Queen Mab: Analyzing How a Childlike Fantasy Turns Dark and Twisted

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SWBAT cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly by illustrating Mercutio's Queen Mab monologue.

Big Idea

With analysis, we see how Queen Mab is not merely mischievous, but exhibits malicious undertones.

Getting Started

10 minutes

At the beginning of class, I will collect any open responses that were not finished at the end of last class. I will also collect the outside read check-in reports. I will also take this opportunity to briefly discuss their choice books: Do you like them? How specifically are they managing their time (one chapter a night, set number of pages, etc)?

Queen Mab

45 minutes

Today we are going to meet Mercutio and read the Queen Mab scene. At the beginning of the scene, I will hand out this worksheet, which we will complete while reading through the scene. There are 9 square boxes on the worksheet, one for each sentence of Mercutio speech on Queen Mab. Students will draw an image in these boxes based on the sentence. Each square box has a corresponding rectangle box; in each, students will write the specific part of the speech that corresponds to their drawing (RL.9-10.1). Watch the progression of Queen Mab.


Here's the process: The reader for Mercutio will read one sentence at a time and then pause while students draw and write. Some of the sentences span over eight lines, while others are only two lines. Therefore, the amount of time provided for drawing will differ, depending on the sentence. During this time, I will circulate and help students work through the meaning of challenging words. First, I will encourage students to use the footnotes provided on the left side of the page as they try to translate the lines (RL.9-10.4), but I also know that the footnotes do not clarify everything. For instance, I can anticipate that students won't know what a courtier is, or even a parson, and neither of those words are defined in the footnotes.


I have broken the monologue up in this way because I want to highlight the progression of Queen Mab from a silly character of Mercutio's imagination to an expression of the darkest parts of ourselves and society. I see this activity as one that builds; we are going to watch two film versions of this scene later in the week. In the both the Zeffirelli and the Luhrmann films, the story of Queen Mab seems to overwhelm Mercutio and scare his friends. I want to prepare students for these scenes by illustrating how her mischievous activities have a malicious undertone. The concept of the good/bad qualities that exist within one thing/person resurfaces throughout the reading (RL.9-10.2).

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

For homework, students will finish the worksheet by answering the question at the bottom: Is Queen Mab good or bad? Support your opinion with specific details.