Tales of Love & Marriage

In this unit, we will be examining the ways in which authors have tackled the subject of marriage in the medieval, renaissance, and regency periods.  Each author has used the subject as a commentary of his/her time, but how does it relate to ours? Have our ideas of marriage changed since the medieval period?  What is the role of a man and a woman in marriage?  What social issues are related to marriage?

Essential Questions

  • How do writers create texts to explore the social and political issues of their time?
  • What roles do satire and irony play in societal critique?
  • How do authors and artists reveal their attitudes toward their subject matter?
  • What parallels can we draw between these societies and ours?


  • The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (General Prologue, Wife of Bath’s Tale, Miller’s Tale, Reeve’s Tale, Pardoner’s Tale, Franklin’s Tale, Shipman’s Tale, Nun’s Priest Tale)
  • Chevrefoil, Marie de France
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
  • Selected Poems including “Alisoun” Middle English lyric

Wed 3/13
What are your ideas about love and marriage?  What do you envision for your life?  Where do these ideas come from?

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

Intro to the unit and medieval period

  • What are your expectations of reading a piece of literature from the medieval period?
  • What does the artwork of the time reflect

Courtly love and chivalry

HW:  Intro to Chaucer–Watch the following video about Chaucer and the tales and take notes on the following:

  • Chaucer’s life and time period
  • Information about The Canterbury Tales.
  • 0-10.19
  • 14.28-17.53

Thurs 3/15

Living Poet Presentations

What do you know about Chaucer?

Fri 3/15

What do you know about Chaucer and the time period?

Reading the General Prologue
Here we meet all of the pilgrims as well as a definite speaker.  Use the handout to keep track of everyone.   As you read the first three stanzas together (volunteers anyone?), take note of the following:

  • What stands out to you?
  • How would you describe the speaker?

HW:  Finish reading the prologue and information about the pilgrims on the document

Mon 3/18

Creating the Pilgrim Portrait

Your group is responsible for creating a visual portrait of your assigned pilgrim(s) so that we understand the characters telling these tales. In order to create a true visual representation of your figure, you will need to use the details that Chaucer provides.

  • Physical appearance including dress
  • Consider how personality traits would be represented visually
  • Any objects that might be important to them or that they would have with them on their pilgrimage

HW: “The Knight’s Tale” Parts I and II (p. 26-53)

  • How is this tale appropriate for the Knight to tell?
  • What does this tale illuminate about the tradition of courtly love?

Tues 3/19

Meeting and reviewing the pilgrims

  • Knight, Squire, Yeoman
  • Prioress, 2nd Nun, and 3 priests
  • Monk
  • Friar
  • Merchant
  • Franklin
  • Shipman
  • Wife of Bath
  • Parson
  • Miller
  • Reeve
  • Wife of Bath
  • Chaucer the Pilgrim
  • The Host

HW:  Study for Pilgrim quiz (multiple choice, matching quotes from Prologue to character) for Thursday

Wed 3/20

Finish meeting and reviewing the pilgrims

Finish reading Parts III&IV “The Knight’s Tale”

HW: study for pilgrim quiz

Thurs 3/21

Pilgrim Quiz

Discussing “The Knight’s Tale”

  • Knight’s Tale Questions handout

Fri 3/22


Mon 3/23

“Miller’s Tale”

“Nun’s Priest Tale”

Understanding Satire in The Canterbury Tales

Reading “The Nun’s Priest Tale”

  • How does the satirize courtly love?
  • What is Chaucer’s purpose?
  • What rhetorical devices and structure does Chaucer use?

NP Criticism and answering NP Tale questions

Fri 3/22


Mon 3/25
Miller’s Tale

Tues 3/26

Intro to Wife of Bath

HW: Finish reading and annotation WoB Prologue and Tale

Wed 3/27
Wife of Bath Tale Discussion

Thurs 3/28
Groups for assigned readings:

  • Merchant
  • Franklin
  • Clerk

Fri 3/29
Peer presentations of assigned tales

HW:  Reading

Mon 4/1
Twelfth Night

Tues 4/2
Twelfth Night field trip

  • What were some of the choices that they made?  How did they stage it?

Character chart

Acting Exercises Act 1 Scene 2

Wed 4/3

Thurs 4/4
Twelfth Night 

Fri 4/5 
Reviewing the Tales for next week’s writing

Mon 4/8
Tales Response

Tues 4/9
Twelfth Night Response

Wed 4/10
Intro to The Taming of the Shrew.  

What is a shrew?

10 Things I Hate About You

  • Character descriptions
  • Plot

Thurs 4/11
10 Things I Hate About You

  • Character descriptions
  • Plot

Fri 4/12
10 Things I Hate About You

  • Character descriptions
  • Plot

Mon 4/22

Tues 4/23
Summarizing the induction (play within a play)

Beginning a reading of Act 1 Scene 1

HW:  Finish reading Act 1 and create a character diagram that shows the relationships between characters

Wed 4/24
Reading Act 2

What are the plans?

  • Gremio & Hortensio
  • Lucentio & Tranio

What type of lovers are these?

Read the first page of the packet with Petruchio’s speech.  Scan the speech for stressed and unstressed syllables.  You can use dictionary.com to help you (bold=stressed).

  • Understanding character by rhythm
  • Understanding the verbal sparring in Act 2 Scene 1

HW:  Finish reading Act 2

Thurs 4/25
Act 3 – consider how you would stage Kate and Petruchio

Watching Act 3 & the beginning of the taming of Kate

  • The start of the taming process
  • Key quotes for Kate and Petruchio (not only what they say but also what others say about them)

Staging Kate and Petruchio

Fri 4/26
Reading Act 4 in Groups

HW:  Finish reading and answering questions

Mon 4/29
Select scenes of the taming of Kate

  • Moving tableaux
  • What is her state here?

HW:  Read Act 5

Tues 4/30
Finishing the performances of Kate’s taming

Kate’s final speech assignment & final weeks assignment

Wed 5/1
Multiple Choice Practice

Interpretations of Hamlet

Adrian Lester

David Tennant

Andrew Scott

Laurence Olivier

Work day for Kate’s final speech and short reflection

Thurs 5/2

Fri 5/3
Multiple Choice Practice

Mini workouts on texts

Mon 5/6
Multiple Choice Practice

How to write the three essays

Tues 5/7
Multiple Choice Practice

Work day for final assignments

Wed 5/7
AP Lit Test!

Thurs 5/8
Poetry assignment due next Friday

Work day for final assignments – Kate & poetry

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