Romeo and Juliet Written about 1595 The play’s most direct source is a poem by Arthur Brooke, which in turn was based on a popular Italian story. Considered a tragedy Set in Verona, Italy
Interesting Bits The much-misunderstood line “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” (2.2) means “Why are you Romeo?” not “Where are you, Romeo?” West Side Story (Movie) based on R&J In Verona, Italy, one can visit the Juliet’s fake balcony, touch the right breast of her statue for luck, and write love graffiti on the wall
What’s the play about? Romeo and Juliet is about love, of course, but it is about a particular kind of love: love that extinguishes itself.
This story is fixated on the idea of opposites, contradictions, and opposing pairs, and the focus throughout is on things that consume each other in a flash.
This tragedy has less to do with the results of the choices the principles make than it does with the PREORDAINED FAILURE OF YOUTHFUL PASSION—the passion of both awakening physical love and the sudden violence of a street quarrel.
We know that the lovers will die by the sixth line of this play. RJ relies heavily on notions of fate, destiny, and accident.
Look for ongoing references to light/darkness, explosions and flashes, stars, fate.
Romeo -Is a Montague -18 years old -Cute, smart, sensitive -Impulsive and immature -Romantic heart -EMO -He doesn’t care about the feud
Lady Montague Romeo’s Mom Dies of grief for love of her son
Lord Montague Romeo’s dad Worries about Romeo’s sadness Patriarch (head man) of the Montagues Loves his son
Balthasar Romeo’s servant He goes to tell Romeo that Juliet is dead (he doesn’t know that it is a fake death)
Abraham or Abram Lord Montague’s servant Fights Sampson and Gregory in the beginning
Benvolio Romeo’s cousin & friend Tries to break-up fights. Keep the peace. Counsels Romeo about love and make him feel better.
Mercutio Related to the prince Good friends W/ Romeo Bad temper Doesn’t like emotional people Believes love is about the physical contact and nothing else.
Juliet -is a Capulet, 13 yrs old Begins as a naïve child, She doesn’t have as much freedom as Romeo b/c she is a girl SO she sneaks around to see Romeo She totally trusts Romeo Juliet is very close with the nurse.
Lord Capulet Juliet’s dad He truly loves Juliet, but does not know her feelings and dreams Bad temper when things don’t go his way He commands respect and propriety Patriarch of the Capulets
Lady Capulet Juliet’s mom Ineffectual mother- relies on the nurse to “mother” Juliet She married young, had Juliet around age 14, and is eager for her to marry Paris
Nurse Has cared for Juliet since she was born Vulgar, long-winded, loyal and a confidante to Juliet At end though, they have a falling-out over Romeo
Gregory & Sampson Servants to the Capulets Start a fight w/ Montagues at the beginning of the play
Tybalt Juliet’s cousin Vain, fashionable, very into proper etiquette, prideful He is well-trained in sword fighting and someone to fear He loathes Montagues “Cat”
Prince Escalus Prince of Verona He is concerned with maintaining public peace Related to Mercutio and Paris
Paris Related to the prince Preferred by the Capulets to marry Juliet He treats Juliet inappropriately after Capulet says he can marry her.
Rosaline The woman who Romeo is obsessed with at the beginning of the play.
The Apothecary “a pharmacist” He sells the poison to Romeo. Values money more than morals
Friar Lawrence Friend to Romeo and Juliet Kind, civic-minded Secretly marries R & J in hopes that their marriage will end the feud. He is a Catholic holy man and also familiar with potions and herbs.
Friar John A Catholic holy man asked to tell Romeo about Juliet's false death. He is held up in a quarantined house and so never gets the message to Romeo.
How we will dramatize the play… Any person of any gender can read any role. There are no Elizabethans around to tell us how to say the words, so readers do not need to worry about pronunciation too much; rather, they should do the best they can. Readers do not need to act, but they do need to read with inflection.
Each time we read you will be reading with a focus: Director: –Summarizes: Who are these guys? –What’s going on here? How do you know? Stage Manager: –Visualizes and explains: what does the action on the stage look like? –Where and how does the motif of light/dark appear? Acting Coach: –Interpret characterization via literary devices (simile, metaphor, puns, etc.)
Literary Analysis: –the study or examination of a literary work or author. Literary Devices: –figures of speech or tools a writer uses to add layers of meaning to the text
Tragedy (Shakespearean) Shakespeare's tragic works are similar enough to the Aristotelian model that it is a useful point of reference for these "aspects": 1. A faulty or corrupt society, or at least some particular characters who are decidedly more wicked than the tragic hero. 2. A tragic hero: by Aristotle's definition, a man who is neither completely evil nor good, but somewhere in between. The audience will usually identify or sympathize with the tragic hero, instinctively. 3. Hamartia on the part of the tragic hero. Aristotle's term means "mistake," but we really have to divide the concept into two things:
Tragedy (Shakespearean) (a) a chronic shortcoming in character, often called a "tragic flaw." In Shakespeare, this often takes the form of metaphorical "blindness" or defective imagination: it is usually related, paradoxically, to the tragic hero's ideals of some sort; and it leads him into metaphorical "madness" (usually referred to explicitly) which is barely distinguishable (if at all) from real madness. A particular result of this idealism/madness is that the hero will imagine the people around him as worse than they are, often resorting to animal imagery in his language; and ironically he becomes more "corrupt" or dangerous than the social corruption he deplores. (b) a specific mistaken act, related to or caused by the "flaw."
