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Romeo and Juliet Exam. Understand the plot and characters. Understand the contextual significance of the quotations, especially as they relate to themes and characterization. Understand the literal meanings of the quotations (What is the character saying?). Fight Director

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romeo and juliet exam
Romeo and Juliet Exam
  • Understand the plot and characters.
  • Understand the contextual significance of the quotations, especially as they relate to themes and characterization.
  • Understand the literal meanings of the quotations (What is the character saying?).
  • Fight Director
  • Shakespeare’s Life and Theater
  • Traits of Shakespearean Tragedy, especially as they apply to Romeo and Juliet.
  • Themes and conflicts.
  • Fate vs. Free Will
  • Read “Literary Terms Review and Questions” and “Shakespearean Tragedy”
  • Know the Elements of Drama
  • 35 multiple choice
  • Quotation identification (speaker, meaning, to whom is the speaker speaking?)
  • Chronology of Events: order, day, specific or approximate times
  • Short Answer
  • Essay (see “Literary Terms Review and Questions” and “Shakespearean Tragedy”)

You are allowed to use your quotation pages only, whatever notes you can write on them, front and back.


William Shakespeare


Power Point

by Lax and Ritchie

Queen Elizabeth

a portrait of shakespeare
A Portrait of Shakespeare?
  • Recent research suggests that the Cobbe portrait has a strong claim (90% likelihood) to be the only known image of Shakespeare painted from life, but we will never be certain. Without evidence in the form of a written commission, it will probably never be definitively authenticated.
  • The artist's subject is clearly wealthy and successful, clad in gorgeous embroidered doublet with decorative braid and elaborate lace ruff — a significant (and expensive) mark of social standing.
  • This portrait has been dated in or around 1610: if that date is correct, Shakespeare would have been 46 when he sat for it.

Young Shakespeare

  • William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 (approximated date) at Stratford-upon-Avon, England.
  • He was baptized April 26, 1564. The date of his birth is determined through baptismal records. It was traditional to be baptized three days after birth.
  • He was the son of Mary Arden and John Shakespeare, a glove-maker. He was one of eight children, five of whom survived to adulthood.
  • He received his early education from a tutor and at seven entered the Free School in Stratford where he learned a little Latin and even less Greek. When he was about thirteen he was removed from school and apprenticed to a butcher, for an unknown period of time.
family life
Family Life
  • In November 1582, at age eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior. Their first child, Susanna, was born six months later.
  • A pair of twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born February 21, 1585.
  • His son Hamnet died at the age of eleven.
  • Because he and Anne lived apart for twenty years, and the fact that she is only briefly mentioned in his will, historians have concluded that the marriage was not a happy one.
who was shakespeare
Who was Shakespeare?
  • Shakespeare’s life is somewhat of a mystery, and it is uncertain as to whether or not he even wrote all the plays that are attributed to him.
  • Did Shakespeare really exist?
    • Some research suggests that Sir Francis Bacon, the Earl of Southampton, Christopher Marlowe, or even Queen Elizabeth might have been the authors of the works attributed to Shakespeare. No conclusive evidence exists to prove such theories.
the bard of avon
“The Bard of Avon”
  • Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets and over thirty plays. Shakespeare wrote most of his sonnets when the plague resulted in the closing of theaters.
  • Shakespeare wrote his sonnets for patrons, people who paid him to write the poetry,
  • He also wrote Narrative Poems such as “Venus and Adonis” (1593)
shakespearean sonnet form
Shakespearean Sonnet Form
  • Sonnets
    • 14 lines
    • Iambic pentameter… Sonnets and plays were written in IAMBIC PENTAMETER
  • Foot: group of syllables that are measured
  • Iambic: type of foot (unstressed, stressed… two syllables :
  • u - u- u- u- u- There are FIVE of these… = PENTAmeter
  • i.e. Five feet and each foot has two syllables = 10 syllables per line!
  • Sonnets follow a rhyme scheme:
    • abab cdcd efef gg (each letter represents different rhyme sound / same rhyme scheme if same letter. i.e. alternating lines rhyme, ends w/ RHYMING COUPLET)
  • abab = first quatrain, cdcd = second quatrain. Together they make up the OCTAVE (first 8 lines)
  • efef = third quatrain and gg = rhyming couplet. Together they make up the SESTET (last 6 lines)
The octave establishes the thought; the sestet replies to the thought, and the rhyming couplet sums up the thought.
  • The first 126 sonnets were addressed to a young man, and sonnets 127 – 154 were addressed to a young lady.
  • The sonnets are numbered and are identified by the first line of the sonnet.
    • “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
    • “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”
    • “Let me not to the marriage of true mind admit impediments”
shakespeare s theater
Shakespeare’s Theater
  • Circa 1588 – 92: Shakespeare went to London and worked with an acting troupe known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men. He served both as actor and playwright. They later became known as The King’s Men. Shakespeare eventually became a leading shareholder in the company. Richard Burbage became his lifelong friend from this acting troupe.
  • 1592 – 94: The Bubonic Plague (Black Death) was haunting London and several theatres were shut down to keep large groups of people from gathering in one place and spreading the disease.
  • During this time, Shakespeare wrote his narrative poems. They were dedicated to his patron, the Earl of Southampton.
theater interrupted the black death
Theater Interrupted: The Black Death
  • The Bubonic Plague
  • Headache
  • chills and fever
  • exhausted and prostrate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • back pain
  • soreness in his arms and legs
  • Perhaps bright light was too much to tolerate.
  • Within a day or two, the swelling appeared. They were hard, painful, burning lumps on the neck, under the arms, on the inner thighs. Soon swelling turned black, split open, and began to ooze pus and blood. They may have grown to the size of an orange.
It was possible to recover, but more than likely, death would come quickly.
  • The victim suffered great pain before dying.
  • Life expectancy was less than one week once symptoms manifested themselves.
  • The causes of plague were not discovered until the late nineteenth century


