English Language Learners (ELLs) Investigate the Identity of Shakespeare and His Characters

byBarbara Prillaman

Introduction and Rationale

My students deserve the best. Each day when I walk into our classroom I am aware that I must do my best to ensure that they have a chance in our school system. Quality professional development is essential to improve my teaching practice. From the Yale National Teacher Institute (YNI) experience I have gained valuable insight to a content area that many either adore or fear – Shakespeare. My students are native Spanish speaking ELLs, most of them recent immigrants to our country. This fact presents additional complications for them as students and me as a teacher. They face the challenge of concurrently learning the English language and content area information, making it especially difficult for them to read and construct meaning from content taught in English.

Although there are many challenges for a teacher of ELLs, we must meet them if we want our students to be successful. In an English classroom, ELLs must learn the mechanics of the language but also about the literature. Shakespeare is reading material that many believe may be too much for ELLs. I heard many comments from colleagues when I told them where I was going and what I would be doing this summer. A seminar on Shakespeare: how could I use that experience in my classroom? How could ELLs read this literature, let alone comprehend what he was writing about? Even though I personally felt quite a bit of trepidation when I began reading his plays again, I knew it was something that was important to do for my students. I had not read any of his work since a very bad experience in college some twenty years ago. However, after beginning with the children's literature versions, moving on to Cliff Notes and Spark Notes, and then – excitedly I might add – reading his true versions, I noticed that I was able to understand what was happening in the plays and was also able to analyze the characters. Shakespeare is just the type of reading material that ELLs should be exposed to, providing them with the opportunities to move along in their English language development while delving into great literature. Getting past the fear of Shakespeare, moving towards the understanding of his gripping plots of stories filled with emotion, love, betrayal, war, strong women, madness, and death, among other sorts of intensity, is to know the true beauty of his work.

In this unit, students will focus on identity: their own, Shakespeare's, and that of a few of his characters. This emphasis is well-connected with their lives. As they have recently immigrated here, they are acclimating themselves to a new way of life, culture, language, country, and school system. In addition, they are going through adolescence! Imagine the turmoil of this experience for a moment. In fact, it might involve enough traumas to rival a Shakespearean tragedy! The essential questions of this unit are: Who am I? and What are the characteristics that make me unique from others? In scaffolding this process of learning about and analyzing self, Shakespeare, and then Shakespeare's characters, students will be able to better develop and comprehend the meaning of identity.

This unit is designed for middle school ELLs in a multi-grade English class. The class is leveled so that sixth, seventh, and eighth graders performing at the highest English ability level (second to fourth grade reading level in English). However, this unit could be used with high school ELLs or even middle school English only students. Modifications can be made to the unit that would allow for further reading, including entire plays or even additional ones – perhaps using a few comedies to compare with the tragedies chosen. In our classroom, this unit will take almost four weeks of block classes (84 minutes) to complete yet, other teachers, due to their students' abilities and knowledge may be able to quicken the pace. Furthermore, others may want to use only some of the activities to drive home the message concerning identity and characterization.


Confusion is inevitable when ELLs come into the classroom. They are new to everything in this country – language, way of life, and school, among other things and are caught between two worlds: where they came from and where they are now. It is important for my students to think about who they are and the characteristics that make them unique from others, helping them to develop a sense of self. This is especially true in that adolescence is a time of change, physical and psychological, and during this period youngsters are figuring the nature of the change out for themselves. Identity can be defined as knowledge of who and what one is.1 There are unique combinations of many identities from very broad (man/woman) to narrow (family member) together with group identities (countries and ethnic communities). Identities are constructed on the basis of various traits and experiences. Race is one which can be perceived differently depending on where one is located. Skin color is important in some societies while in others it is not. Yet again, race may be identified with traits acquired later in life. Identities can compete with each other. Some identities we are born with, while others are acquired by choice, based on shared values, beliefs, or concerns. Each of us reflects a variety of identity categories mixed together.2 Thinking of my students and how they can wrap their minds around this subject, I wanted to transfer the meaning of identity to characters in the plays. Characters are "the persons presented in works of narrative or drama who convey their personal qualities through dialogue and action by which the reader or audience understands their thoughts, feelings, intentions and motives".3 Using this definition will help students to see that our identities are based not only on things about us but what we say and do as well.


Just as my students are new to Shakespeare, in fact I too feel as if I have experienced a re-birth of my attitude towards and appreciation of his work! Since my students have no prior knowledge of him, we will conduct an author study to learn more about Shakespeare as a person. What is his identity? Who was he and why? What are the characteristics that make him unique? Writer, boy, man, playwright, husband, lover, actor, great thinker, master of words, theater and home owner – these are all words that describe something about Shakespeare. During the unit, students will research answers to their questions about Shakespeare and I will add the following information about Shakespeare's life. From these sources, we will create an identity portrait of Shakespeare which will serve as a model for them when they have to do the same thing with his characters.

Shakespeare's Times: Shakespeare was born during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The country was doing well economically under her leadership. This was also a time of discovery and new ideas. Explorers were spanning the globe, astronomy was developing, an awakening was occurring in regard to art. Books were being made in great volume as the printing press had been invented in the prior century.

Family: He was born to John and Mary Shakespeare in England in 1564 and was baptized in Stratford's Holy Trinity Church on April 23. He was the first of six children. His family lived about 100 miles from London in a small town – Stratford-upon-Avon. His mother came from a family that owned some farmland and his father was a tanner, making gloves and belts among other items. It is probable that both of his parents were illiterate, unable to sign their names. His father also served on the local town council. This was an important job, as he was charged with keeping law and order in the town. He also fancied actors and their art. Many a time he paid them to come to Stratford and perform for the townspeople. It is thought that this may be where Shakespeare first saw "the theater". When Shakespeare was about thirteen, his father began to have evident problems with money. It appears if the other members of the Town Council excused him from some debt and fines. However, this was unable to sustain him, and in 1578 he was forced to sell and mortgage off some of the property, including his wife's. There is evidence that the Shakespeare family did not attend church owing to debt collectors.

