Shakespeare Analysis

Shakespeare Analysis

: English 8

Grade Level(s): 8

Key Words: English, Technology, Shakespearean Sonnet Slide Show

Developer(s) Name: Diana Vera

School: Carl Sandburg Middle School

Attached Files: (1) Slide Show

(2) sonnet

Approximate Time Frame
: 6-7 Days

Materials/Equipment Needed
: Library, Classroom, Computer Lab, Scanner, ClarisWorks
Poetry book of Shakespeare Sonnets, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Internet

Description of Lesson (includes context):
This lesson should capitalize on the recent interest in the Bard. When the young Shakespeare spots his Viola in the recent movie, Shakespeare in Love, he is inspired to write a sonnet. The sonnet is one of the favorite lyrical forms of poetry during the last five centuries. The students will focus on the Shakespearian sonnet as a form and analyze the sonnet in terms of structure, the particular rhyme scheme of the quatrains and the rhyming couplet, the rhythm of iambic pentameter, as well as any figurative language. The analysis will be presented as a slide show of five slides. The students will then render an oral presentation accompanied by their slide show.


1. What is the objective of this lesson

POS Standards:
POS Benchmarks:
POS Indicators:
Standard 1-Students read and write a variety of forms.
Benchmark 1:8.1 Students will experience a variety of reading, writing forms and speaking situations.
Indicators: bullets 1,2,3,4
Benchmark 8.1.2 Students read and write for a variety of purposes.
Indicators bullets 1,2,3,4

Standard 2-Students use strategies to construct meaning when working with language.
Benchmark 8.21 Students plan before reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing.
Indicator bullet 1
Benchmark 8.2-2 Students adapt writing, reading, speaking, listening, or viewing strategies to purpose, context, or form.
Indicator bullets 1, 2, 3
Standard 4-Students respond critically to ideas in written and spoken language.
Benchmark 8.4-3. Students determine how author create and communicate meaning.
Indicator bullets 1, 3, 5, 7, 9

Standard 5-Students use language processes to acquire, organize and communicate information.
Benchmark 8.5-4 Students use technology to assist in reading, writing, viewing, speaking and listening. (SO 8.5)
Indicator bullets 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11

SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology):

8.3 Students will apply knowledge of the characteristics and elements of various literary forms including.....lyric poetry
a. exploring the use of symbols and figurative language
b. author’s use of how to create meaning
c. compare and contrast the use of poetic elements of word choice, rhythm, rhyme and voice
C/T 81, C/T 8.2, C/T 8.3, C/T 8.4


2. What will we examine as evidence of students’ knowledge and/or skill

Product(s): ClarisWorks Sonnet Slide Show of 5 slides

Performance(s): Oral presentation of the sonnet analysis


3. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

Day 1: Students choose a Shakespearian sonnet from an anthology of poetry, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, a collection of sonnets, or the Internet.

Day 2: Students review the sonnet form i.e. structure, meter and rhythm. Students also review figurative language used in poetry. Analysis should also include word choice, speaker, tone, and fluency. Students then apply analysis to their particular chosen sonnet .

The sonnet’s expression of feeling should be analyzed in terms of the structure. The traditional form of the Italian sonnet of octave-sestet can be seen in many of the Shakespeare sonnets. The answer to the poem in the rhyming couplet can be explored.

Steps in Poetry Analysis

  1. Discuss structure in terms of line number, quatrain, octave/sestet division
  2. Locate and identify figurative language and sound devices.
  3. In light of diction or word choice, discuss meaning of the poem.

Day 4: Students create slide show of:
Slide One: Title Page which includes sonnet number and first line
Slide Two: First Quatrain
Slide Three: Second Quatrain
Slide Four: Third Quatrain
Slide Five: Rhyming Couplet

Day 5: Students practice presentation coordinating sonnet slide show with sonnet analysis.

Day 6: Students present to class their analysis of their sonnet with the help of their slide show.

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

Students will use scanners, ClarisWorks library, and ClarisWorks paint to develop graphics to incorporate pictures that reveal imagery and tone of the sonnets.

Students should use consistent and readable font. They can choose their own background and borders for their slide show.

Teachers will present the sonnet form to students and review the analytical concepts. They demonstrate how to do a slide show. (see attachment) They should also develop a rubric for the presentation.


4. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)

  1. Students can choose a modern sonnet. For example the sonnet “The Silken Tent” by Robert Frost.

  2. Students can be paired for the project with another student for the purpose of ensuring achievement.

  3. Some students can experiment with writing their own sonnets.

  4. Sonnets can be written about almost any aspect of human nature. An expansion to this sonnet analysis can include student written sonnets. Students can look to Sonnet 30 as a model. It’s clear that the poet feels sorry for himself in the octave and then realizes in the sestet that love is everything. The compact structure of the sonnet, rhyming patterns and emotional transference can appeal to any student.

Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary, Writing Creatively, by Joan D. Berbrich, The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Helen Vendler, ClarisWorks Manual,

The Sonnet

The Shakespearean sonnet is a lyrical poem that consists of 14 lines of iambic pentameter. Lyric poetry came from the word that meant to the Greeks a song accompanied by a lyre. Now the term means a short poem with a single speaker who expresses some thought and feeling about a subject. The Shakespearean sonnet is divided into three quatrains of a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef and a rhyming couplet, gg. Many of the Shakespearean sonnets are divided into the octave/sestet structure that was characteristic of the earlier Petrachan sonnet. Most of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets were written between 1594 and 1597.

Figurative Language
Metaphor-an implied comparison between two dissimilar objects or things, not using like or as.

Simile-a comparison between two similar things or objects using like or as.

Personification-a figure of speech in which a thing, quality, or idea is represented as a person.

Symbol- an object or action that takes on additional meaning through association.

Sound Devices

Rhythm-the sound patterns in poetry produced in metered verse by repeating various patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Rhyme- the regular return of sounds in final words of lines.

Assonance-the repetition of vowel sounds in poetry.

Consonance-the repetition of consonant sounds in poetry.

Alliteration-the repetition of initial consonant sounds in two or more words in a line of poetry.

Meter-the rhythmic pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry. The metrical foot consists of a number of accented and unaccented syllables.

Iamb- A metrical foot consisting of and unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable.

Pentameter- a line of five feet.