more plague fun facts
More Plague Fun Facts
  • Plague is carried by rodents like rats and squirrels, but it is transmitted to humans by the fleas who live on them.
  • Pneumonic plague is airborne. It is contracted by breathing the infected water droplets breathed (or coughed) out by a victim of the disease. The pneumonic form was much more virulent and spread much more quickly.
  • People died so swiftly and in such high numbers that burial pits were dug, filled to overflowing and abandoned; bodies (sometimes still living) were shut up in houses which were then burned to the ground; and corpses were left where they died in the streets
  • From 1592-1594, London theaters were closed to stop the spread of the disease. Shakespeare wrote his narrative poems during this time frame. The poems were dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, his patron.
the theater continued
The Theater continued . . . .
  • Shakespeare performed his plays at the Court and in various theatres, including Black Friars, The Theatre, and then The Globe.
  • Could hold several thousand people
  • Was reputed to be used as a brothel and a gambling house as well as a theatre
  • Was situated on the south bank of the River Thames in Southwark
  • Inside pictures we have are of The Swan (similar)
When a play was being performed, stalls would be set up around the theatre selling merchandise and people would throng to the theatre.
  • A tower with a flag pole advertised the plays (black = tragedy, white = comedy, red = history)
  • There were special effects (smoke, flying trapezes, etc.) and trap doors.
  • No actresses! Only male actors! Female parts were played by young boys.
The commoners (known as “groundlings”) paid 1 penny and stood in the “pit” of the Globe.
  • The gentry paid 2 pennies and sat in the galleries.
  • The rich nobles paid 3 pennies and sat on chairs at the side of the stage itself.
  • The Globe Theatre was only in use until 1613, when the thatched roof caught on fire from a smoke stage effect.
  • The Globe was rebuilt in 1614.
  • In 1642 the Puritans ended the performance of all plays, and it wasn’t until 1660 when they finally reopened.
shakespeare s plays
Shakespeare’s Plays
  • Shakespeare’s profound understanding of human nature, skill with language, and ability to construct a story with immense dramatic and poetic means is unparalleled!
  • Shakespeare is credited with having introduced over 3,000 words into the English language!
  • He used a vocabulary of over 17,000 different words in his plays.
  • Although he used what is known as an Elizabethan dialect, his language was EARLY MODERN ENGLISH (not Old English, or Middle English!!)

Shakespeare wrote most of his plays as “quarto texts” (sheets of paper folded four ways)

  • His first collection of 36 plays is known as the First Folio. This 900 page manuscript took approx. 4 years to complete and was printed in 1623.
Shakespeare’s plays were written in unrhymed iambic pentameter, known as BLANK VERSE.


I fear, too early: for my mind misgivesSome consequence yet hanging in the starsShall bitterly begin his fearful dateWith this night's revels and expire the termOf a despised life closed in my breastBy some vile forfeit of untimely death.But He, that hath the steerage of my course,Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.

