Focus: Unit 5, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, focuses on themes of friendship, betrayal, and leadership. Students will identify how themes are introduced and developed through a dramatic work, how a historical drama can prompt us to reflect upon events in history, and how the distinctly different experiences of reading and viewing a play can cause us to examine the events, characters, motivations, and themes in a drama in different ways and in different contexts. Through reading the play and participating in writing activities, students will reflect on how informed and active citizens should judge leaders and their actions. Lessons and activities address various aspects of a comprehensive language arts curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards–English Language Arts (CCSS–ELA): reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and morphology.
Students will read selections the from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by the English playwright William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s history plays used historical subjects as the basis for inventive and original dramatic works that usually explored ethical, political, and dramatic themes that were relevant to the time in which his plays were written and performed. Students will consider the role of the audience, both contemporary and modern; how the audience’s expectations influenced how the material was used; and how a modern historian can use this to gain insights about historical mindsets and attitudes. Students will consider what it means to be a leader, what it means to display leadership, and how such figures shape the world around them, for better or worse. Students are challenged to consider that leaders are human beings, with human strengths, weaknesses, talents, and flaws.
A notable aspect of Shakespeare’s plays is that, because they were written in the Elizabethan era of England, much of the language is archaic and uses words, grammar, and syntax that may be challenging for readers. This unit uses the following Core Knowledge Core Classics: The Tragedy of Julius Caesar ISBN 978-1-68380-616-5, copyright © 2020 Core Knowledge.
Number of Lessons: 11
Lesson Time: 90 minutes each. Each lesson is broken down in to 45 minute segments.
Additional Terms: ambitious • persuade • monologue • dialogue • republic