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ROMEO AND JULIET. REVISION Main themes Key scenes Character Possible essay questions. In a nutshell.

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romeo and juliet



Main themes

Key scenes


Possible essay questions

in a nutshell
In a nutshell
  • R is in love with Rosaline and is persuaded to got to a party at Capulets’. Falls in love with J. Next day they’re married. Tybaltpicks a fight with R who refuses to fight back so Mercutio is killed. R kills Tybalt and is banished from Verona. Spends wedding night with J first. Capulet forces J to agree to marry Paris. J flees to Friar Laurence who gives her a drug to make her appear dead. R hears from Balthasar, Friar John is detained due to quarantine, that J is dead. He finds her in the vault and poisons himself. J awakes and kills herself too. Houses unite as a result of the tragedy.

“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” “then I defy you stars!”

  • The things that will happen to someone, especially unpleasant events
  • A power that is believed to control what happens in people's lives
  • The Fates: the three goddesses who, according to the ancient Greeks and Roman mythology, decided what should happen in each person’s life.
act 1 scene 4

Act 1, scene 4


I fear, too early: for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars Shall bitterly begin his fearful date With this night's revels and expire the term

Of a despised life closed in my breast By some vile forfeit of untimely death. But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.

act 3 scene 1

Act 3, Scene 1

BENVOLIO O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead! That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds, Which too untimely here did scorn the earth. ROMEO This day's black fate on more days doth depend; this but begins the woe, others must end.

act 5 scene 1
Act 5, Scene 1

SCENE I. Mantua. A street.     Enter ROMEO ROMEO     If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,     My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:     My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;     And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit     Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.   I dreamt my lady came and found me dead--     Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave     to think!-- And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,     That I revived, and was an emperor.    Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,     When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!

romeo and juliet reconsidered
Romeo and Juliet Reconsidered

Traditional Question

  • What is tragic flaw of Romeo and Juliet’s love that leads to their deaths?
  • Is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy because the main characters are fated to die or because they see death as their only option? In a society where the rules and norms are constructed by others, can young adults assert their beliefs or control their future, without resigning themselves to either submit to society’s expectations or to death?

Constructive(Dense) Question

love vs hate
Love Vs Hate
  • Love versus hate and the many forms love takes; its power to challenge hate; the impetuosity of young love; the irrationality of hate and its capacity to destroy love. Some related scenes:
  • Act 1, Scene 1: The Capulets and Montagues fight in Verona's marketplace; Romeo tells Benvolio of his unrequited love for Rosaline.
  • Act 1, Scene 5: Forgetting Rosaline, Romeo falls in love with Juliet at first sight.
  • Act 2, Scene 2: In Juliet's orchard the two lovers agree to marry.
  • Act 3, Scene 1: Tybalt fatally wounds Mercutio under the newly-wed Romeo's arm.
  • Act 3, Scene 5: Romeo and Juliet prepare to part after their wedding night.
  • Act 5, Scene 3: Romeo and Juliet commit suicide; the Prince asks the two families to reconcile.
parents vs children
Parents Vs Children
  • Parents and children and the struggle of young people to make their own choices in the face of parents' vested interests. Some related scenes:
  • The Prologue: the Chorus describes the parents' 'ancient grudge' which is the catalyst for the death of their children.
  • Act 1, Scene 1: Lord Capulet approves Paris's request to ask Juliet to marry him.
  • Act 3, Scene 5: Lord and Lady Capulet tell Juliet of their arrangements for her to marry Paris.
  • Act 5, Scene 3: Romeo and Juliet commit suicide; the parents are faced with the consequences of their ancient feud.
key scenes
  • Mercutio’s death – Act 3 Sc 1
  • Romeo hears of Juliet’s death – Act 5 Sc 1
  • Juliet is the more mature character. In what ways do we know this?

“As A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy darkened by something of the night, so Romeo is a tragedy that keeps surprising us with flashes of comedy.”

questions on drama
Questions on Drama

Answers to questions on drama should address relevantly the central concern(s)/theme(s) of

the text and be supported by reference to appropriate dramatic techniques such as: conflict,

characterisation, keyscene(s), dialogue, climax, exposition, dénouement, structure, plot,

setting, aspects of staging (such as lighting, music, stage set, stage directions . . .), soliloquy,

monologue . . .


Choose from a play a scene in which manipulation, temptation or humiliation is an

important feature.

Explain what happens in the scene and go on to show how the outcome of the

manipulation, temptation or humiliation adds to your appreciation of the play as a



Choose a play in which the dramatist creates tension at the beginning or at the end.

Explain how the tension is created and discuss how it contributes to an effective

introduction or conclusion to the play.


Choose a play in which a power struggle is central to the action.

Explain briefly the circumstances of the power struggle and discuss the extent to which it contributes to your appreciation of theme and/or character in the play as a whole.


Choose from a play a scene in which tension builds to a climax.

Explain how the dramatist creates and develops this tension, and discuss the extent to

which the scene has thematic as well as dramatic significance.


Choose a play in which a central character behaves in an obsessive manner.

Describe the nature of the character’s obsessive behaviour and discuss the influence

this behaviour has on your understanding of the character in the play as a whole.


Choose a play which you feel is made particularly effective by features of structure

such as: dramatic opening, exposition, flashback, contrast, turning-point, climax,

anticlimax, dénouement . . .

Show how one or more than one structural feature employed by the dramatist adds to

the impact of the play.


Choose from a play a scene which significantly changes your view of a character.

Explain how the scene prompts this reappraisal and discuss how important it is to

your understanding of the character in the play as a whole.