blank verse example 2
Blank Verse Example #2
  • Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch!I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,Or never after look me in the face:Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blestThat God had lent us but this only child;But now I see this one is one too much,And that we have a curse in having her:Out on her, hilding!
words attributed to shakespeare that we still use today
Words Attributed to Shakespeare(that we still use today)
  • Critical Cranny
  • Leapfrog Beautified
  • Monumental Homicide
  • Majestic Forefathers
  • Obscene Aggravate
  • Frugal Snow-white
  • Submerged Fragrant
  • Excellent Brittle
  • Gust Summit
  • Hint Lonely
  • Hurry Gloomy
words attributed to shakespeare that did not last in english usage
Words Attributed to Shakespeare(that did not last in English usage)
  • Barky
  • Brisky
  • Conflux
  • Vastidity
  • Tortive
as old adam in as you like it
As Old Adam in As You Like it
  • Not an actual photo of Shakespeare
Tragedies some of which are re-works of previous stories based on English or Roman history, include:
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • Julius Caesar
  • Othello
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
The Histories (1592 – 1598), based on the English kings:
  • King Henry VI, Part I
  • King Henry VI, Part II
  • King Henry VI, Part III
  • King John
  • King Henry IV, Part I
  • King Henry IV, Part II
  • King Henry V
  • Richard II
  • Richard III
  • King Henry VIII
The Comedies (also Romances)
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • A Comedy of Errors
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • As You Like it
  • Twelfth Night
  • All’s Well that Ends Well
  • Measure for Measure
Elizabeth I was 25 years old when she became Queen of England in 1558. Her 45-year reign, which ended with her death in 1603, saw England's emergence as a nation of tremendous political power and unparalleled cultural achievement.
  • Because so much of this English renaissance is directly attributable to Elizabeth's personal character and influence (as well as to the unprecedented length of her reign), it is appropriate that the last half of the sixteenth century in England is identified as the Elizabethan Period.

The Death of Shakespeare

  • Anne Hathaway continued to live in Stratford while Shakespeare traveled between Stratford and London.
  • He died on April 23rd, 1616 and lies buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford Upon Avon.
  • The epitaph on his tombstone reads:

“Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare

To digg the dust encloased heare

Blessed be y man y spares his stones

And curst be he y moves my bones”

The focus of drama is on dialogue between two or more characters. The situation / conflict is revealed

through dialogue and character


  • Drama is intended to be performed (rather than just being read from a book) in front of and observed by an audience.
The goal of a drama is to move the audience to respond to the thoughts and emotions that are expressed by the characters in the story.
  • The content of a play often serves as a comment upon some aspect of the human condition (theme).
physical structure of drama
Physical Structure of Drama

Plays are divided into ACTS.

Acts are divided into SCENES.

Scenes are composed of LINES (spoken by individual characters)

stage directions unspoken part of the script
Stage Directions (unspoken part of the script)

Stage directions indicate the physical

actions, emotional state, and expressive

behavior of the characters.

Stage directions most commonly are typeset in italics to separate them from dialogue. They may also be separated with brackets or parenthesis.

setting descriptions unspoken part of the script
Setting Descriptions (unspoken part of the script)

Indicate the time period, the

environment, all of the contents of the


Scene changes require a description of

the new scenery.

  • Self-revelation through dialogue
  • Realistic human behavior, development of personality, background information regarding personal history
  • Accurate speech patterns reflect the regional dialect of the setting
  • Establishment of characters’ motivation for actions and decisions
  • Characters’ personalities contrast with each other, thus causing conflict
  • Conflict (usually emotional in nature, as opposed to physical)
  • Rising Action (progression of events; revelation of information about the characters and their situation)
  • Climax
  • Falling Action
  • Conclusion
  • Resolution (maybe)
the traits of shakespearean tragedy

The Traits of Shakespearean Tragedy

Note: Much of the information in the next nine slides is in the handout that I have already given you. Use the handout as your information basis. Add other notes as needed.

