Video:How to Read Shakespeare Aloudwith Milo De Prieto
Shakespeare's plays were meant to be read aloud, and many scholars believe Shakespeare left specific clues to actors in his text. Learn some tips for reading Shakespeare aloud in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Read Shakespeare Aloud
Hello, I'm Milo for About.com, and today we are talking about how to read Shakespeare aloud.
Reading Shakespeare Out Loud
Full of imagery and evoking emotion and passion, Shakespeare's texts were intended to be read aloud. To begin with the texts are rich with pastoral scenes related to the landscape in which each piece is set. The reason for this is that Elizabethan theater did not have much scenery, decorations, or props on stage.
Start by skimming the text, getting a good idea of what the setting is like and answer some basic questions: What is the weather like, what time of day is it, What is the character of the landscape. This type of information will give you important clues as to what the mood needs to be.
Indentify Words and Their Meaning
As you scan the text, identify unfamiliar words and look up their meaning and pronunciation. Even though it may not be necessary to know the meaning of each and every word to read the text aloud, knowing what they mean will give you further information as to the feel and gist of the entire passage, and also so you don't miss the nuances and twists that Shakespeare is famous for.
Use Shakespeare's Punctuation for Clues
As a general rule do not pause unless you are indicated to do so by punctuation. Carry the sense of what you are saying until the punctuation indicates a change. Don't forget to use the meter of the rhyme as a guide when reading Shakespeare. Punctuation and spelling were in flux in Shakespeare's time. Different versions of his plays may vary greatly. Most people use modern spelling and pronunciation, but older copies of the plays have wild punctuation that can clue you into how actors interpreted it.
Some scholars believe that Shakespeare used punctuation very deliberately to show the actors how to read his texts. This may not be true and you should be aware of editions that may have been designed to be read and editions that may have been edited for performance. Here are some general clues, take them as guides as no one is absolutely sure about them:
- (.) a period - brings the line to a close. Take a deep breath and continue.
- (,) infrequent commas - indicate a short pause and perhaps a change in the way the character is thinking.
- (,) a repeated comma - If you see a lot of commas together, evenly spaced throughout the line, this means that you need to put emotion into this line.
- (:) a colon - indicates that the line that follows should answer the previous one.
- (-) a dash - you must quickly continue onto the next line
- (?) a question mark - is asking you to raise your voice at the end of the line.
Read with emotion and give each character a different voice. Don't be shy and act the text out! Be creative! As a final resort you may want to cheat by watching a reknown version of the play or piece you are reading to see how others interpreted it.
For more excellent and helpful information on Shakespeare's work, world, and influence check us out at About dot com.