Reading Skill: SummarizeA summary is a short statement of the mainideas and events in a work. To summarize,pause occasionally to retell what you haveread, using only the most important information.Summarizing improves your understanding of awork because it leads you to identify its keyelements.
Using the Strategy: Summary Chart Use a summary chart like this one to identify the key elementsWho is the most What does the Who or what gets What is the important character want? in the character’s outcome? character? way?
Reading Skill: SummarizeTo summarize a play, briefly state the mostimportant actions and ideas in your own words.To gather details for a summary, take notes.Write down the most important elements of whatyou read; for example, note the characters, theplaces, the problems, and the key events.
Using the Strategy: Summary Chart Use a summary chart like this one to take notes that will help you summarize.Characters Characters Main Event 1 Main Event 2Involved InvolvedPlace Place Problem Problem
Reading Skill: Use Text AidsBecause they were written in the 17th Century,Shakespeare’s plays contain unfamiliar language andreferences. When reading Shakespearean drama,use text aids: • Review the list of dramatis personae (the cast of characters). • Read the background information provided. As you read the play, consult the notes, called glosses, beside the text. These notes define words and explain references.
Reading Skill: ParaphraseParaphrasing a line or passage from a work meansrestating its meaning in your own words. To paraphrasewhen reading Shakespearean drama, folllow thesesteps: • Look for punctuation showing where sentences end. • For each sentence, identify the subject and verb and put them into the usual order. You may also need to add helping verbs and use modern verb and pronoun forms.
Using the Strategy: Paraphrase DiagramAs you read, record details on a paraphrase diagram like the oneshown.
Reading Skill: Analyze ImageryWriters sometimes use imagery, language that appeals to thesenses, to make abstract ideas vivid and concrete. In Act III,Shakespeare uses many images that focus on words and the bodyincluding these: • wounds that speak • burying Caesar’s body rather than speaking praise of him • “plucking” a poet’s name out of his heartIn each case, a reference to words—speech, praise, names—iscoupled with an image of a person’s physical body—a corpse,wounds, the heart. In this way, Shakespeare links physical violencein Rome with disrespect for laws—the words that bind society.
Using the Strategy: Imagery Chart Record these details on an imagery chart like this one.Reference to Words Imagery of the Body ConnectionAnd waving our red Swords covered in The wordsweapons o’er our heads, blood from Caesar’s name the idealsLet’s all cry “Peace, body the conspiratorsfreedom, and liberty!” use to justify killing Caesar.
Reading Skill: Read Between the LinesWhen reading Shakespearean drama, read between the linesor make inferences to find the deeper meaning of a character’swords. • Keep the larger situation in mind. For instance, early in Act IV, Antony describes Lepidus as “Meet to be sent on errands.” Note that Antony has been deciding which of his political rivals with share power. Between the lines, he is saying, “Fit to run errands—and nothing else.” • Follow indirect references. For example, when Lucilius reports on Cassius, Brutus says, “Thou has described / A hot friend cooling.” “A hot friend” refers to Cassius, whom Brutus worries is no longer his ally. • Notice what details the author provides, and what he does not include.
Using the Strategy: Inference Chart Recording details on an inference chart will help you read between the lines.What Does It Say? What Does It Mean? Why Is It Important?“Meet to be sent on Lepidus is fit to Antony is decidingerrands” run errands—and who will die and nothing else. who will gain power.
Reading Skill: Compare and Contrast CharactersShakespeare often emphasizes the important qualitiesof one character by presenting another character withcontrasting qualities. A foil is a character who sets offanother character by providing a strong contrast. Whenreading Shakespearean drama, you can often gainunderstanding by comparing and contrastingcharacters. Look for similarities and differences in thecharacters’ personalities, situations, behaviors, andattitudes.
Using the Strategy: Character ChartRecord details on a character chart to compareand contrast characters’ qualities. Brutus Cassius nobleman nobleman idealistic practical