Faculty Center Electronic Workbook

Drawbridge Exercise

Begin the activity by dividing the class into small groups. Ask the students to read the following story or read aloud:

As he left for a visit to his outlying districts, the jealous baron warned his pretty wife: “Do not leave the castle while I am gone, or I will punish you severely when I return!”

But as the hours passed, the young baroness grew lonely, and despite her husband's warning, decided to visit her lover, who lived in the countryside nearby. The castle was located on an island in a wide, fast-flowing river, with a drawbridge linking the island and the land at the narrowest point in the river.

“Surely my husband will not return before dawn,” she thought, and she ordered her servants to lower the drawbridge and leave it down until she returned.

After spending several pleasant hours with her lover, the baroness returned to the drawbridge, only to find it blocked by a madman wildly waving a long, cruel knife.

“Do not attempt to cross this bridge, baroness, or I will kill you,” he raved.

Fearing for her life, the baroness returned to her lover and asked him to help.

“Our relationship is only a romantic one,” he said. “I will not help.”

The baroness then sought out a boatman on the river, explained her plight to him, and asked him to take her across the river in his boat.

“I will do it, but only if you can pay my fee of five marks.”

“But I have no money with me!” the baroness protested.

“That is too bad. No money, no ride,” the boatman said flatly.

Her fears growing, the baroness ran crying to the home of a friend, and after again explaining the situation, she begged for enough money to pay the boatman his fee.

“If you had not disobeyed your husband, this would not have happened,” the friend said. “I will give you no money.”

With dawn approaching, and her last resource exhausted, the baroness returned to the bridge in desperation, attempted to cross to the castle, and was slain by the madman.


Directions: In the preceding story there are six characters. Here they are in alphabetical order:

____ Baron
____ Baroness
____ Boatman
____ Friend
____ Lover
____ Madman

Using the list above, rank each character according to how responsible he or she was for the baroness's death. Rank the characters from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most responsible and 6 being the least responsible. Now, work with the other members of a group, and decide as a group on a rank order for the six characters.