Romeo & Juliet Study Notes

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STUDY QUESTIONS FOR ROMEO AND JULIET

The following questions should be used to guide you in your reading of the play and to insure that you recognize important parts of the play. As you read independently, try to answer the questions as best you can and plan to come to class seeking the answers you could not get on your own. During our class discussions, be sure to record the answers. It is your responsibility to ask what you do not understand.

*These lines may be on a test. Be able to identify the speaker, describe the circumstances, and be able to interpret or paraphrase the quotation.
Words in bold print are vocabulary words that my also appear on a test.

PROLOGUE

1.Who speaks the Prologue?

2.What is the purpose of the Prologue?

3.In what poetic form is this Prologue?

*4. Highlight lines 5 and 6. Explain the importance of these two lines.

5. Why does Shakespeare tell us how the story is going to end?

6. What themes are established in the Prologue?

ACT 1 SCENE 1
1. How does Shakespeare start the play so that he gains the attention of the “groundlings?”

*2. Highlight lines 58-59. Our first introduction to Benvolio comes when he says these words. What do they reveal about his character?

*3. Highlight lines 64-65. Our first impression of Tybalt occurs in these lines. What do we learn about his character?

*4. Highlight lines 90-91. What is the tone of the Prince’s speech? In these lines he makes a new decree. What is it, and why is it important?

5. When we first see Romeo he shows all the signs of a Petrarchan Lover—someone who is in love with the idea of being in love. How does Romeo act (lines 125-136)?

6. When describing his feelings to Benvolio, Romeo uses Oxymorons—pairs of contradictory words in lines 170-177 and 184-188. Why does he speak in contradictions and paradoxes?

7.We then learn that Romeo is suffering from Unrequited Love—He loves someone who does not love him back. What suggestion does Benvolio make to Romeo to help him get over is unrequited love for Rosaline (lines 221-223)?

ACT 1 SCENE 2

1. In this scene Lord Capulet talks to Paris about marrying his daughter Juliet. What two reasons does he give for not wanting Juliet to marry at this time (lines 8-14)?

*2. Highlight line 16-19. On what condition will Lord Capulet agree to Juliet’s marriage with Paris?

3. What does this reveal about Lord Capulet’s love for his daughter?

4. From the servant who cannot read we learn that Rosaline, with whom Romeo believes he is in love, will be at the Capulet party. Why does this excite Benvolio? What is his plan (lines 84-89)?

*5. Highlight lines 86-89. Explain Benvolio’s analogy:

6. Why does Romeo agree to go to the party (lines 102-103)?

7. What coincidence takes place in this scene? Explain what theme is being developed.

ACT 1 SCENE 3
In this scene Lady Capulet is informing Juliet and her nurse of Count Paris’ proposal of marriage. 1. What is the nurse’s relationship with Juliet?

2. How would you describe the nurse’s personality?

*3. Highlight lines 62-63. What is the nurse’s one wish for Juliet and why?

4. When Lady Capulet asks Juliet how she feels about being married, what is Juliet’s answer (line 67), and what does it reveal about her character?

5. The nurse and Lady Capulet are both excited and pleased by Paris’ proposal but for different reasons. The nurse says Paris is “a man of wax” and at the end of the scene encourages Juliet to “Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days.” What does the nurse see in Paris, and what does it reveal about her attitude toward love and marriage?

6. Lady Capulet’s lines 82-95 compose a conceit. A conceit is an extended, exaggerated comparison or metaphor...
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