Schooling: It is believed that Shakespeare attended the King's New School at Stratford because his father was a public official. Yet he did not go on to the University. Perhaps this was due to his father's declining economic circumstances. At that time, school was for boys only and lasted almost eleven hours a day and met for six days a week. Latin was an important subject at school as it was considered the language of the cultured people. He most likely would have spoken, read, and written in Latin while at school. It is speculated that many of the things he read about were used later in his own plays.

His Own Family: Surprisingly, William Shakespeare married at the young age of eighteen to a woman of twenty-six years of age, Anne Hathaway. There is much speculation regarding Shakespeare and his wife's marriage. The age difference was uncommon in their times. Their daughter, Susanna, was born six months after they were married. Two years later they had twins, Hamnet and Judith. Sadly, Hamnet died when he was eleven years old while Shakespeare was away from home. Shakespeare did end up doing well for himself financially as a part owner of the Globe Theatre and a writer. He purchased the biggest house in Stratford and owned many properties. In fact, he was well-diversified when it came to his finances. Strangely, in his last will and testament he left the majority of his belongings to his older daughter. There is also the question of why he would bequeath the "second best bed" to his wife and the words he wrote for his gravestone. Greenblatt4 suggests that perhaps Shakespeare just did not want his bones disturbed, but that it may also be possible that he did not want them disturbed to let Anne's bones mix with his.

Shakespeare in London, England: In 1585 William left his family, who were living with his parents. He ventured to London. It was to supposedly help to support them. However, there is little information about what happened to Shakespeare in the years 1585 – 1592. Many sources refer to these years as the "Lost Years". When he is heard of again is in 1592 in London, England when he was well-known for his plays. London was one of the largest cities at that time. In this city, Shakespeare must have had many opportunities to encounter a very diverse group of people, talk with them, and learn more about the world.

The Theater and Shakespeare's Roles in the Theater: Theater was an important form of entertainment at that time. The first theatre was established by James Burbage in 1576. He put his two crafts, actor and a carpenter, to use and built a theater. Others quickly sprung up in the general area: Curtain, Rose, Thames, and Swan. They were located outside the city of London, across the London Bridge. Their popularity was enhanced by the fact that Queen Elizabeth was a fan of the theater. There were many who did not like or approve of the theater. The crowds that attended productions drank, acted rudely, and spread diseases. The theater was continually shut down throughout the years whenever there was a bad breakout of the plague since it was a place in which disease was spread. It also encouraged criminals such as pickpockets. Although some believed this, others enjoyed the entertainment as well as showing off their wealth to others (clothing for example).

Not a lot is known in regard to how Shakespeare became a part of the theater scene. Did he take care of horses while people were at the productions? Did he sell tickets? One fact that is known is that he did act in troupes. It is also during this time that he began to write, most likely adding lines to others plays at first. His plays can be classified as comedies, tragedies5, histories, and romance. It appears as if Shakespeare wrote thirty-eight plays. No one is exactly certain, as many were not produced (in writing) while he was alive, he collaborated on many, and he may have written some under another's name. In addition, there is a variety of people think that they may have been written by someone else. What is known is that he did borrow ideas and lines from other works and included those in his own. People enjoyed his plays for many of the same reasons as today: plots, characters, and language. The plots were of things that others can relate to: love, war, pastoral life, and royalty among others. The characters were ones in which you could get lost as a viewer. You cheered them on in their goodness or booed the evil nature they displayed. The beauty of the language was another reason why people were drawn to the plays

The Globe Theater was located on the south bank of the Thames River. The best actors wanted to work in this arena. To arrive at the Globe Theater, one needed to walk across the London Bridge or board a rowboat to cross the Thames River. The color of the flag flying indicated what type of play was in production for the day: black meant tragedy, white a comedy, and red for history. At first, the Globe Theater was located on land that was not the Globe owners'. The building was theirs, the land was not. The land owner, Giles Allen, wanted to charge them an exorbitant amount of money. They decided to move the theater, piece by piece, after their lease ran out. The Globe was re-built by Shakespeare and its co-owners, brothers Cuthbert and Richard Burbage. The latter was Shakespeare's leading actor who played all the best parts, among four others.

Attending a play at the Globe was an event not to be forgotten. All the actors were men, including those who served in the women roles. Fabulous costumes were purchased for the actors and were a main draw to the theater. There was money to be made at the theater between ticket and other sales. A lot of activity occurred in and around the theater, including people selling merchandise and food, much like market day! Groundlings were those who would pay a penny to watch a play. Many of them were apprentices looking for a diversion. Two pennies would enable a person to sit while enjoying the play, while three pennies would enable you to see and be seen6. The gallants were the people who sat dressed in their fancy clothing in the gallery seats.

After Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603, her cousin, James, King of Scotland, became England's ruler. He was re-named James I of England. He was also a theater lover. Shakespeare's troupe was re-named from Chamberlain's Men to the King's Men. It was the most famous group of actors in the country. Perhaps he modeled plays to suit the person in authority. For example, during Elizabeth's reign some of his plays had very strong women characters: Rosalind, and Cleopatra. When James I took over he wrote Macbeth, a play which takes on the nationalism issue between England and Scotland. Perhaps this was his way of producing social commentary.

The Finale: Shakespeare died at the age of 52. Historians are still uncertain why. Although in today's terms 52 does not seem a very old age, in a time in which there were many types of diseases such as the plague, life expectancy was about 35 years.

Who was Shakespeare? What are the characteristics that make him distinct from others? These questions are those that I am expecting my students to be able to answer from their research, the information I give them, and the plays that they will read. They will create an identity portrait of Shakespeare. Since they will have already created one of themselves, it will make the process a little bit easier for them. This is a basic example of what students might be able to deduct about Shakespeare's identity:

Shakespeare became a wealthy man. He owned a variety of properties including the biggest house in Stratford and a place in London, in addition to quite a bit of land. He also was part owner of the Globe, the most famous theater of the times. It appears as if this wealth was very important to him, as he took special care to diversify in his investments. Being wealthy was different for him than it was when he grew up and for a while lived comfortably. His father, John, was a tanner who also played a major role in the Town Council. The family with six children did well until about the time Shakespeare turned 13. Then his father began to have problems with money. At first, other members of the Town Council excused him from some debt and fines. However, this was not suficient, and he was forced to sell and mortgage off some of the property, including his wife's. This was the type of situation that was not looked upon favorably in their society. The Shakespeare family did not attend church owing to debt collectors. This experience must have stuck with him and influenced him to work hard and to be serious about investing well.

