Romeo and Juliet - Study Notes

Essay by Vincent SmithHigh School, 10th grade April 1997

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NOTES : * indicates personal opinion.

Romeo and Juliet


The prologue is written in the form of a sonnet. A sonnet is a 14 line lyric poem with an iambic pentameter rhythm and a set rhyme scheme.


The rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet divides the poem into 3 quatrains and a rhyming couplet. The thought of the poem follows this division.

Quatrain 1

dignity - A

scene - B

mutiny - A

unclean - A

Quatrain 2

foes - C

life - D

over throw - C

strife - D

Quatrain 3

love - E

rage - F

remove - E

stage - F

Rhyming couplet

attend - G

mend - G

Act One

Scene One

1) What should be achieved by the opening scene of the play? Give examples from this scene to illustrate your answer.

In the opening scene, several things should be established. The setting, scene, mood, and the conflict must be introduced.

But, first, we must grab the audiences attention. There are many things that draw the audiences attention, including : Fighting, sex, loud shouts, many actors moving about, and jokes. In the first scene in Romeo and Juliet, the two characters Sampson and Gregory were joking around.

Scene Two

1) *What do you think Paris's later role will be?

I think that Paris will add conflict later on, and he will be against Juliet and Romeo. He will become quite jealous, and probably try to get revenge on Romeo.

2) What is Capulet's attitude to his wife and daughter?

Capulet loves and respects his wife and daughter. He seems protective of Juliet, which is understandable considering she is his only daughter. He wants her to be happily wed to Paris, and he wants her to support his decision about Paris.

3) What use is made of coincidence?

Romeo and Benevolio just happen to meet the servant, who tells them about the party. Had they not run into him, Romeo would of never been able to meet Juliet.

4) What is the dramatic purpose of Capulet's party?

Capulet's party gives Romeo a chance to meet Juliet, but more importantly, being a masked party, his identity can remain anonymous.

Scene Three

1) What is the attitude of

a) Lady Capulet

b) Juliet

c) The nurse

... To Paris's proposal.

a) Lady Capulet was happy to hear his proposal, as she thinks her daughter is old enough, and Paris is a good man for her.

b) Juliet, although not in love with anyone else, objects to being forcefully married by her father. But, being obedient she must obey her father.

c) The nurse is very happy about the proposal. She thinks he is perfect, he is young and good looking, and a good mate.

2) Write a brief character sketch of the nurse.

The nurse is very talkative. She cares deeply for Juliet, and treats her like her own daughter; probably because she lost her husband and daughter. She is supportive of Juliet's ideas. She is also quite blunt, or coarse and talks about things that most wouldn't talk about in public.

Scene Four

1) Find an example of foreshadowing.

'I fear too early; for my mind misgives

Some consequence yet hanging in the stars

Shall bitterly begin this fearful date

With this night's revels, and expire the term

Of a despised life clos'd in my breast

By some vile forfeit of untimely death.

But He that hath the steerage of my course

Direct my sail! On listy gentleman!'

Scene Five

1) How is a masked ball good theatre?

The masked ball is good theater because the guys don't have to dress as girls, as no one knows their real identity.

2) What contribution do the serving men make?

The Serving men let us know that we are at the party.

3) Why does Rosaline never appear on stage?

She never appears on stage so that people can't compare between her and Juliet's looks, as some might say Rosaline is fairer than Juliet.

4) Why does Shakespeare avoid a clash between Tybalt and Romeo on stage?

If Romeo and Tybalt fought on stage, then Romeo would not of had a chance to talk to Juliet.

5) Select speeches which keep the feud complication before the audience.

'This, by his voice, should be a Montague.

Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave

Come hither cover'd with an antic face,

To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?

Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,

To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.'


'Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe.

A villain that is hither come in spite

To scorn at our solemnity this night.'

Act Two

Scene One

1) What is the purpose of Scene one?

This scene gives us a transition. It informs us that Romeo's love for Rosaline is lost, and he is deeply in love with Juliet. It also foreshadows some of the troubles they will have.

Scene Two

1) Describe the setting in this scene.

This scene takes place in the Capulet's orchard under Juliet's balcony. It is at night, and Romeo is supposedly hiding.

