OER Administrator
English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Shakespeare
  • Technology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Close Reading Of Prospero's Lines

    Close Reading Of Prospero's Lines


    In this lesson, students will begin by reviewing the play so far and then meet again in groups to read act 4. They’ll do a close reading of Prospero’s lines and take on the perspectives of different characters to comment on his meaning. For homework, students will continue planning their essays.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • As the class continues reading The Tempest , determine which students need support, such as a reading partner or a Guided Reading Group.
    • Help students locate copies of the Independent Reading texts.

    Acts 1?3

    • This activity should not take long.
    • Discuss as a class after students discuss in their reading groups.
    • Clear up any misconceptions students have about the plotline or characters.
    • If necessary, work with students to update the Characters in The Tempest chart.


    With your reading group, briefly review the action of the play so far. Account for the whereabouts of the following groups or individuals at the end of act 3.

    • Prospero
    • Miranda and Ferdinand
    • Ariel
    • Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo
    • Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, and other men from the ship

    Act 4

    • Before students begin reading, explain that in act 4, Prospero uses his magic to provide spirits to delight Ferdinand and Miranda. Then he remembers how Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo were plotting to kill him, so he uses Ariel to lure the three into his cell and then sets dogs on them to chase them away.
    • Circulate through the room to assist and encourage students.
      • SWD: Be sure that all SWDs are engaging in the activity successfully. If you find that some students need support, consider grouping those who need extra help and working with them in a small group or one-on-one.
    • Take note of which students are struggling and need additional support.

    Work Time

    Read and annotate act 4 with your group.

    Choose from the following options to decide how your group wants to proceed.

    • Take turns, changing the reader periodically.
    • Have one or two able readers read for your group.
    • Pause your reading periodically to discuss what happened.

    Keep your voices soft so as not to bother the other groups.

    Act 4 Summary

    • As the small groups are sharing, circulate through the room to listen, assist, and encourage.
      • ELL: Encourage students to use the academic vocabulary in their own sentences as a way to apply the academic vocabulary as well as respond to the questions. If some ELLs need it, consider providing sentence frames to help scaffold the activity.

    Work Time

    Work with your group to summarize the action of act 4. Record answers to the following questions. Each person in the group is responsible for recording answers.

    • What requirements did Prospero insist on when he agreed to allow Miranda to marry Ferdinand?
    • What new task is Ariel given?
    • What is the function of the singing sprites and nymphs?
    • How does Prospero explain the singing sprites and nymphs?
    • What trap does Prospero set for Caliban, Sebastian, and Trinculo?

    Open Notebook

    Prospero?s Speech

    • Read aloud Prospero’s speech, act 4, scene 1, lines 136–148, beginning with “You do look, my son, …” and ending with “Is rounded with a sleep.”
    • Call on one or two students to read the lines aloud.
    • Go over any vocabulary students need help with.

    Work Time

    After Prospero has called forth spirits (Ceres, Iris, Juno, and the rest) to entertain Ferdinand and Miranda, he quickly dismisses them and speaks to Ferdinand.

    • Listen as your teacher reads lines 136–148 and calls on several students to read them aloud also.
    • Ask about any vocabulary words you don’t know.

    Response to Prospero?s Speech

    • Before students discuss with their small groups or in the whole group setting, give them time to play with attitudes and ideas of the different characters.
    • A sample annotation of Prospero’s speech is provided.

    Work Time

    Taking the perspective of one of the characters, write a brief response to each of the following prompts.

    • Prospero wants to cheer up Ferdinand.
    • The “revels now are ended.”
    • What Ferdinand saw—“this vision, / The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, / The solemn temples, the great globe itself.”

    Open Notebook

    Share your responses with your group. Use the following questions to help prepare for a Whole Group Share about these lines.

    • Prospero indicates that Ferdinand is upset. What upsets him?
    • What “revels” are ended?
    • Prospero uses similes to compare the disappearance of the visions to the world around them. Explain the comparisons.
    • When he says “We,” whom does Prospero mean?

    Response to Prospero?s Speech

    • Facilitate a Whole Group Share about Prospero’s speech.


    Talk with the whole class about the lines from Prospero’s speech and their meaning.

    • Prospero indicates that Ferdinand is upset. What upsets him?
    • What “revels” are ended?
    • Prospero uses similes to compare the disappearance of the visions to the world around them. Explain the comparisons.
    • When he says “We,” whom does Prospero mean?

    Who Is Civilized? Essay

    • For students who need support, suggest they use the “Who Is Civilized?” Essay Planning Sheet to help them organize their thoughts.
    • Remind students to choose and locate an Independent Reading text before Lesson 12.


    Act 5 will give some resolution to the issues in the play. Before reading it during Lesson 8, continue to plan for your essay using these broad questions.

    • Who is civilized?
    • Who decides what civilization is or how it’s defined?
    • How do we behave toward and acknowledge those whose culture is different from our own?

    What has changed in act 4 for the following issues?

    • Freedom versus slavery
    • Civilized behavior versus barbaric behavior
    • Revenge versus forgiveness
    • Power versus weakness

    Share some of the lines you would cite to support your ideas about who in the play is civilized.