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It is intended that this shall be a pupil's rather than a teacher's edition-one to aid the pupil in the preparation of his lessons rather than the teacher in the formation of a plan of recitation. It is obvious that if the aids given here, in the introduction, and in "Notes and Questions," be stimulating to the pupil, the teacher may use in class whatever method he desires. Therefore, such notes as are usually slighted by young students, such as those on textual criticism, Shakespeare's grammar, and philological matters, are reduced to a minimum; and two preliminary sketches, one on Shakespeare, the other on Roman life, are given in the introduction, while in the "Notes and Questions" special attention is given to stage settings, to the reading and the acting, to Shakespeare's language, and to the dramatic structure of the play. In addition, the introduction provides a few paragraphs on scansion, and a brief chronology, which may be used as a guide for historical study, if the teacher wishes to include this in his plan. After "Notes and Questions," is found a list of subjects for final discussion.
In spite of many opinions to the contrary, the editor believes that much may be gained if the teacher read the play to the class, or at least the most striking scenes, before any detailed study is assigned. It is to be presumed that the instructor has enthusiasm and spirit in his work, and that he can read as well as his pupils, or better; if so, he can give them a sympathy with the play that they can get in no other way, unless they can see it acted. As the scenes are studied in detail, it is well to have pupils read the best ones again, with parts assigned,
The suggestions for stage settings, given in "Notes and Questions," may be built upon if the class has access to illustrated books dealing with the subject in hand, or to pictures prepared for school use. If the teacher prefer, he can direct the attention of the class to the actual scene rather than to the stage; but it must not be forgotten that the play is a play, and was written by a master hand for the special purpose of public representation. In either case, the suggested pictures will add a lively interest to study and to recitation.
The text used is that of the Clarendon Press Series, and the numbering of lines is the same as in that edition. There are no changes except in the spelling of such words as "labour" and "honourable."
The publishers and the editor will be glad at any time to receive criticism and suggestions.