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If you had to choose the top 5 passages of Shakespeare to memorize


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If you had to choose the top 5 passages of Shakespeare to memorize, what would you choose? I'm not looking for one-liner quotes, but longer passages.

 

Eg:

Macbeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

 

 

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

 

I'm asking because I am thinking about teaching Shakespeare to my middle school kids and having them focus a lot on memory. Because of the adult themes in so much of Shakespeare, I wasn't interested in them memorizing Shakespeare in the grammar stage, but before they get to the stage when they don't want to memorize, I'd like to work some Shakespeare in. I'd love to hear what you think are the most important passages. (You don't have to have 5!)

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If you had to choose the top 5 passages of Shakespeare to memorize, what would you choose? I'm not looking for one-liner quotes, but longer passages.

)

 

 

From King Lear (Can't remember the Act or Scene)

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that

when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our disaster the sun, the moon, and the stars....

 

 

I'd also consider Hamlet's ..To be or not to be...

 

And from the Witches in Macbeth..Double, double, toil and trouble...

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The Poem "All the World's a Stage" is one piece I have my kids memorize.

 

There are the famous parts from Romeo and Juliet beginning with "What light through yonder window breaks?" and of course, "Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo."

 

There is also the witches part from Macbeth that includes "Double, double, toil and trouble."

 

Also "Friends, Romans, countrymen," from Julius Caesar.

 

"The Quality of Mercy is not strain'd," from The Merchant of Venice.

Edited by Onceuponatime
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I agree with all that have been listed.

 

I remember a character in a novel that had memorized the first few lines from every Shakespeare play. He did it, so that whenever any Sh. play was mentioned in conversation he would recite the first few lines and everyone thought he was brilliant.

 

I always thought that was a fun idea.

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Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3 - starting at:

" Give thy no tongue..."

 

Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene i - Portia speech starting at:

"The quality of mercy is not strained:"

 

As You Like It - All the World's a Stage

 

Sonnet 18

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If you had to choose the top 5 passages of Shakespeare to memorize, what would you choose? I'm not looking for one-liner quotes, but longer passages.

 

Eg:

Macbeth:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

 

 

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

 

I'm asking because I am thinking about teaching Shakespeare to my middle school kids and having them focus a lot on memory. Because of the adult themes in so much of Shakespeare, I wasn't interested in them memorizing Shakespeare in the grammar stage, but before they get to the stage when they don't want to memorize, I'd like to work some Shakespeare in. I'd love to hear what you think are the most important passages. (You don't have to have 5!)

 

For some reason the entire family has unintentionally (I never required memorization of Shakespeare) memorized this passage. We also know the witches, Double, double toil and trouble. The kids know several passages from Romeo & Juliet (mostly learned from the movie with Leonardo Di Caprio). I am sure there is more but these are the ones that immediately spring to mind.

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Sonnet 18

Friends, Romans, countrymen... (Julius Caesar)

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow... (Macbeth)

Queen Mab speech from Romeo and Juliet

St. Crispian's day speech (Henry V)

 

This short speech from Othello:

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;

’Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

 

The speech in Midsummer Night's Dream that starts out "Lovers and madmen have such seething brains..."

 

Puck's final speech from Midsummer Night's Dream

 

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer... from Richard III

 

Several little speeches of Titania's in MND

 

Ophelia's monologue O, woe is me, to have seen what I have seen... (Hamlet)

 

Juliet has a number of good speeches, including "Gallop apace, ye fiery-footed steeds".

 

Can you tell I love Shakespeare? And that I also majored in theatre my first two years of college? :D

 

Wendi

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