The society in which Shakespeare lived was very concerned with the idea of social classes. His plays reflect the aristocracy of the English society and detail many aspects of the lives of war heroes, kings, queens, and courtiers. The way people spoke in these plays reflects this cultural aspect. Shakespeare was not at this social level. He grew up in a very small town some distance from London with parents who were most likely unable to write their names. Perhaps it is these humble beginnings that are portrayed in some of his plays such as the Induction in, The Taming of the Shrew, in which the small town lifestyle is portrayed. He was very concerned with restoring his family's name. Years prior, his father was denied a request for a coat of arms. In 1596, William, doing well for himself in London, applied again and was granted this request. He had a strong desire to be considered a gentleman and this helped to prove that he was by the standards of society. In addition, he signed his will as "William Shakespeare, of Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwick, gentlemen."7 His family experience when he was younger had a long-term effect on his life.

The restoration of the family name was important to him but how important was family? Shakespeare married at eighteen years old which was considered young for a man during that time period. He married a twenty-six year old woman named Anne Hathaway. Six months later they had a baby, Susanna. Many report that she was his favorite and perhaps there is some justification to this as he left the majority of his assets to her. However, we also know that his younger daughter, Judith, had married someone who did not handle money well. Two years later, Shakespeare and Anne had twins: Hamnet and Judith. The couple and their children lived with his family and it was there that Anne remained with the children when Shakespeare left in search, supposedly of support for his family. His marriage with Anne does not seem to have been a happy one. Why would he bequeath the "second best bed" to his wife upon his death? Would she not deserve their best bed? Also, there are the words he wrote for his gravestone:





Greenblatt suggests that perhaps Shakespeare just did not want his bones disturbed, but allows that it may also be possible that he did not want them disturbed to let Anne's bones mix with his. For further evidence, he rarely made the trip home to see his family and even when he was wealthy enough to support them in London, they did not come to live with him.

Shakespeare became a famous playwright in his day and continues to be perceived as such hundreds of years later. What are the reasons for this? How can it be that a man of minimal education is the inspiration of many courses, scholars who spend lifetimes interpreting his words, and entertainment that is adored? It is believed that Shakespeare attended the King's New School. It was there that he must have had access to the classical models that he later adapted in some of his plays. Despite the fact that he did go to school, he was unable to attend the University due to lack of funding. This may have made him feel that he was set apart from some of the other playwrights of the time. Perhaps this is a reason why he worked so diligently, producing 39 plays and 154 sonnets. There is speculation that perhaps he even collaborated with others and scholars are still debating the actual numbers of plays he was involved in.

The Three Plays

Three plays chosen for this unit are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Othello. Each of the three is a tragedy and has compelling characters whose identities are very different. Antony and Cleopatra was also suggested. Although it would have been good to include this play because of the emphasis on nationalism, I could not find a children's version of this play available for use with my students. Despite the fact that it is not something I can use in the classroom, unless I want to re-write the play, it may still be appropriate for other teachers whose students are capable of reading the comic strip, original play, or the No Fear Shakespeare version in which one side of the page is the original play while the other side of the page is modern English. I will be giving my students the plots so that they have a better understanding of what will occur in the play before they read it. This will help to "frontload" information for my ELLs. Since this is a challenging activity for them, I want to provide as much scaffolding and assistance as I possibly can. Some teachers may prefer not provide the plots to their students or would prefer do so during another portion of the lesson. For example, these plots could be given after the comic strip reading.

Romeo and Juliet

According to Harold Bloom, Romeo and Juliet was Shakespeare's first authentic tragedy.8 Written between 1595 and 1596, the play is about two teenagers who fall in love with each other. Conflict and misfortune follow them. They are from rival families and are should not be together. Despite this, they are determined to do just that. They marry in secret. Juliet's family expects that she marry another – Paris. She devises a plan in which she will take a sleeping potion to "wake up" after the proposed marriage. Romeo never gets her message explaining the plan and believes she is dead. In response to the loss of his love, he drinks a poison potion and dies. Then, Juliet awakens and sees him. In response, she kills herself with Romeo's sword. The loss of their children makes the two rivaling families decide to end their family feud.


Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest play written in 1605 or 1606. It is set in medieval Scotland and based partly on true historical information. He is a successful soldier in the army of King Duncan. After a victorious battle, he encounters three witches who inform him that he will be king. He is dubious and later taken aback when King Duncan nominates his own son as heir. Macbeth returns to his castle and his ambitious wife, who pushes him into murdering the king to fulfill the witches' prophecy. Afterwards, he is tortured by what he has done and is tormented by his strong-willed wife. So begins Macbeth's tale in which he orders others killed to ensure his rule. Also, he is haunted and begins to see one of the victims' ghosts. Lady Macbeth goes mad, unable to sleep, sees blood on her hands, and finally dies. Macbeth is murdered by Macduff whose family he had ordered to be killed, ending one of the most gruesome of all Shakespeare's plays.


This tragedy, written in 1603 – 1604, begins in Venice, Italy and then moves to the island of Cyprus. Othello, a Moor (dark-skinned man), is a general fighting for the city-state of Venice. He is an important soldier and leader and has fought well. He falls in love with and marries Desdemona, the daughter of a local senator, who is unhappy with the marriage and bans her from his home partly because of this she goes to the war with Othello, ending up on the island of Cyprus. Iago had hoped to be promoted to lieutenant but was not. His villainy is worked on Othello as he convinces him that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello loses everything when he kills Desdemona. Of course, as in any good tragedy, he finds out that she was not unfaithful and that Iago, his trusted companion, orchestrated the whole plan.


During the YNI seminar, the main characters in Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Othello were discussed in detail. Much attention was placed on their character traits and identities. For each of these characters, I have briefly written what I think about them including references to the play for evidence. Students will be able to pick up on some of my observations as well as produce additional information based on their readings of the comic strips, children's versions, and the original plays' acts/scenes. These identity portraits are the type of work that students will complete after they have read the variety of texts offered them – comic strips, children's versions, and original portions of the plays. In the unit, there are graphic organizers to assist them in being able to create an identity portrait.


