Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Vengeance and Forgiveness
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will discuss the various acts of betrayal (focusing on embarrassing and very public scenarios) one can experience and argue over the philosophical question of when vengeance and when forgiveness is appropriate for the victim of betrayal. This philosophical question will be presented and explored in a pre-lesson reading task (an 1825 article written by Francis Bacon). The lesson will build upon Bacon's philosophical arguments on revenge and vengeance and apply them to real-life situations. Some colloquial expressions (concerning vengeance and forgiveness) will also be introduced and taught. These in-class discussions will prepare Ss for a productive activity, during which groups will role-play what they consider as 'unforgivable' scenarios. This activity will be completed in the proceeding lesson.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice on the topic of vengeance and forgiveness, and how one would respond and react to different scenarios of betrayal

Subsidiary Aims

  • To introduce Ss to some phrases and expressions that are commonly used when communicating and expressing emotions related to vengeance and forgiveness


Warmer/Lead-in (16-19 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Elicit from the Ss if anyone is familiar with the old tv show 'America's Funniest Home Videos' (AFV)--or a Turkish equivalent. Describe if no one is familiar. Show the WC a compilation of embarassing home videos--introduce the videos as 'a collection of embarrassing scenarios that include various forms of physical accidents.' Have the WC respond to the videos. "What is so embarrassing about these videos? How would you feel if you experienced what the people experienced in these home videos?" Funniest Security Camera Moments of All Time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2Ionf4E7iw Ask the WC some warmer questions: --"What behaviors or actions are embarrassing to you?" "What embarrasses you in general?" --"What would you consider as the most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to you?" --"Have you (or any of your family members or friends) ever been really embarrassed in public? Was it your fault or did someone else embarrass you? What happened? How did you feel? What did you do afterwards?"

Exposure (15-18 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Write on the WB "SCANDAL IN CHURCH." Describe to the Ss an embarrassing scenario for a priest. Provide the context that this is a story taken from a newspaper article. "A married vicar (a type of priest) left his job after having an affair with the wife of a local doctor. Dr. Mark Lucas interrupted the Reverend David Hughes during a church service to call him 'a liar, a cheat, and a shameless adulterer' after finding letters from Reverend Hughes to his wife." Elicit from the WC what they think happened next in church and what they think happened after the church service was over? "Does anyone think Dr. Lucas and Rev. Hughes got into a physical fight? Why (or why not)? How would you feel if you were Dr. Lucas? What would you do (or want to do) to Rev. Hughes?" Divide the WC into groups and distribute the second half of the story. Instruct the groups to read what happened next and answer the following question: "Did Dr. Lucas go to the church so that he could embarrass Rev. Hughes?" Following reading and discussion, bring the groups together for WC FB and to answer some follow-up questions. --"How do you feel about what the different people did--Dr. Lucas, Mrs. Lucas, Rev. Hughes, and Mrs. Hughes? Did they react to the situation and behave well, badly, or just like normal people? How would normal people behave in a situation like this?" --"What would you have done if you were one of the 'churchgoers' attending service that day?" --"What would you have done if you were the vicar's wife? Would you have left him or stood by your man?" --"Can you think of any other real life situations (involving famous people and affairs) during which the cheated upon partner stayed (or left)?"

Useful Language: Expressions in Red (7-9 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB "RED." Write beneath the heading the following: "paint the town red; go red; be caught red-handed; see red." "When talking about 'revenge' and 'vengeance,' there are some common expressions that we use in English with the word 'red' in them." Try to elicit from the WC what they think these expressions on the WB might mean. Distribute the HO on 'Expressions In Red' and instruct the groups to complete the following sentences with the appropriate 'red' phrases. Bring the WC together for answer key FB and any general comments on these colloquial expressions.

Productive Task: Vengeance Is Mine (18-23 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Refer Ss to the pre-reading task (Francis Bacon's article on revenge). "What does Francis Bacon think about 'revenge'?" --"Does Francis Bacon think that there is an appropriate time for 'vengeance' (an act of revenge)? When does he think it is appropriate to get one's revenge on someone else?" --"Does Francis Bacon think that vengeance can sometimes hurt the victim of betrayal (the person inflicting the revenge)? How so?" --"What does Francis Bacon think about human nature? Does he think it is natural, or unnatural, for people to betray, harm, and offend one another?" --"Do you agree or disagree with Francis Bacon's philosophy on revenge and vengeance?" Write on the WB "VENGEANCE AND FORGIVENESS." Elicit from the WC who considers themselves 'vengeful' and who considers themselves forgiving. Reference back to the vicar affair story and the Ss' responses to that scenario. Reorganize the WC into different groups and instruct the Ss that you are going to find out how vengeful each Ss is in the class. "I have a list of 5 situations and some ideas on how one could get revenge on someone. Decide in your groups how you would react to the following situations and what might you do to 'get revenge' on the individuals involved." Allow for GW discussion. Bring the WC together for FB and response from the different groups.

Productive Task: Turning the Other Cheek (5-7 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Write under the WB heading the following situations: 1) Cheated them out of money? 2) Spread rumors about them? 3) Stole from them? 4) Was unfaithful to them (had an affair)? Direct the WC to the situations on the WB. "Do you know anyone who has forgiven a person that did one of these things to them? What about you? Would you forgive the person in the situations on the WB?"

Useful Language: Expressions of Forgiveness (7-10 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB "EXPRESSIONS OF FORGIVENESS" and directly underneath: "forgive and forget; water under the bridge; turn the other cheek; bury the hatchet (a kind of axe); hold a grudge; got a chip on his/her shoulder." Try to elicit from the WC the definitions for these colloquial expressions. Distribute the HO on 'Expressions of Forgiveness' to the groups and have them quickly complete the HO sentences with the expressions on the WB. Elicit the answer key from the groups during WC FB.

Productive Task: Forgive and Forget (9-12 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

In the same groups, provide the Ss with a list of 10 'Unforgivable Situations.' Instruct the Ss to consider these scenarios and think about how they would react to them. "Decide in which of these scenarios would you forgive the people involved. Are there any scenarios in which you would not 'forgive and forget'? Discuss with your group and explain to your fellow peers why those specific scenarios might be 'unforgivable' to you." Bring the WC together for FB and general response from the other groups.

Productive Task: Unforgivable Situations (7-12 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills and prepare for a productive activity in the proceeding lesson

Instruct the Ss that in groups, next week, they are going to film a role-play activity. This role-play will focus on scenarios of betrayal that the group considers as an unforgivable situation under any circumstance. Productive Activity Parameters: Groups can be a minimum of 2 Ss--to a maximum of 4 Ss. You can use any of the scenarios we discussed in class today; or you can come up with your own scenario. Think about revenge and vengeance as well. You could also role-play what the individuals involved would do to 'get revenge.' Each person needs to speak for about 2-2.5 minutes. A role-play for a group of 2 should last between 4-5 minutes--for a group of 4, between 8-10 minutes. Groups must email their role-play video to the T by Friday (05/05) at 5pm. Allow time for Ss to select their group members and decide upon their role-play scenario.

Web site designed by: Nikue