Time needed: 20-30 minutes
Ask students to look at Mark Twain's parody of "To Be Or Not To Be" from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is available online at http://www.wwnorton.com/introlit/drama_shakespeare12.htm. Tell students not familiar with Macbeth that the charlatan who is spouting Shakespeare in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not seem to know that Hamlet and Macbeth are two different plays!
Discuss the following with students: For a parody to be successful, readers must know what is being parodied. What does Twain do to the structure, content, and imagery of Shakespeare's F1?
Invite students to write their own parodies of "To Be or Not To Be," retaining the meter and style of Shakespeare. This out-of-class writing assignment could provide the basis for an in-class reading.
Assign students to revise their parodies, then to step back from them in order to write a critical paragraph about their own parodies, assessing their strengths and flaws.