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How to Do Homework for Shakespeare

              

                         Common Core State Standards Covered With Assignment:

CC.9-10.R.L.1  Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

C.9-10.R.L.2  Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details

CC.9-10.R.L.3  Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme 

CC.9-10.R.L.4  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone). 

Directions:  Follow the directions below when doing your homework for Hamlet.  The unit test(s) for this unit are in exactly the same format, so the practice you get each night will prepare you for the test.  When you are confused about a possible device or interpretation/translation of the language, ask in class.   

1.  Pick a 15-30 line speech and "translate it" into everyday colloquial language.  Who said it to whom in what context (=about what?)?

2.  Analyze it for literary terms (vocab words that you are tested on every Friday)

3.  Look at the speech for any motifs or themes that are going on in the play.  In Act I you probably won't understand this yet, but by Act III, repetition of words, phrases, and/or symbols will begin to become obvious.   

4.  Analyze the speech for significance.  How does it show character development, dramatize conflct, or reveal a theme for the play?  Indicate in your notes.

5.  Always record what you're having trouble with:  archaic vocabulary, syntax, allusion you don't "get" or a figurative device you're unsure of.

Passage:  

    2    But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 

  3   It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. 

  4   Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, 
  5   Who is already sick and pale with grief, 
  6   That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. 
  7   Be not her maid, since she is envious; 
  8   Her vestal livery is but sick and green 
  9   And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. 
 10   It is my lady, O, it is my love! 
 11   O, that she knew she were! 
 12   She speaks yet she says nothing; what of that? 
 13   Her eye discourses; I will answer it. 
 14   I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks. 
 15   Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, 
 16   Having some business, do entreat her eyes 
 17   To twinkle in their spheres till they return. 
 18   What if her eyes were there, they in her head? 
 19   The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, 
 20   As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven 
 21   Would through the airy region stream so bright 
 22   That birds would sing and think it were not night. 
 23   See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! 
 24   O, that I were a glove upon that hand, 
 25   That I might touch that cheek!

1.  Translation: 

Context:  Romeo is hiding in the garden behind Juliet's house.  He speaks to himself in a soliloquy (a speech in which the actor speaks his secret thoughts aloud so that the audience can hear them) about how beautiful she is.  To his surprise she comes out on her balcony.

     "Hey, what's that light?  (A literal light in Juliet's bedroom).  Juliet is as beautiful as the sun.  Next to her all women are unimpressive (in particular alluding to Rosaline, whom he now dismisses as a lesser heavenly body because he has fallen madly in love with Juliet). Come on out and talk to me, Juliet.  (still to himself)
     Here she comes.  Should I tell her I'm here and how I feel?  Maybe I'll just listen and watch her.  Look at how beautiful she is .  Her eyes are like stars.  Her cheeks are equally brilliant.  Her beauty lights the night as if it were day, which confuses the birds.  Now she's leaning her cheek on her hand.  Oh I wish I could touch her. 
 
2.  Literary Terms: 

            But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?  Imagery
  3   It is the east, and Juliet is the sun Metaphor
  4   Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,  Personification/Extended Metaphor

  5   Who is already sick and pale with grief, 

  6   That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.  (Still in the extended metaphor)
  7   Be not her maid, since she is envious; 
  8   Her vestal livery is but sick and green 
  9   And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. 
 10   It is my lady, O, it is my love! Hyperbole
 11   O, that she knew she were! 
 12   She speaks yet she says nothing; what of that?  Paradox
 13   Her eye discourses; I will answer it. 
 14   I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks. 
 15   Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven
 16   Having some business, do entreat her eyes 
 17   To twinkle in their spheres till they return.  Personification

 18   What if her eyes were there, they in her head? Rhetorical Question
 19   The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, 
 20   As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven  Simile
 21   Would through the airy region stream so bright 
 22   That birds would sing and think it were not night.  Hyperbole
 23   See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!  Imagery
 24   O, that I were a glove upon that hand, 

 25   That I might touch that cheek! 

3. Motif:  Love and beauty are compared to sources of light throughout the play. Sunlight provides warmth for people and ensures that plants grow for human sustenance.  No life could be possible without sunlight; therefore, no life would be possible for Romeo without Juliet.  His thoughts about love and Juliet are romantic but a little hyperbolic, as he has just met her a few hours before, not to mention his previous attraction to Rosaline even more recently.

4.  Significance:  This soliloquy shows Romeo's impulsive and romantic nature.  He falls immediately head over heels in love with a girl of the "enemy camp" without a thought of the conflict this will cause them as well as their families.  As we know that a tragedy by definition has a protagonist with a fatal flaw, perhaps Romeo's rashness will be his undoing.