Key Passage Selection and Oral Commentary Assignment
TAG AP/IB English III and IV
Due Date: ________________
While studying Shakespeare’s Othello, select a key passage for close examination. A key passage should
reflect some of the following characteristics: Must be 30-40 lines in length
it resonates with the reader’s personal experience
it shows character
it creates a strong mood
it describes an important turning point in the plot
it establishes setting
it establishes theme
it “explains” the title
it shows especially effective or innovative writing technique
it demonstrates narrative voice, or change in voice
it contains central images
Once selected, complete the following by the due date.
1. Note the key passage by Act, scene, and line numbers.
2. Type the passage EXACTLY as it appears in your edition.
3. Beneath the passage, tell briefly why you have selected the passage, set the passage into context,
and explain its significance to the play as a whole.
4. Annotate the passage extensively. Focus on Shakespeare’s use of language and style. Use the
handout “Shakespeare’s Language” to assist your thinking.
5. Examine your annotations and create two guiding questions for your passage. These questions
should allow you to shape a response that will last 10 to 12 minutes. (For example: What is the
purpose of the passage? How is the purpose achieved?)
6. Create an outline for your commentary. Use the format provided in class. This should be typed!
7. On the due date, be prepared to submit your passage, annotations, guiding questions, and outline.
On this day, you will complete a 10 -12 minute oral commentary based on your passage. This
commentary will be presented to another student who will score your performance based on the
rubric provided in class. At the end of class, all material will be turned in to me for a score.
REMEMBER: preparation is everything. EXTENSIVE annotations and a detailed outline are
**If you are absent on the day of the presentation, you will have to present your commentary to me!
When preparing the commentary, use the grid below as an aid to focus your thoughts.
Context Key ideas and central tension
Who, what, when, where, with what What are the big ideas here? explicit? implicit?
consequences? Tension between two?
Who is speaking to us? How are these illuminated?
Out of what circumstances? You need to use other boxes
Why is this something worth telling? Literal/abstract/universal
Nuts and bolts
Language, rhythm, pace. Is there a significant link
Movement and contrast between form and content?
Look at the first line and the last line. Verbs (energy, mood) participles?
How has the piece moved between them? Pronouns (perspective)
Has there been a shift in focus? mood? setting? Concrete Nouns (well observed?)
tone? perspective? Adverbs (tone)
What things are being contrasted in the work? adjectives (sensuous)