H. MacDonell

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English 10

English 12

English IB

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How to read Shakespearean lines


FRIAR: Come is the bride ready to go to the church?

CAPULET: Ready to go, but never to return,

          O son, the night before thy wedding day

          Hath Death lain with thy wife.  See, there she lies,

          Flower as she was, deflowered by him.

          Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir.

          My daughter he hath wedded. I will die,

          And leave him all.  Life, living, all is Deaths

PARIS: Have I thought long to see this mornings face,

          And doth it give me such a sight as this?


Tips for reading

        Pay attention to punctuation

          Commas = pause

          Periods = pause

          Question marks = change in inflection

        Pay attention to lie ending: if there is no punctuation, do not pause

        Consider the tone of voice that should be used to express the emotion of the line

        Read slowly enough

        Change pace as necessary

        Use the glossary to clarify the meaning of unknown words

        Talk among the group to clarify poetic lines/metaphorical meanings

        Consider word order, syntax: sometimes the word order is unlike contemporary English but the meaning is the same.