Drama- Fate
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Are we governed by fate or free will?

This unit uses two classic tragedies to address a new literary form for the grade level: the drama.
  • Students read Antigone OR Oedipus the King, learning about the classic form of the Greek tragedy.
  • Students examine Aristotle's Poetics and his definition of tragedy to deepen their understanding of tragedy. They read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and compare and contrast the ways in which the play treats the the related theme of fate versus free will.
  • Building on the poetry unit, students also will consider Shakespeare's use of rhythm, punctuation, and imagery and the ways in which they help convey the motives, thoughts, and feelings of the characters.
  • This unit will confirm students' shared understanding of the elements of drama, preparing them for the study of other dramatic works throughout high school.

Common Core Standards

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.
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.
RL.9-10.9. Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
RI.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
SL.9-10.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
L.9-10.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L.9-10.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Suggested Student Objectives

  • Identify and explain the elements of drama in general, and in Greek drama in particular
  • Explain the structure of the plot(s) and describe the dramatic technique the playwright uses to advance them
  • Trace the development of major and minor characters and explain how characterization advances the plot or theme
  • Understand Aristotle's definition of tragedy and explain how the other works studied exemplify the term tragedy
  • Analyze the playwright's use of irony
  • Identify the poetic devices used in Romeo and Juliet and explain their effect

Suggested Additional Readings

Resource Links



Post Assessment: Both writers and artists use dramatic techniques to develop a theme. Pick 3 dramatic techniques such as (mood, dramatic irony, characterization, classical allusions, imagery, symbolism, etc.) used either in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, or Sophocles' Oedipus the King, and Caravaggio's The Death of the Virgin. In an informative/explanatory essay, explain how the selected dramatic techniques used both in the drama and the artwork, illustrate the theme.