One is a bit surprised at the first reading of Romeo and Juliet when realizing that he is not at first talking about his love for Juliet, but Rosaline. He appears melancholic, in love with the idea of love. His cousin finds him thinking about the young woman who does not return his love, saying, "Ay me! Sad hours seem long."9 He continues with, "Tut! I have lost myself; I am not heare; This is not Romeo, he's some other where"10 and "O, teach me how I should forget to think!"11 When Romeo sees Juliet and speaks with her, he is mesmerized by her, forgetting all about Rosaline. His love matures throughout the play, just as he does. However, his passion for Juliet makes him act a little bit out of control: spending the night at Juliet's, his discussion with the Friar whose help he wants, killing Juliet's cousin, and ultimately, taking his own life. His emotions are not always in control and result in the tragedy's catastrophe.12


At first Juliet appears to be a dutiful daughter. A young teenager of thirteen years old, she is living with her family and still taken care of by the Nurse. She is submissive to her parents, obeying them as evidenced when she says that she will try to see if she can love Paris, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move;/but no more deep will I endart mine eye/Than your consent gives strength to make it fly."13 When she meets Romeo, she transforms into a young woman, one who is passionately in love. She defies her family's desires and marries him in secret. She also becomes outwardly defiant as she tells her parents that she will not marry Paris, "Now by Saint Peter's Church, and Peter too,/He shall not make me there a joyful bride!/I wonder at this haste, that I must wed/Ere he that should be husband comes to woo./I pray you tell my lord and father, madam,/I will not marry yet."14 This she says to her mother and continues to speak against marriage to her father when he enters, showing her stubbornness and bravery. Later when Romeo kills her cousin, she fears that it is he who is dead. Her depth of emotion is seen in her words, showing the love she experiences for Romeo turning her back on her family when Romeo kills her cousin, Tybalt. She must do what it takes to be with him. Bravery and her strong will are shown throughout the remainder of the play.

    Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!
    Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn,
    Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue
    Which she hath praised him with above compare
    So many thousand times? Go, counselor!
    Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain.
    I'll to tell the friar to know his remedy.
    If all else fail, myself have power to die.
    [III.v. 236-244]

Here she is indicating that she will even kill herself to be with Romeo. Two other instances of her bravery are when she drinks the sleeping potion even when she's hesitating, thinking it could possibly be poison instead of a potion, and when she kills herself. There is no more poison as Romeo has drank it all, so she needs to use Romeo's dagger to finish the job.


When we first meet Macbeth he has just triumphed in a battle and is known as a war hero. He appears content in his position and what he has accomplished. Then he comes upon the three witches who predict that he will be king. Ambition becomes his enemy as it is coupled with his wife's ridiculing him to do things that he may never have done otherwise. First, under his wife's manipulation, he kills King Duncan. Afterwards, he is haunted by his conscience while still yearning to make the witch's prophecies come true, ensuring that he will have no competition from others for his royal position. He begins a downward spiral of ordering other murders – a great killing machine15 – which actually seem to increase his manliness. He wavers in his decisions as he sees Banquo's ghost at a banquet they have for the Thanes of Scotland. His reaction to this vision has others thinking he's acting strangely, as he says a variety of comments that make others at the banquet question his mental state. This fast-paced play finds Macbeth with little feeling by the time his wife dies when he says, "She should have died hereafter;/There would have been a time for such a word./Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow."16 He is killed on the battlefield, ending what the witches had prophesied earlier.

Lady Macbeth

One of Shakespeare's most powerful female characters is Lady Macbeth. In fact, one could say that she demonstrates numerous male tendencies of that time period: she is ambitious and strength. From the beginning, she is intent on being queen no matter what the cost. She manipulates and belittles her husband, whom she believes to be less of a man or says she does. For example, she mocks him, saying she is capable of killing the king and she is not a man, "I have given suck, and know/How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me;/I would, while it was smiling in my face,/Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,/And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you/have done to this."17

This not only shows how she puts her husband down, it also illustrates how she would do anything, even kill her own child nursing at her breast, to get what she wants. Killing someone who is helpless and defenseless, none of that matters to her, demonstrating her ruthlessness and heartlessness. She helps her husband after he does kill the king by disposing of the bloody daggers, staining her hands with the blood as well. She taunts him by saying, "My hands are of your color, but I/shame/To wear a heart so white."18 However, in public she tries to protect her husband on several occasions. First, she does this by fainting when the king has been discovered dead and Macbeth admits to killing the guardsmen and second, while at their banquet with the thanes of Scotland and Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost. She convinces others that he is having just another one of his episodes. I believe she does these things in public because they help further her cause of being queen. Lady Macbeth does take a turn for the worse in this play as she goes mad and then dies. In her state of madness she is unable to sleep, sees blood on her hands, and indicates that the deed that has been done to the doctor and her attendant.


Othello is a Moorish general, highest in command, serving the city-state of Venice. Although he may excel on the battle field, he seems to feel some inferiority when he comes to society in which he is living. In III iii (76) he proclaims to not be the most well spoken man. As a Moor, he is a black man who is very different-looking from those around him. Others speak to the difference such as Roderigo, "What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe"19 and Iago as he refers to him in his conversations with others as the Moor or Brabantio when he proclaims that the only way his daughter could fall in love with Othello (the Moor) was because he had drugged her. Despite the fact that he is different, he is well-respected and revered as an outstanding military man. This can be when he is referred to as "the valiant Moor"20 and when Rodrigo is talking with Iago, regretful of disappointing Othello, "I would rather sue to be despised than to deceive/so good a commander with so slight, so drunken,/and so indiscreet an officer."21 This difference is perhaps is also felt by Othello as later in the play he is willing to believe Iago that Desdemona could not love someone who looks like him. He is an honest and trustworthy man, which is one of his vulnerabilities. Since he is honest he expects the same of his antagonist, Iago. As a very new husband, he is completely enamored of his wife, as he indicates to the Duke in describing how he won Desdemona by telling her tales about his life. Iago's tactics and words creep into his mind and change him. His interactions with his wife become consistently more violent, from yelling to slapping her to killing her. Over and over, Iago manipulates Othello's thoughts until they become darker and darker regarding his wife's alleged infidelity. One example of this is when Iago is repeating to Othello what he "heard" Cassio say in III iii (407 – 424), going into detail, explaining Cassio's sexual actions towards him while they were sleeping, imagining that it was Desdemona. When Othello finally kills Desdemona, his identity is lost. As the hero, his action of killing may seem more just to himself in that he believes he is saving other men from experiencing the same hell he is going through (an unfaithful wife) Also, he chooses to tell her his intent of killing her. The extreme anguish he feels propels him to kill himself as he has lost his career and love of his life.


