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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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1 The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

2 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
Does falling in love make the rest of life easier? In Romeo and Juliet, life makes love more complicated than it should be. 2

3 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
The Italian town Verona is beautiful, yet nothing can hide the ugliness of the feud between its two most prominent families. The Montagues and the Capulets hate each other. 3

4 Romeo and Juliet are two crazy kids in love
Romeo and Juliet are two crazy kids in love. They are about 14 years old, and both are from very wealthy families in the town of Verona, Italy. Juliet’s balcony… probably not, but Verona says so!

5 Characters in ROMEO AND JULIET
Romeo - of the house of Montague Juliet - of the house of Capulet Nurse - the woman who raised Juliet (mothers weren’t that involved during Shakespeare’s time!) Tybalt - Juliet’s bad-tempered cousin Benvolio - Romeo’s best friend Mercutio - Romeo’s witty friend Friar Laurence - a priest who is good with medicines

6 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
Even though Prince Escalus has warned the families to avoid each other, Romeo Montague joins friends who are determined to sneak into a party at the Capulet home, where he meets Juliet Capulet. 6

7 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Romeo and Juliet can’t take their eyes off each other. And that’s before their romantic exchange on her balcony. 7

8 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
As happy as the two are together, neither family would be pleased to learn of their sudden love. But the couple has a friend in the local priest—if only Friar Laurence can coax the families toward peace. 8

9 Romeo and Juliet: Introduction
But meanwhile, the feud between the families is getting worse and even leads to a death. Can love overcome the desire for revenge? 9

10 Romeo and Juliet: Background
In Romeo and Juliet a prologue in sonnet form summarizes the play for the audience. Most lines in the play, like the lines of a sonnet, are in iambic pentameter—ten syllables of a steady unaccented/accented pattern. 10

11 Romeo and Juliet: Background
English has changed in the hundreds of years since Shakespeare’s writing. In his day wherefore meant “why” I would often meant “I wish” Hast thou meant “Have you” true shrift meant “true confession” 11

12 Romeo and Juliet: Background
The Elizabethan audience expected a drama to unfold in five predictable segments. Act III Crisis, or turning point Rising action Act IV Act II Falling action Act I Act V Introduction Climactic moment, resolution 12

13 Romeo and Juliet: Discussion Starters
During the 1300s in Verona, Italy—the setting for Romeo and Juliet—it was customary for a father to arrange a suitable marriage for his daughter. Whom do you think this custom would have benefitted? What reaction might parents have had to children unwilling to marry the person the parents chose? 13

14 Romeo and Juliet: Discussion Starters
Several characters in the play try to “fix” the crisis for Romeo and Juliet by deceiving others. If you try to make a friend’s troubles go away, are you helping or meddling? Do lies and deception usually help a crisis or make it worse? What kind of connection might there be between time pressure and the impulse to deceive? 14

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