So we finished all the plays today. I know I should write some profound “final thoughts” here, in the spirit of Jerry Springer or something, but I just don’t have it in me. The play is what it is. All the stuff Shakespeare did in the previous acts that we’ve been discussing in class and on the blog were merely intended to set the stage for the tragic scenes that unfolded today. All those deep discussions we’ve been having about Hamlet’s existential crises and Iago’s moral bankruptcy are all moot (meaningless) after the events of each play’s final act.

Or are they?

Is death the event that erases the meaning from life, or is life made up of the events that lend meaning to death?

Je-rry! Je-rry! Je-rry!

Anyway. After reading, weeping, and discussing, we recovered enough to start choosing monologues to memorize. Here’s the assignment:

Find a meaningful speech or soliloquy in the Shakespeare play we just read. When you’re looking, consider the following:

  • Is there any character that reminded me of me?
  • Is there any character that reminded me of someone I know and could impersonate?
  • Is there any scene which caught my attention?
  • Is there a symbol in the play that held special meaning for me?

These questions will help you pinpoint a monologue that holds some special meaning for you. It’s good to select a monologue that means something to you since you’ll need some sort of emotional base to tap into while performing it for the class.

The monologue you memorize needs to be at least 10 lines long. Be careful when you’re choosing your 10 lines to choose the most meaningful part of the speech. Sometimes the first few lines of a monologue refer to a comment another character makes, and it’s better to cut those lines. Also, if you stop the speech before the end, make sure not cut it off in the middle of a sentence. Sentences often stretch across several lines.

We’ll take a few days in class to memorize and practice the monologues, and there should be enough time in class for diligent students to prepare themselves for the performance. Also, there’s extra credit available to those who memorize and perform more than 10 lines, to the tune of 2 points extra credit for each line memorized and well-performed.

So, we’ll finalize those selections on Monday.

Until, then, happy DPF.



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