At the beginning of the play, Iago is bitter. He expected to receive a promotion but did not and blames Othello for this. Perhaps because of this, he begins to manipulate others around him, including Roderigo and Cassio, to get to Othello, leading to his destruction. Iago's evil nature is seen throughout the play, as he first gets Roderigo to go to Desdemona's house to tell her father, Brabantio, that his daughter has been "stolen" from his home. He hides, while Roderigo is in the open for Brabantio to see. Iago yells out comments such as "I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter/and the Moor are making the beast with two backs."22 This allows us insight to his character. He is dirty-minded and it does not matter whose company he is in, whether it is a crude way of informing of Desdemona's marriage or speaking to women in the play, he will still talk in this manner. For example, while speaking with his wife and Desdemona, he says, "Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:/You rise to play, and go to bed to work."23 One of the reasons that Iago gets away with so much is that even when bawdy he seems to "tell it like it is," hence he must be "honest." Again and again, he tells the other characters in the play of his honesty. He proclaims his love to Othello over and over again, playing on Othello's honest nature. His faith in Iago allows him to manipulate Othello even further. He does not love Othello, nor does it seem that he loves anyone else, except perhaps himself. He wants to wound Othello by using the very thing Othello esteems most, the love he feels for Desdemona. But he keeps pretending to be on Othello's side. In fact, he warns Othello of jealousy, "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!/It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock/The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss/Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;/But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er/Who dotes, yet doubts – suspects, yet fondly loves!"24 In Act V, Iago states, "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know,/from this time forth I never will speak word."25 We are left to believe this is will be true, that his evil nature will dwell on silently.


ELLs must not only be taught the mechanics of the English language but also require exposure to the intellectual richness of higher level literature to ensure that they will move forward and progress in their studies. In this case, I am interested in exposing my students to Shakespeare's work in anticipation of what they will learn about when they go on to high school. In this manner, this unit will serve as prior knowledge for the students, giving them an opportunity to better understand what is occurring in the high school English classroom.

Shakespeare writes human stories with intense emotions and familiar themes to which my students will be able to relate. For example, in Romeo and Juliet he speaks to rebellious adolescents wanting freedom to make grown-up decisions without their parents' knowledge or approval. Many of the plays, such as Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It expose students to the role of gender at this time period – what it meant then to be a woman or a man. In Othello and Antony and Cleopatra the idea of nationalism is explored. My students will be able to relate to this as they are all very proud of where they have come from displaying their countries' flags and symbols on their clothing, notebooks, and backpacks.

A requirement of our standards is that they must be able to analyze characters in literature. In this unit, students will be required to analyze characters according to their identity – how is it revealed? My students who are caught between two countries, cultures, and languages, have different experiences and relationships which create conflicting pressures that influence who they are and who they will become. The same is true of characters in literature. My students will have an opportunity to analyze these confusions within the literature and make connections in relation to their own lives.

By studying Shakespeare, students will acquire information about vocabulary regarding the theatre and drama. These ELLs will work in small groups to re-create portions of the plays that enable them to use more of the English spoken language – not only to discuss with their group members what and how they will present their portions of the plays but also to increase their oral English language production.

In addition to these objectives, the unit also addresses the English Language Arts (ELA) standards for the state of Delaware (Appendix A). Although my students are ELLs, they are required to meet the content area standards for their grade levels. Students will have various opportunities to work individually, with partners and small groups to address these four standards. For example, the first two standards will be met as students are reading the varied leveled texts and discussing these with their small groups to better determine understanding of Shakespeare's work. The third standard will be met when students work together to re-write a play in Spanish to present to their families. In doing so they are evaluating what they have learned about the play, organizing it into manageable acts, and re-writing parts to show they have understood what they have read. The fourth standard is addressed while students are reading the varied materials, making connections to their lives – comparing and contrasting themselves with the various characters in Shakespeare's plays.


Incorporating literacy skills into each lesson is essential to my students' success. This is especially true for adolescent ELLs who are reading well below grade level. The use of these strategies in the students' reading of Shakespeare's plays is essential if they are to understand what is happening in the plays and determine the identities of the characters.

Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary development activities help to highlight the most important words for text comprehension, which is essential when students are reading Shakespeare. These activities help to change students' understanding of the meanings through direct instruction and context. Despite challenges, certain tips can help teachers regarding vocabulary instruction for this unit on Shakespeare: start with what students already know, building new terms and concepts on this information, provide multiple exposures to new terms and concepts and use varied activities to help them remember the words and their meanings. Since this is a four-week unit, part of the daily curriculum should be devoted to vocabulary development, including discussion.

Teacher Read-Aloud

How students read is as important as what they read. For the Romeo and Juliet lesson, a teacher read-aloud is used because of the students' limited English proficiency levels. In doing this, I will model the English language for the students. The read-aloud provides students access to the true Shakespearean language of Romeo and Juliet without making them frustrated with the text itself. Students will have multiple opportunities to hear me read this language before they try it for themselves.

Graphic Organizers

A graphic organizer is "a visual and graphic display that depicts the relationships between facts, terms, and or ideas within a learning task."26 In my classroom, two of the first words students learn in English are "graphic" "organizers"! Using graphic organizers help to make content more supportive for students, scaffolding the information to be learned and giving them access to content that otherwise might be too difficult for them. This is exactly what is needed to comprehend Shakespeare! Graphic organizers are used for students to determine what vocabulary they know and do not know, to help them organize their thoughts about what quotes mean and why, and to create their own re-productions of the play they have read.

