Embrace the Meter

Shakespeare may be hard to understand at first, but he wasn't writing in Old English - his plays are all in early Modern English. And the more practice you get reading it, the easier it will be to understand.


So sigh no more, and let's get to it!

William Shakepeare modern painting sunglasses urban

Yes, I speak English.

Iambic Pentameter:

What it Is and Why Shakespeare Loved It

Shakespeare often wrote in iambic pentameter, a poetic form which made his lines easier for actors to memorize and more emotionally expressive.

Activities for the Classroom

Use the following activities to explore Iambic Pentameter in the classroom. Perfect for beginners through advanced, middle through high school. 

Is That Your Sandwich?

(Beginner level)

Goal: Increase comprehension and understanding of subtext.

Living Line

(Beginner level)

Goal: Deepen understanding of rhythm and iambic pentameter.

Shakespeare In Us All

(Moderate to Advanced level)

Goal: Increase understanding of iambic pentameter through experimentation.

Small Group Writing

(Beginner level)

Goal: Increase comprehension of iambic pentameter.

Sonnet Puzzle

(Moderate to Advanced level)

Goal: Increase understanding of iambic pentameter through experimentation.


Seen & Heard

Plays impact us most when seen and heard. Remove the performance, and you reduce the impact. Clips online, like the ones below, give us a taste of the bard as originally intended (though there's no substitute for seeing it live).

To Be or Not To Be in OP

(Original Pronunciation, aka 16th century English)

Is Shakespeare meant to be or not to be in an accent? 

You Might Be

Quoting Shakespeare

Shakespeare is credited with over a thousand words and phrases that are used in the English language today. If you use these sayings, you are quoting Shakespeare.

Words we owe to Shakespeare see more about the words Shakespeare invented coined
Shakespeare makes up words concoction tips copyblogger

The Late Great

Billy Shakes

Want to know more about Shakespeare?

Click through the slides for fun facts about the world's best Bard. 

All Content Provided for Educational Purposes Only

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.