Insults & Iambic Pentameter

Insults & Iambic Pentameter

Insults & Iambic Pentameter


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Shakespeare's Recipe for <strong>Insults</strong><br />

To construct a Shakespearean insult, combine one word from each of the three columns below, and<br />

preface it with "Thou." (And you thought the comments on your papers were bad!)<br />

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3<br />

artless base-court apple-john<br />

bawdy bat-fowling baggage<br />

beslubbering beef-witted barnacle<br />

bootless beetle-headed bladder<br />

churlish boil-brained boar-pig<br />

cockered clapper-clawed bugbear<br />

clouted clay-brained bum-bailey<br />

craven common-kissing canker-blossom<br />

currish crook-pated clack-dish<br />

dankish dismal-dreaming clotpole<br />

dissembling dizzy-eyed coxcomb<br />

droning doghearted codpiece<br />

errant dread-bolted death-token<br />

fawning earth-vexing dewberry<br />

fobbing elf-skinned flap-dragon<br />

froward fat-kidneyed flax-wench<br />

frothy fen-sucked flirt-gill<br />

gleeking flap-mouthed foot-licker<br />

goatish fly-bitten fustilarian<br />

gorbellied folly-fallen giglet<br />

impertinent fool-born gudgeon<br />

infectious full-gorged haggard<br />

jarring guts-griping harpy<br />

loggerheaded half-faced hedge-pig<br />

lumpish hasty-witted horn-beast<br />

mammering hedge-born hugger-mugger<br />

mangled hell-hated joithead<br />

mewling idle-headed lewdster<br />

paunchy ill-breeding lout<br />

pribbling ill-nurtured maggot-pie<br />

puking knotty-pated malt-worm<br />

puny milk-livered mammet<br />

qualling motley-minded measle

ank onion-eyed minnow<br />

reeky plume-plucked miscreant<br />

roguish pottle-deep moldwarp<br />

ruttish pox-marked mumble-news<br />

saucy reeling-ripe nut-hook<br />

spleeny rough-hewn pigeon-egg<br />

spongy rude-growing pignut<br />

surly rump-fed puttock<br />

tottering shard-borne pumpion<br />

unmuzzled sheep-biting ratsbane<br />

vain spur-galled scut<br />

venomed swag-bellied skainsmate<br />

villainous tardy-gaited strumpet<br />

warped tickle-brained varlet<br />

wayward toad-spotted vassal<br />

weedy unchin-snouted whey-face<br />

yeasty weather-bitten wagtail<br />

Get thee gone, thou wayward rump-fed pumpion, and make thine insults!<br />

Copyright © 2001 by The Folger Shakespeare Library<br />

"I am a pirate with a wooden leg": Stomping <strong>Iambic</strong><br />

<strong>Pentameter</strong><br />

January 2005<br />

Gregory Taylor teaches English at Hillside Junior High School in Boise, Idaho.<br />

This lesson may be used before reading any Shakespeare play or sonnet.<br />

Click here to view standards used in this lesson plan.<br />

Title page detail, Newes from sea, 1609 (anonymous).Students will learn the basics of iambic<br />

pentameter by studying the rhythm of blank verse orally, aurally, visually, and kinesthetically.<br />

This lesson will take one class period.<br />

1. Using the attached document as an overhead template, review the idea of meter. Be sure to explain<br />

the idea of "feet", the smallest repeating ryhthmic units (in Shakespeare's case, the iamb is the metrical<br />

foot.) Also teach the word "iamb", a foot of two syllables with an unstressed syllable followed by a<br />

stressed syllable.<br />

2. Introduce the term "iambic pentameter". Have the students puzzle out the meaning through<br />

morphological analysis of the component parts "meter", "iambic" and "penta" - a five foot metrical line<br />

of weak followed by strong syllables.

3. Have students repeat a line of five "I am"'s with the emphasis on the "am" syllable. Explain that this is<br />

one way to remember the iambic rhythm. Practice saying some sentences that begin with "I AM" in a<br />

weak-STRONG pattern: "I AM a great student; I AM going to be nice to my little brother."<br />

4. To really feel the iambic rhythm, get students up on their feet and say the next line, "I am a pirate<br />

with a wooden leg," dragging their wooden legs on the unstressed syllables and stepping strongly on<br />

the stressed syllables. Have students draw parentheses around the iambs and note that some divide in<br />

the middle of words: meter is about sound, not spelling.<br />

5. Have students read some lines from the play you will be reading.<br />

6. Finally, have students write their own iambic pentameter lines in pairs, as a conversation. Use the<br />

last two sentences on the handout as an example. After a few minutes, have some of the pairs perform<br />

their conversations. Be sure they understand how the meter works in this blank verse.<br />

Can students explain and demonstrate iambic pentameter? Can they write proper lines of blank verse?<br />

Can they begin to see and understand some of the uses of meter in Shakespeare's writing?<br />

Tickling the Brain<br />

------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />

January 1999<br />

Jeff Schober teaches at the Baker Road Alternative School in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. The<br />

school has approximately 80 at-risk students, grades 9-12, and few go on to higher education. Mr.<br />

Schober teaches American history and Shakespeare and co-authored a book about the Buffalo Sabres.<br />

This activity is an introduction and overview of the action in Much Ado About Nothing.<br />

Click here to view standards used in this lesson plan.<br />

Ursula, "She's lim'd, I warrant you."; Henry Fuseli, 1803, engraving.Today students will improvise a few<br />

scenarios which relate to the plot of Much Ado About Nothing. They should have no previous<br />

knowledge of the playóthey have not read any scenes or learned character names. This activity will<br />

force them to think about broad happenings they will read about, so when they begin the play they will<br />

have a base of expectations. This activity should be completed in one 40-minute period.<br />

1. Divide students into groups of four or five. Each group will be called to the front of the room and<br />

asked to improvise one of the following scenarios written on the board:<br />

A) Two people of the opposite sex, A and B, dislike one another and are constantly bickering. Show<br />

them taunting one another, then have B leave. Some friends enter. Have the friends convince A that B<br />

is really attracted to A. Deal with the matter of whether A believes them and why he (or she) would.<br />

B) A different couple, X and Y, are very much in love. Create a scenario showing their affection for<br />

one another. Have X leave and friends enter. The friends have to do something to cause Y to want to<br />

break up with X.<br />

2. Play this improvisation game as many times as necessary, depending on the number of groups you<br />


3. When everyone has had a chance to act, write the names of two students who played A and B on<br />

the board. Have students copy this into their notebooks, then cross out the students' names and write<br />

Beatrice and Benedick. Do the same thing for X and Y, crossing out the students' names and inserting<br />

Hero and Claudio.<br />

4. In the remaining class time have the students copy the scenarios into their notebooks. Their<br />

homework is to write a one-page fictional story which addresses one of the scenarios.<br />

5. Collect the homework at the start of the next class period, distribute copies of the character map<br />

for Much Ado About Nothing included in the handout section below, and hand out copies of the play.<br />

Did students understand the scenarios they were asked to improvise? If they asked pointed questions<br />

which went beyond the material you covered, this is a good indication that the activity has triggered<br />

their brain. A true measure of how the lesson went should be reflected in their written assignment.<br />

Ideally they will be creative while still following the plot discussed in class.<br />

------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />

Copyright © 2001 by The Folger Shakespeare Library

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