Literature Circles

Student discussion is vital in the Shakespeare unit. Students need multiple opportunities to read, re-read, and discuss texts with each other. Literature circles provide ELLs with opportunities to use the English language in meaningful ways while being supported by their peers. Due to the smaller group size, students are able to have more turns to participate in a conversation as well as experience less anxiety about speaking in front of others. Imagine their discussions of love, betrayal, death, and war, amongst other things. Shakespeare's plays are excellent resources for providing an opportunity to promote language development regarding books they are reading.

Proficient Reading Strategies

This unit will be taught during the early weeks of the beginning of the school year. Students need assistance to become proficient in the use of reading strategies and are able to learn these strategies by having a teacher explain, demonstrate, and apply them while reading. I will do just that during the teaching of the first play, Romeo and Juliet. It is vital to allow for opportunities to practice the strategies with the students, provide feedback, and time for discussion. ELLs' use of proficient reader strategies (predicting, making connections, questioning, inferring, visualizing, determining the main idea, and summarizing) to assist them before, during, and after reading is critical to their comprehension of complex texts. Imagine what fun we will have using the proficient strategies while reading Romeo and Juliet! They may predict that the pair will marry, make a connection that they too are in love, and infer that Juliet is not getting along with her Nurse as well as she did in the past. All of these strategies can provide ELLs with the tools they need to construct meaning from the complex texts such as Shakespeare's that they are required to read.

Classroom Activities

Lesson One – Who Am I? What are the characteristics that make me unique?

This introductory lesson gives students an opportunity to learn more about the meaning of identity and define their own.

Anticipatory Set: Hand out identity poem (Appendix B) to students and pose the following question: What is identity? Have them read the poem silently. Then, have the students discuss the meaning of the poem with group members to determine their own definition of identity. Groups will present their ideas about identity.

Directed Instruction: Explain various definitions of identity, categorizing these for students. Have students write these in their notebooks. Then, the teacher should model his/her own identity for their students enabling them to better understand the complexity that consists of external and internal forces, as well as the cultural and social aspects.

Activity: Students will create a visual representation of their own identity in any manner they choose: poster, graphic organizer, and/or collage. Individual ideas will also be encouraged. Some class time will be dedicated to the development of the idea. The project is to be completed outside of class.

Assessment: Student Identity Visual Representation

Lesson Two – Who Was Shakespeare?

In this lesson, students will investigate who Shakespeare was by generating, categorizing, and researching questions they have about him. Afterwards, they will create an interactive bulletin board with their questions and answers.

Anticipatory Set: Now that students have a better understanding of identity, students will begin to investigate who was William Shakespeare. Students will be given a list of words (Appendix C) and be asked to predict what type of person he is. Students will reflect on these words. In pairs, students should discuss these words and determine what type of person this would be, his identity. They should explain the reasoning that brings them to think this. After they have had some time for discussion with their partner, they will get together with another pair to form a small group (two pairs). In those groups, they will talk about their answers and reasons why. Then, the whole class will share their responses. The teacher should record this information and keep it in view for students to use later.

Directed Instruction: The teacher should explain to students that they will be learning about Shakespeare – his life and his works. In doing this, they will be generating questions, categorizing them, and researching answers by reading texts and using the Internet. All of these activities will enable them to begin to answer Who was Shakespeare? and What are the characteristics that make him different from others? Teachers may need to review question generating to give them an idea of what types of questions can and should be created. They may also need to review or teach students how to use the Internet for research, including instruction about the reliability of a source.

Activity: In these same small groups, students will generate questions they want answered about Shakespeare. In addition, they will organize these questions into categories surrounding the idea of identity. An example could include: Where was Shakespeare from? Answers could include: England, countryside, small town, big family all of which would point to explaining more about his identity – what he might have been like and why. Students will then be responsible for finding the answers to their questions by reading various texts and researching information on the Internet. They will list their questions and answers on the Shakespeare Interactive Bulletin Board. Throughout the unit, students will continue to post additional questions and answers.

Assessment: Group Question Generation Sheets (on Post-It pad paper/butcher paper)

Lesson Three — Romeo and Juliet

This lesson is a scaffolded reading experience in which students will "progress" through varied texts to better comprehend Romeo and Juliet as well as the character's identities.

Anticipatory Set: Have students respond to the following: Romeo is 16. Juliet is 13. They are in love. Describe who they might be, what you think their relationship is like, and why. Students will write and then discuss their answers with a partner and then with their groups. As a whole class, discuss what they have written.

Directed Instruction: This is the teacher's opportunity to scaffold this reading experience for his/her students going from a comic strip, children's version of the play, and the original acts/scenes from the play. Give students the Knowledge of a Word guide (Appendix D). Have students rate themselves on their knowledge of the four words that will be helpful in their understanding of the plays' characters: protagonist, antagonist, dialogue, and stereotype. Then, the teacher should follow with a class discussion in which the definitions are shared and a communal one is decided upon. Then, review the Characters (Who are they?) – Vocabulary and Helpful Questions guide sheet (Appendix E), telling them these questions should help with understanding the characters' identities in the plays. First, introduce the comic strip. Think aloud for the students, explaining what you notice about the play from the clues of the comic strip. "I see that the colors on the pages start out bright and then gets darker, maybe that means something not good is going to happen. I see that Romeo and Juliet look young. Maybe it is the first time that they are in love. I notice them kissing! There also seems to be a problem between the Montagues and Capulets. Maybe they are two families or groups of people. It looks like they are mad at each other. I wonder what happened between them." Second, read aloud the children's version of Romeo and Juliet, using the proficient reading strategies. "I predict this will be about because…I wonder why they could not tell their families?...I have a connection with the name Juliet, one of my favorite friends in the sixth grade had that name. Romeo seems a little immature, crying or whining about a girl. I cannot believe that Juliet drank that potion. I think she's brave. I would have been too afraid even though it was just to sleep." Third, hand out Romeo and Juliet graphic organizer (Appendix F). Show students how to move through the plays' acts and scenes to uncover what they demonstrate about the characters' identities. Read aloud these portions of the play with expression so that students can understand the depth of the words. You want them to "feel" the words especially since it's their first time. Drumming up excitement is important! Use a Dialectical Journal (Appendix G) for students to be able to analyze the information revealed about the characters' identities within the play. Model for students how to use this by choosing a few lines from the play:

Line (s)
Why is this line important?