Comic Relief the inclusion of a humorous character, scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension In R & J, look for moments of comic relief that help “relieve” the tragedy of the situation
Dramatic Foil a character that contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) and so highlights various facets of the main character's personality A character whose purpose is to show off another character –Benvolio for Tybalt look for others in RJ
Prose Ordinary writing that is not poetry, drama, or song –Only characters in the lower social classes speak this way in Shakespeare’s plays –Why do you suppose that is?
Blank Verse a type of poetry, distinguished by having a regular meter, but no rhyme Much of R & J is written in it: –unrhymed verse –iambic (unstressed, stressed) –pentameter( 5 “feet” to a line) ends up to be 10 syllable lines
Iambic Pentameter iambic pentameter- describes a particular rhythm that the words established in each line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called "feet". The word "iambic" describes the type of foot that is used. The word "pentameter" indicates that a line has five of these "feet".
Couplet Two lines that rhyme in any poem or blank verse. Always concludes a sonnet.
Monologue an extended uninterrupted speech by a character in a drama. The character may be speaking his or her thoughts aloud, directly addressing another character, or speaking to the audience One person speaking on stage > may be other character on stage too –ex > the Prince of Verona commanding the Capulets and Montagues to cease feuding
Aside aside—a line “quietly” spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage
Direct Address Words that tell the reader who is being addressed: “A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.” “Ah, my mistresses, which of you all/ Will now deny to dance?”
Puns pun—a joke based on the use of a word, or more than one word, that has more than one meaning but the same sound. Mercutio—"Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance." Romeo—"Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes / With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead…“ (I iv 13-5) Romeo has used the word "sole" when referring to Mercutio's shoes, then made a pun by referring to his own "soul."
Motif motif—a recurrent thematic element in a literary or artistic work Motifs in Romeo and Juliet are: 1.opposites, contradictions, and opposing pairs 2.light and dark imagery / day and night 3.time
Light and Dark Look for references to light and dark: References to “light” words, such as “torches,” “the sun,” adjectives that describe light (“bright”) References to “dark” words, such as “night” and “gloom”
Time Look for references to time: References to “time” words, such as “hours” References to the passage of time, especially if it seems “rushed”
Foreshadowing foreshadowing—a literary device in which an author drops subtle hints about plot developments to come later in the story “O God, I have an ill-divining soul! Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb”
Simile simile—a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, using a word such as like, as, than, or resembles “Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books”
Metaphor metaphor—a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things without the use of specific words of comparison “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs” Romeo – “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? / It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” (Act II Sc. 2)
Personification personification—a figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes “o, happy dagger” “The all-seeing sun ne’er saw her match since first the world began.” Juliet— “For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night / Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back. / Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night” (Act III Sc. 2)
Oxymorons oxymoron—a figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase “honorable villain, fiend angelical” Juliet – “Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!” (Act III Sc.2)
Paradoxes paradox—a statement or situation with seemingly contradictory or incompatible components. On closer examination, however, the combination of these components is indeed appropriate. Juliet—"O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!" (III ii 75) While Juliet knows that Romeo is not a serpent nor does he have a face full of flowers, her use of these descriptions show how paradoxically he is her lover and the murderer of her cousin at the same time.
Dramatic Irony A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader/audience knows to be true when words and actions possess a significance that the listener or audience understands, but the speaker or character does not
Verbal Irony Words used to suggest the opposite of what is meant when a speaker says one thing but means another, or when a literal meaning is contrary to its intended effect. An example of this is sarcasm.
Situational Irony An event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience When the result of an action is contrary to the desired or expected effect. Likewise, cosmic irony is disparity between human desires and the harsh realities of the outside world (or the whims of the gods) Alanis Morissette videoAlanis Morissette Bo Burnham video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Voscb QA3lM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Voscb QA3lM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Voscb QA3lMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Voscb QA3lM
Soliloquy soliloquy—a speech by a character, thinking aloud; it allows the audience to “listen in” to the private feelings and thoughts of a character (no other character is present on the stage) Juliet’s speech before she swallows the sleeping potion.
Apostrophe apostrophe—a technique by which the writer (character) addresses an inanimate object, an idea, or a person who is either dead or absent “Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace!”