Surfing with the Bard Lesson Plans

A Midsummer Night's Dream MND Sound Ball Activity
Submitted by:  Amy Ulen
(adapted from a lesson by Brendan Desilets and Susan Weingarten)

Date:  August 1994

Objectives:   Introduce students to Act II, scene 1, lines 188-244. To build motivation for studying the play. To demonstrate that dramatic lines can have varied interpretations.

Materials:  Words on board, lines from the scene on slips of paper, text (Act II, scene 1, lines 188-244), questions to ask students, and ball(s).


  • The class plays a game of sound ball using the following words: slay, hard-hearted, entice, fair, spaniel, beat, fawn, love, strike, neglect, lose, unworthy, follow, beg, respect, dog, tempt, hatred, spirit, and sick.
  • Very briefly, tell the story of the lovers up to this point in the play.
  • The teacher will then distribute key lines from the scene to the students.
    • I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
    • Where is Lysander and fair Hermia?
    • The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me.
    • Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
    • Do I entice you? do I speak you fair?
    • I do not, nor I cannot love you?
    • I am your spaniel
    • Use me but as your spaniel
    • spurn me, strike me, neglect me, lose me;
    • What worser place can I beg in your love than to be used as you use your dog?
    • Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit;
    • For I am sick when I do look on thee.
    • And I am sick when I look not on you.
    • You do impeach your modesty too much,
    • Into the hands of one that loves you not;
    • Your virtue is my privilege.
    • I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,
    • And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
    • The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
    • I shall do thee mischief in the wood.
    • Fie, Demetrius!
    • Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex:
    • We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
    • We should be wooed and were not made to woo.
    • I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
    • To die upon the hand I love so well.
  • In three minutes or so, students will learn their lines well enough to be independent of the paper.
  • The teacher chooses a student and asks the student to say the assigned line. The teacher gives the speaker a ball.
  • The teacher asks the student a question that might lead to a different interpretation of the line.
  • The teacher asks the student to say the line again.
  • Repeat the previous two steps two times.
  • The student chooses the next speaker by throwing the ball to him or her while saying the line.
  • After each student has a turn, the class will split into groups of four and put the scene (2.1.188-244) on its feet (one pair feeds-in the lines).
  • After each pair has a turn, the teacher will ask for volunteers to show their scenes.
  • Discuss the different interpretations of the lines/scene.
  • Each student will then choose a favorite line and present it to the class.
  • In their journals, the students will write a letter to either Demetrius or Helena about his or her behavior toward the other person.



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