What does it reveal about the character?

What question (s) do I have about this quotation?
Ay me!

Sad hours seem long.

Romeo 164 and 165 There is some reason why Romeo feels sad. Why is he sad?

Activity: At each stage: comic strip, children's version, and plays, have students view, read, and discuss with their small groups. Together, they will create a list of the general ideas they have of the play. Then, have students focus on Romeo and Juliet. Have them explain what type of people they were and why do they think this. How would they describe them? What are their identities? For each of these questions they must cite evidence from the sources. Students will use the information they have gained from viewing, reading, discussing, and taking notes in their dialectical journals to complete the culminating activity. They will chose one character and write a paragraph responding to the unit's overarching questions: Who is Romeo/Juliet? What are the characteristics that make him/her unique?

Assessment: Literature Circle Conversations and Post-It Notes, Dialectical Journal and Identity Character Paragraph

Lesson Four – Literature Circles: Macbeth and Othello

Anticipatory Set: Read to students the descriptions of Othello and Macbeth. Have them write down which play they would like to read and why.

Directed Instruction: Review with the students the protocol for Literature Circles, including rules, expectations, and proficient reading strategies. Also, remind students that during this Literature Circle round they should take special care in determining the identities of the main characters. Give students the comic strip/graphic novel, children's story, and original plays with the play lists of important acts/scenes (chosen by you) as well as a Dialectical Journal sheet (Appendix G). If a teacher is unfamiliar with the Literature Circle format, do not begin using this now! Literature Circles are established slowly, following a special formula. A modification for this portion is to group students to read the two plays either by student or teacher choice.

Activity: Use the Literature Circle model to group students according to their choice of play. Students will be organized into small groups of three to six. They will use the same steps in uncovering information about the play's characters as had been modeled for them in the last lesson, about Romeo and Juliet.

Assessment: Literature Circle Conversations and Post-It Notes, Dialectical Journal, and Identity Character Paragraph

Lesson Five – Shakespeare Productions in Spanish

Anticipatory Set: Give students theatre vocabulary words (Appendix H) and a small snack-size zip lock bag or an envelope. Have students cut out the vocabulary words and complete the Word Sorts vocabulary development activity27.

Directed Instruction: As a whole class, definitions are listed by the various groups. Then, after discussion, a whole class definition is reached. Then, students are given time to determine how they want to bring into being their Shakespeare Productions in Spanish.

Activity: Students will review their plays again and use a graphic organizer including columns below to guide them in their organization of their re-writing of the play.




How is what is happening or what is being said reflect the character's identity?

Re-written lines in Spanish

Assessment: Graphic organizer and Play Productions


Teacher Resources

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.

This book provides critical essays regarding Shakespeare's plays.

Carlson, Helen B. M.D. "Identity and Character Formation," Brief Communications, (January, 1966), http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/122/7/821.pdf (accessed July 6, 2008).

This website provides information regarding identity.

The Department of English, University of Victoria. "Characters and Characterization." The UVic Writer's Guide (September 23, 2005), http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/LTCharacter.html (accessed July 11, 2008).

This website gives information about characters and characterization.

Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004.

A biography of Shakespeare's life.

Hall, Tracey and Nicole Strangman. "CAST Universal Design for Learning: Graphic Organizers." (2002), http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_go.html (accessed July 12, 2008).

Excellent teacher resource regarding graphic organizers.

Kriesberg, Louis. "Us Versus Them." Beyond Intractability (July, 2003), http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/identity_issues/ (accessed July 6, 2008).

This website is helpful in providing information about identity.

Poems about identity." http://www.poemhunter.com/poems/identity (accessed July 13, 2008).

This website provides a variety of poems about identity.

ReadWriteThink. "Three Elements of Characterization," (2007), http://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson101/3ElementsofCharacterization.pdf (accessed July 8, 2008).

Appendix E is modeled after the information from this website.

ReadWriteThink. "Word Sorts for Beginning and Struggling Readers," (2008), http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=795 (accessed July 16, 2008).

Word sorts activity explanation and example.

Simpson, David L. "Lecture and Discussion Topics: Comedy and Tragedy." True Love:Men vs. Women in Ancient and Modern Culture (1998).

http://condor.depaul.edu/~dsimpson/tlove/comic-tragic.html (accessed July 12, 2008).

This website defines a comedy and a tragedy.

Student Resources

Burdett, Lois. Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Macbeth For Kids. Buffalo: Firefly Books, 1996.

Student re-telling of Macbeth - they create their own illustrations depicting characters and plot.

Burdett, Lois. Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Romeo and Juliet For Kids. Buffalo: Firefly Books, 1998.

Student re-telling of Romeo and Juliet – they create their own illustrations depicting characters and plot.

McKeown, Adam. The Young Reader's Shakespeare: Othello. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2005.

This book is sure to please students as the colorful descriptions are alongside an easy-to-read text making even the most reluctant reader eager to read!

McKeown, Adam. The Young Reader's Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2004.

Easy reading of the play as it is divided into chapters and has many illustrations to help students visualize these compelling characters.

McKeown, Adam. The Young Reader's Shakespeare: Macbeth. New York: Sterling Publishing Company Inc., 2004.

Easy reading of the play as it is divided into chapters and has many illustrations to help students visualize these compelling characters.

Sexton, Adam and Yali Lin. Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet: The Manga edition. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2008.

Students will love this Manga comic version of Romeo and Juliet.

Williams, Marcia. Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! London: Walker Books and Subsidiaries, 2001.

The vivid comics give meaning to the play's plots and characters.

Classroom Materials

Brandenberg, Aliki. William Shakespeare & the Globe. China: Harper Collins Publisher, 1999.

This children's literature book is written in a play format introducing Shakespeare to young or struggling readers of English.

Chrisp, Peter. Welcome to the Globe: The Story of Shakespeare. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limted, 2000.

This DK book describes activities that occurred at the Globe Theater through its'

characters to explain what they did during this exciting time period.

Durband, Alan. Shakespeare Made Easy: Macbeth. London: Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, 1985.

This is a side-by-side original text and modern English version of the play.

