Julius Caesar Play and the Five Act Structure
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: The Five Act Play (Dramatic Structure)Common Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
Students can create and show a storyboard that captures the concept of the Five Act Structure by making a six-cell storyboard, like the one below. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the acts in order: Prologue, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.
Example Julius Caesar Five Act Structure
Act 1: Prologue
The play takes place in Rome, Italy.
Caesar returns from battling a former Roman general. He is victorious, and the citizens are celebrating in his honor. Not all Romans are pleased with Caesar though; they fear him, and believe that he is on the path to becoming a dictator.
Act 1: Conflict
A group of senators have turned against Caesar and elicit Brutus, one of Caesar’s friends, to join a conspiracy against him.
Act 2: Rising Action
Brutus considers whether or not to trust Caesar. He eventually joins the conspiracy because he fears what Caesar may become, if he is made King. He states it is not that he loves Caesar less, but that he loves Rome more.
Act 3: Climax
The conspirators lure Caesar to the capital and kill him.
Act 4: Falling Action
Brutus asks Antony to stand support his actions by speaking to the crowd. Antony is supposed to agree with the conspirators, but he backhandedly causes a riot, forcing the conspirators to flee the city.
Act 5: Denouement
Antony forms an alliance with two other powerful Romans. They vow revenge for Caesar’s death. He, Caesar's nephew Octavius, and Lepidus go after the conspirators in battle. Eventually, all the conspirators commit suicide, and Antony proclaims that Brutus shall receive a hero's burial.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of Julius Caesar.
- Separate the play into the Prologue/Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the acts.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
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