Thursday, 6 November 2014

Exploring the presentation of a character in a play

I have been working on exploring the presentation of a character in 'The Merchant of Venice' and 'Othello' with a group and I thought I'd share a resource.

The students are comparing the texts and looking at how the characters are presented in the plays. There were 4 slides in total. On each slide there are six questions. . Each student ( in a group of 6) has to take responsibility for their question and then at the end of the 10 minutes they have to, as a group, feedback link ideas to the coursework question.

Slide 1 - Presentation: Staging

1.When are they seen in the play?

2.Is there a pattern in the way they appear in the play?

3.Are they in the opening and closing scenes?

4.Are they part of the main plot? Or are they part of the subplot?

5.Who usually features in the scenes with them?

6.How does the character actually interact with characters?  Soliloquy / dialogue with one character / dialogue with many characters / speech to many characters

Slide 2 - Presentation - Character Development

1.Do they learn something by the end of the story? When?

2.Do they change over the course of the story? When? Why?

3.Does the character’s presentation differ at the start to the ending?

4.Does the character behave in a ‘predictable’ manner?

5.Does the character’s development in the story link to another character? The misfortune of one is highlighted by the fortune of another character.

6.How does the play show the changing of a character’s thoughts and feelings?

Slide 3 - Presentation - Construction

1.How does the writer portray the character through actions?

2.How does the writer portray the character through dialogue?

3.How does the writer portray the character through behaviour?

4.How do other characters interact with the character?

5.How do other characters make this character look better or worse?

6.How does this relate to the audience? Can they empathise with them?


Slide 4 - Presentation - Critical Views

1.How realistic is the portrayal of the character? When is / isn’t it realistic?

2.Is the character a stereotype? How? 

3.Is the writer consistent with his portrayal of the character?

4.What is the character’s function in the story?

5.What is the character’s symbolism in the story? Society?

6.What are the flaws in the way the character is presented on stage?

The nice thing about this approach was the results. The discussion my class had with these questions was very good. They were able to explore the presentation of a character really well.



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