Holste, Gayle. Shakespeare Made Easy: Othello. Hauppauge: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 2002.

This is a side-by-side original text and modern English version of the play.

Lamb, Charles and Mary Lamb. Tales from Shakespeare. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2004.

A variety of Shakespeare's plays are re-written into children's stories to make the easier understand and enjoyable to read for ELLs and struggling readers.

Mannis, Celeste Davidson. Who Was William Shakespeare? New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2006.

This resource explains historical facts about Shakespeare's life. The illustrations will captivate even your most reluctant readers!

Nesbit, E. The Children's Shakespeare. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 2000.

A variety of Shakespeare's plays are re-written (illustrations included) into children's stories.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 1998.

This Signet Classic includes critical essays discussing various aspects of the play.

Shakespeare, William. Othello: Cartoon Shakespeare. London: Can of Worms Press, 2004.

This graphic novel piques students' interest in Othello.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 1998.

This Signet Classic includes critical essays discussing various aspects of the play

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. New York: Penguin Group Inc., 1998.

This Signet Classic includes critical essays discussing various aspects of the play.

Williams, Marcia. Tales from Shakespeare. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 1998.

The vivid comics give meaning to the Shakespeare's various plays.

Appendix A

Delaware English Language Arts Standards

1 – Use written and oral English appropriate for various purposes and audiences.

2 – Construct, examine, and extend the meaning of literary, informative, and technical texts through listening, reading, and viewing.

3 – Access, organize, and evaluate information gained through listening, reading, and viewing.

4 – Use literary knowledge accessed through print and visual media to connect self to society and culture.

Appendix B

Identity is about struggle

Identity is about grasping for a sense of who you are

In spite of the reflected mirrors of others

Through the shared experiences of others.

It's about being strong enough to decipher the riddle of right and wrong.

It's about knowing you're weak and knowing you can be strong.

It's about your words, actions, and reactions.

It's about the team you support

And what sport you play

The hobby which you do

The girl or boy you woo or go out with

The clothes you wear,

It's about heritage

Where you're born

Family trees

Respect and responsibility

Social norms

Out groups and in-groups

It can be about the colour of your skin

More often it's about the thoughts we have within the image inside and outside the bubble of who we are ingrained and contained in our soul!

-Daniel Hooks

Appendix C

Three children Actor
Writer London, England
Lived away from his family Land Owner
Famous Married at 18

Appendix D

Knowledge of a Word

(Adapted by Prillaman, 2006 from Beck, et al., 2002)

Look at the new vocabulary words. Put an X in the column to indicate how well you do or do not know the vocabulary word. Write what you think the word means and why in the column Idea. After our class discussion, you will write the meaning (or definition) of the word our class agrees upon in the column Meaning.

Word Know It Well Know something about it; can relate Have seen or heard the word before Do not know the word Idea—What do I think the word means? Why do I think this? Meaning




  X     I think it is some kind of animal in the ocean. I think this because I heard it once in a movie.  

Appendix E

Characters (Who are they?) – Vocabulary and Helpful Questions

  • Protagonist: The main character of the story; experiences the conflict in the story; does not have to be good.
  • Antagonist: The cause of the conflict; does not have to be a person.
  • Dialogue: The words a character uses in conversation and how they are used gives the reader insight into the character.
  • Stereotype: The character that is oversimplified; lacks originality or individuality.

When reading the plays, think about the questions below to help guide your understanding of what are the characters identities.

  • Physical appearance – What does the character look like?
  • Actions, speech, and behavior – What does the character do?/How does the character behave?/What does the character say?
  • Interactions with others – How do other characters in the story react to this character?

Appendix F

Character – Romeo

What is Happening
Act I; Scene i 162 - 241 Romeo is being melancholy; the woman he loves does not return his feelings
Act I; Scene v 95 - 129 Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and kiss
Act II; Scene ii 1 - 190 Balcony Scene
Act II; Scene iii 31 - 95 Speaks to the friar about his love for Juliet
Act III; Scene v 1 - 37 Morning after they spend the night together
Act V; Scene i 1 - 86 Finds out about Juliet and purchases poison to be with her
Act V; Scene iii 22 - 120 Romeo kills Paris in the tomb and then kills himself

Character – Juliet

What is Happening
Act I; Scene v 95 - 129 Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and kiss
Act II; Scene ii 1 - 190 Balcony Scene
Act III; Scene v 1 - 244 Morning after Juliet and Romeo spend the night together

Vehemently demands that the marriage to Paris is delayed

Act IV; Scene i 6 -126 Juliet meets up with Paris and the friar admitting her love for Romeo
Act IV; Scene iii 14 - 58 Drinks the potion to make her sleep
Act V; Scene iii 148 - 170 Juliet discovers that Romeo is dead and kills herself

Appendix G




Why is this line important?

What does it reveal about the character?

What question (s) do I have about this quotation?

Appendix H



comedy Waterman bankside Scene Histories Plague
Gallant Richard Burbage Groundling apprentice Act Tragedy Tiring house


1. Helen B. Carlson, M.D., Identity and character formation.

2. Louis Kriesberg, Us Versus Them.

3. The Department of English, The University of Victoria, Writers guide, characters and characterization.

4. Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, 147.

5. David L Simpson, Lecture and Discussion Topics: Comedies and Tragedies.

6. Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, 185.

7. Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, 79.

8. Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, 87.

9. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I i 165.

10. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I i 200 – 201.

11. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I i 209

12. Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, 100.

13. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I iii 97 – 99.

14. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, III v 117 – 120.

15. Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, 516.

16. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, V v 17-28.

17. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, I.vii. 48-58.

18. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, II iii 63 – 64

19. William Shakespeare, Othello, I i 63.

20. William Shakespeare, Othello, I iii 47.

21. William Shakespeare, Othello, II iii 276-278.

22. William Shakespeare, Othello, I i 112 – 113.

23. William Shakespeare, Othello, II i 113.

24. William Shakespeare, Othello, III iii 165 – 170.

25. Shakespeare, Othello, V ii 299 – 300.

26. Hall and Strangman. "CAST Universal Design for Learning: Graphic Organizers." 2002. http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_go.html (accessed July 12, 2008).

27. "Word Sorts for Beginning and Struggling Readers." 2008. http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=795

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