2) How does danger lend enchantment to this scene.

The danger in this scene shows that Romeo will risk his life for Juliet, and adds suspense to the scene, to keep people at the edge of their seats.

3) How does Shakespeare make it easy for Juliet to confess her love? Why does he do this?

It is easier for Juliet to confess her love because she does not know that Romeo is in the shadows. This makes a quick advance in the plot.

4) What are the signs that Juliet has fallen in love?

She asks Romeo to deny his family name, as she will deny hers so they can be together.

Scene Three

1) What are the purposes behind Friar Laurences soliloquy?

Friar Laurences soliloquy introduces the plot and foreshadows some plot, and describes what he does.

Scene Four

1) What is Mercutio's opinion of Romeo? Prove with quotes.

Mercutio doesn't think Romeo can fight Tybalt. In line 13 he says 'Alas, poor Romeo - he's already dead.'

2) How do you account for the change in Romeo?

Romeo has a more positive attitude because someone loves him back.

3) Why is it better that Peter be played by a small man?

It was better that Peter is smaller because the Nurse is bigger, thus visually showing superiority over Peter, so she bosses him around.

4) How does the meeting between Romeo and the Nurse advance the plot?

Now Romeo can 'talk' with Juliet via the Nurse, thus reducing the risk, and making their love grow even more.

Scene Five

1) How much time has passed since the opening of the play?

One day has passed, and we are now on the second day.

2) What do we learn about the Nurse and Juliet in this scene?

We learn that the Nurse likes to tease Juliet, and taunt her with the information that Romeo has told her.

Scene Six

Act Three

Scene One

1) What is the purpose of Mercutio's analysis of Benevolio's character?

His analysis makes the scene more humorous because he is actually talking about himself, not Benevolio.

2) How have we been prepared for the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt?

We have been anticipating Romeo and Tybalt's fight since the party, but due to the nature of Mercutio, he will probably take part in the fight.

3) Mercutio is himself to the end. Prove.

He is still himself because even after he is wounded, practically dead, he still jokes around (lines 95 to 103)

4) Explain how this scene is the dramatic center of the play.

It's very dramatic, as the events are becoming more and more negative.

Scene Two and Three

1) Explain how these two scenes are parallel.

The two scenes are parallel because Romeo and Juliet are both talking to there 'Secret confessor' (he/she who knows about them) about the one they love.

2) Compare the behavior of Juliet and Romeo. Use direct quotes.

Scene Four

1) Discuss the change in Capulet's attitude toward Juliet's marriage.

Capulet has decided that he is 100% sure Paris is the right man, and sees no reason why they should delay the wedding, hopefully cheering up Juliet.

2) List examples of dramatic irony in this scene.

Some dramatic ironies are... Juliet is actually married, and she's not sad about Tybalt, she's sad about Romeo!

Scene Five

1) What dramatic purposes are served by the farewell scene?

The farewell scene shows and proves how great the love for each other Romeo and Juliet have.

2) Why does Shakespeare have the Nurse desert Juliet at this point?

Having the nurse leaves shows the feeling of isolation that Juliet has, and how the nurse disapproves of her actions.

Act Four

Scene One

1) What is Friar Laurence's predicament?

His predicament is that he has already married Romeo and Juliet, and he cannot wed Juliet and Paris.

2) What flaws can you see in Friar Laurence's plan?

The Friar's plan relies on so many things that have to go right... If one goes wrong, he's got a big problem.

Scene Three

1) What are Juliet's thoughts during the potion speech?

She was worried that Romeo would not get the message and he would think she was dead.

2) *Do you think Juliet drinks the potion in a sudden fit of terror or with deliberate intent?

Juliet drinks the potion in a sudden fit, she was terrified (lines 24-25,30-32,33-35)

Scene Four

1) What are the dramatic purposes of this scene?

It shows the excitement and anticipation towards the wedding.

Scene Five

1) How is the Friar's speech beginning on line 65 a reflection of the Capulet's grief.

Both of them know they are responsible for their deaths.

2) *The behavior of Peter and the musician has been criticized as being inappropriate at the time. Do you agree of disagree? Support your answer.

I disagree because then was not the time to play music.