The Recitation of Antony's Speech Jig: Analysis of Antony's Speech and Language (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT paraphrase and explain Antony's speech in Act 3, Scene 2 by adding comments in groups to their collaborative notes and practicing their movement recitations.

Big Idea

We combine physical understanding and rhetorical analysis of Antony's speech.

Group Memorization Practice

10 minutes

Today, we are adding a few motions to the class developing memorization routine/jig.  During this part of the unit, we will spend a few minutes each day on this to make the memorization relatively painless.  The point of this exercise is to help sensitize students to the language in this passage so that students can analyze the word choices (L.9-10.5a)and figurative language (RL.9-10.4).  This is a two-day lesson because appropriating key linguistic moves in the speech, analyzing them, and memorizing them requires reinforcement over time. 

I'm going to add the class's annotations in brackets.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, [hand up to the ear after gesturing widely to the right and left] lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar [shovel dig], not to praise him [pat the mound with the shovel].

The evil [devil horns] that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones [rub forearms to gesture bones];

So let it be with Caesar [two hands, pushing forward]. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious [sort of a swag curtsy move]:

If it were so, it was a grievous [hands plodding like a dastardly villain]  fault,

And grievously [hand plodding mockingly like a mock dastardly villain]  hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:



**IMAGE CREDIT: the lesson image is a public domain image posted by Folger and taken by Smallbones on

Pairs Memorization Practice

10 minutes

Paired Recitation.  As a follow-up to the class's memorization exercise, I want to give the students a chance to work out their recitation without the help of the whole class resonating the right words.  As a result, I have selected paired reciting for them, and they will take turns performing for one another.  I am doing this because having to recite in front of everyone will be something new to the students and probably more than a bit stressful, so having the chance to practice with a partner is the next logical step (SL.9-10.4). 

Groups Analyze Antony's Figurative Language

25 minutes

As with the previous recitation lesson, we will work as a class to develop a memorization-friendly version of this speech, with a motion on each line.  We are spending a few days on this speech because it is such a major turning point in the story and because it lends itself to rhetorical analysis, a main focus of this unit.  By grounding our investigation in this text, students can draw comparisons to the other two contemporary speeches in this unit.  

Today's analysis is particularly important because Antony calls the conspirators' motives into question.  They killed Caesar because he was "ambitious," and the way that we have memorized this line (with a hint of sarcasm at first, then full irony) emphasizes the interpretation that the students will do.  Now, on their google doc, I am looking for evidence that they can explain Antony's ironic/critical tone, especially as it pertains to the use of the word "ambitious."

After watching a short clip of the scene (note: I will  be out of class today with a sub, so no discussion of the clip is planned; start this clip at 8:15), the students will add to their running google doc and a protocol for responding to the text (see previous lessons in this unit).  The groups are fairly autonomous now, and we've done a lot of the commentary on Antony's rhetorical choices (RI.9-10.6) along with our memorization; they should be good to go as they add their comments, much like this sample comments on Antony's speech