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OCR A2 F663 Drama and Poetry Pre-1800 | Conclusion

Paul Merrell | Sunday October 16, 2011

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Guide Navigation

1. Introduction
2. Section A: Shakespeare
3. Section B: Drama and Poetry
4. Exemplars
5. Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide will have given you a starting point on how to prepare your students for this very difficult examination.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a focus upon the assessment objectives. If the pupils are aware constantly of how they are going to be assessed, they have the best chance of achieving a good mark.

With a few weeks to go before study leave, our lessons become exclusively about writing as many practice paragraphs as possible – on as many different questions as we can come up with.

Pupils become fixated on being taught more information – it is up to you to make sure that they are able to make use of the information they have.

This examination is all about selecting from the huge amount you have given them over the year – and they need to practise – rigorously – until they can write essays that consistently address the AOs.

Shakespeare’s Language

The language in Shakespeare’s texts is quite distinctive:

  • It consists of a mixture of prose and verse
  • The verse often contains sentences whose length and syntax make them difficult to follow
  • Much of the language contains a lot of figurative language and imagery
  • The scripts were written 400 years ago, since which time language has undergone considerable change, affecting the meanings and uses of words and grammar.

Shakespeare’s Verse

The basic, regular five-beat unit of the verse is called a pentameter (penta = 5; meter = repeating verse units) and because its usual pattern is to alternate unstressed and stressed syllables (a pattern known as an iamb) we have the verse written in iambic pentameter.

Usually blank verse = not rhyming

Fits the natural rhythms of speech.

e.g. I’m going to watch the football match tonight
I’m going to the pub – d’you want to come?
No thanks, I’ve got a lot of work to do…, etc...


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