what is a tragedy
What is a tragedy?
  • Today, people commonly use the word “tragedy” to refer to an unfortunate event that befalls someone, not necessarily because of their own decisions or choices.
  • Traditionally, tragedy is defined as a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.
shakespearean tragedy
Shakespearean Tragedy
  • Shakespearean tragedy is much more specific in its form and meaning than just a story in which bad things happen to people.
  • Shakespearean tragedy finds its genesis in Greek drama. You’ll get more on this starting in the unit on Antigone by Sophocles.
definition of shakespearean tragedy
Definition of Shakespearean Tragedy
  • There are several definitions of tragedy, but Shakespearean tragedy (like Greek tragedy), differs from modern tragedy in that the protagonist must have a potential for greatness, there must be a plot which imitates the action.
  • Traditionally defined as: A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.
the traits of shakespearean tragedy1
The Traits of Shakespearean Tragedy
  • Shakespearean tragedy tends to demonstrate a deep understanding of human nature.
  • Shakespearean Tragedy focuses on a central protagonist. This protagonist is a tragic hero who causes suffering and calamity for himself, as well as for those around him. Such calamity results in the death of the hero.
the shakespearean tragic hero
The Shakespearean Tragic Hero
  • He is a person of high moral and philosophical values; the protagonist must have a potential for greatness.
  • His actions affect the fates of other people.
  • Although chance or fate may play a role in the outcome of the action, the hero and his actions play a more significant role than fate.
  • At some point in the action, the hero makes a moral decision. Once this decision has been made, the course of the tragedy is set and the outcome is inevitable.
moral regeneration
Moral Regeneration
  • Shakespearean Tragedy includes the concept of moral regeneration.
  • Although the hero suffers, he learns from his agony. The hero recognizes the flaw in his nature, as well as the evil in his deeds. As the hero approaches his death, he possesses a finer spirit than was his at the onset of the play.
Shakespearean tragedy is pre-eminently the story of one person, the hero (and on occasion the heroine).
  • The story leads up to and includes the death of the hero (a person of high degree); it is in fact essentially a tale of suffering and calamity leading to death.
  • The suffering and calamity are, moreover, exceptional. They befall a conspicuous person and contrast with previous happiness or glory.
However, the calamities of tragedy do not simply happen, nor are they sent by the gods; they proceed mainly from actions, and those are the actions of men.
  • Consequently, the hero always contributes to the disaster in which he perishes; at the same time, the center of tragedy may be said to lie in action issuing from character or in character issuing in action. That is, the calamities and catastrophe follow inevitably from the deeds of men, and the main source of the deeds is character.
The idea that some kind of fate controls the dramatic world of Shakespearean tragedy is crucial.
  • We feel at times that the hero is, in some sense, a doomed man.
  • The power from which they cannot escape is relentless and immovable.
  • They act freely, and yet their actions bind them to their fates. And it makes no difference whether they meant well or ill. In the tragic world what characters intend is translated into the opposite of what was intended. Whatever they dream of doing, they achieve justthe opposite and typically end in destroying themselves.
free will vs fate
Free Will vs. Fate
  • Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed lovers.”
  • How much of their fate can be attributed to their own decisions?
  • Are they totally helpless and at the mercy of the stars, and therefore not responsible for their own downfall? Or do we excuse them from responsibility because they are young, inexperienced, and acting solely from passion?
  • What are the forces which are beyond their control?
  • Can their decisions be separated from the events that are occurring around them?
  • How much control does an individual really have in determining one’s destiny?
the plot of romeo and juliet
The Plot of Romeo and Juliet
  • Shakespeare most likely didn't make up the story of Romeo and Juliet. Stories with similar plots existed prior to Shakespeare’s writing of the play (circa 1595)
  • The plot of Romeo and Juliet is based on the tale translated into verse by Arthur Brooke in The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) and retold in prose in the Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582.
  • Shakespeare wrote the play in

approximately 1595.

The story goes back to the Greek mythology myth of Pyramus and Thisbe.
  • Pyramus and Thisbe fall in love,but their love is prohibited. They run away, but Pyramus thinks Thisbe has been killed by a lion and so stabs himself in despair. When Thisbe discovers him, she also kills herself. A number of writers over the centuries have adapted the story.
themes in romeo and juliet
Themes in Romeo and Juliet
  • Are the concepts in Romeo and Juliet universal?
  • Does the play transcend time? That is, are the ideas of they play as relevant today as they were in Shakespeare’s time?
  • Why do we still read the play today?
the forces of love
The Forces of Love
  • Unrequited (unreturned) Love (Rosaline)
  • Infatuation (Rosaline; Juliet?)
  • Platonic Love (Mercutio and Romeo)
  • Conventional Love (Capulet’s arranged marriage of Juliet to Paris)
  • Parental Love (Montague’s concern for Romeo; Capulet for Juliet. Are the decisions of the parents in the best interest of their children?)
  • Romantic or Ideal Love (Romeo’s idealized vision of being in love. Is he in love with being in love?)
  • Sensual Love or Passion (The mutual physical/sexual attraction that Romeo and Juliet feel for each other.)
  • Moderate Love (Allowing time for love to takes its course)
friar lawrence s advice
Friar Lawrence’s Advice

“Young men’s love then lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.”

“Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.”

the consequences of hatred
The Consequences of Hatred
  • Civil Disorder
    • By the end of the play, four “civil brawls bred of an airy word”
  • Impulsive Decisions based on Anger: Desire for Revenge
    • Tybalt as the antagonist
    • Mercutio’s dislike of Tybalt and defense of Romeo’s honor
    • Romeo’s revenge against Tybalt
    • Paris’s attempt to kill Romeo
  • Deception
    • Romeo and Juliet
    • Friar Lawrence
    • The Nurse

All Consequences Lead to Suffering

six deaths
Six Deaths
  • By the end of the play, six characters are dead:
    • Mercutio
    • Tybalt
    • Paris
    • Lady Montague
    • Romeo
    • Juliet
    • The feud ends, but at great expense to all involved. The enemies are united though grief and learn of their mistakes through mutual misfortune created by themselves.
the intention to do good
The Intention to Do Good

What role does each character play in the fate of Romeo and Juliet?

  • Prince Escalus
  • The Nurse
  • Friar Lawrence
  • Capulet
The Tragic Acting

of Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes

  • Be ready for the exam!