to hurry tells his mistress he will go with all "convenient" speed.

    G. When Antony makes an alliance with Octavius in Julius Caesar, he calls him his "competitor."

    QUESTION: What do E, F, and G illustrate?

    . . . . .

    H. King Henry IV says the soil of England will no longer "daub her lips with her children's blood."

    I. In A Midsummers' Night Dream, the course of young love is described as "swift as a shadow, short as any dream, brief as lightning."

    J. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo says, "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."

    QUESTION: Of what are H, I, and J examples?

    . . . . .

    K. "Death, death, O amiable lovely death."

    L. "Parting is such sweet sorrow."

    QUESTION: What is the technique Shakespeare is using in K and L?

    NOTE: For answers, see the answer key.

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