If you went on stage, what kind of character would you play – the romantic lead, the action hero, or the comic relief? Write a letter to Shakespeare requesting a role in his next play, explaining why you would be good for that kind of character. Bellringer#1
Bellringer #2 Think about books you have read and movies you have seen. What stock characters (stereotypes) seem to continually crop up? Think about the rebellious teen, the clueless dad, the strict teacher. Give specific examples.
Bellringer #3 The clown is a staple character in Shakespeare’s plays. Even in the tragedies, Shakespeare used this character to bring humor into his work. The clown provided comic relief in the form of silly songs & dances, witty remarks, puns, etc. Even today the most dramatic movies, books, TV shows, and plays use similar characters to lighten the mood. Think of two “clowns” (comedic characters) you know of in today’s movies/TV shows, and compare them to the description of Shakespeare’s clowns. Be sure to give specific examples
Bellringer #4 • Shakespeare used dramatic irony in many of his plays. Also used by the ancient Greeks, dramatic irony creates a situation in which the audience knows what the characters do not. It is a way of involving the audience in the action as they watch a character fall into a trap they knew was there. • Choose a TV sitcom or movie and describe an episode that includes an example of dramatic irony.
Bellringer #5 • Match the correct quote with the character who said it A.Viola B. Orsino C. Sir Andrew D. Sir Toby E. Maria 1.“If music be the food of love, play on.” 2. “And what should I do in Illyria? My brother he is in Elysium.” 3. “I am sure care’s an enemy to life.” 4. “By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of ‘accost’?” 5. “By my troth… you must come in earlier of nights… my lady takes great exception to your ill hours.”
Bellringer #6 • Shakespeare’s plays were each more than two hours long. Each had a main story line, or plot, and other less important story lines or “subplots.” • In Twelfth Night, the Viola/Orsino/Olivia story line is the main plot, while the Sebastian/Antonio and Malvolio/Maria/Toby/Andrew lines are the subplots. • Today, TV shows are less than a half hour long, but they use the same technique. • Briefly describe the main plot and the subplot of a TV show you have seen recently.
Of the 17,677 words that Shakespeare used in all of his plays and sonnets, he was the first to use over 1,700 of them. He wrote many of the words and phrases that we consider clichés today. Write down the words from the list below that you think Shakespeare coined. Heartsick Heart of gold One fell swoop Foregone conclusion Long-Haired Naked truth Break the ice Strange bedfellows Hot-blooded Eat out of house and home Leapfrog Dog will have his day Fancy-free Too much of a good thing It’s Greek to me Live-long day Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve Bellringer#7
Bellringer#8 • Iambic pentameter, or five iambs in an unstressed/stressed pattern, has a natural speech rhythm, It has be used by many authors and poets, and was used by Shakespeare for much of the dialogue in his plays. Write a four-line poem of your own in which each line is written in iambic pentameter. The lines may be rhymed or unrhymed Writer’s block? Start with the following first line: “The on/ly thing /you ne/ver said/ to me”
Bellringer #9 • Many of Shakespeare’s comedies include a female character who dresses up as a man to disguise herself. The disguise always lead to humorous situations – for example, being challenged to a duel when she has no experience in sword fighting, which is what happens to Viola in Twelfth Night. • Why do you think audiences of the time found the situation so amusing? Why didn’t Shakespeare use the same device for his male characters? (Keep in mind that all of the actors in Shakespeare’s day would have been male.) Answer the question in three to five sentences.
Bellringer #10 • Shakespeare’s characters occasionally insult each other in expressive and sometimes graphic words. To invent your own insult using Shakespeare’s language, combine one word from each of the 3 columns below, preceded by the word “Thou.” Spongy folly-fallen mold-warp Currish hedge-born whey-face Impertinent milk-livered lout Lumpish beef-witted horn-beast Frothy tickle-brained mammet Puny half-faced ratsbane
Bellringer#11 William Shakespeare’s plays feature violence, gore, profanity, and innuendo. His plays are widely taught throughout the country. Many movies made today have the same features. Why do you think you are restricted from attending movies with these features but you can read Shakespeare’s plays in school?
Bellringer#12 “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” -Twelfth Night Act II:5, Act III:4 Read the line above and think about what it means. Consider how it used in the play, and then describe a situation in which such a thing might be said today, and explain why someone might say it.