English Literature KS3 / GCSE: Shakespeare's comedy

This clip focuses on the different types of comedy found throughout Shakespeare – even in the darkest of tragedies.

Mercutio’s comic innuendo in Romeo and Juliet brings light relief and humanity within the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Beatrice and Benedick's witty arguments drive both their relationship and the plot of Much Ado about Nothing, whilst the drunken slapstick antics of the characters in The Tempest make us laugh at them and ourselves.

This clip is from the series Shakespeare Themes.

Teacher Notes

Look at the role of the 'clown' in theatre. Discuss costume and make up, and the different incarnations of the clown: Court jester, children's entertainer, mime artist, circus performer, stand up comedian.

What are the different qualities that each type of performer requires? Consider visual elements, props, physical movements (slapstick) vs verbal skill.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English Literature at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also 3rd and 4th level in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC, CCEA and SQA.