Shakes English

 What do you know about Shakespeare as
an author or individual? What do you
know about Romeo and Juliet or any of
his other plays?
Shakespeare’s Language IS:
 Complex and often hard to decipher
 Full of words and phrases that seem alien to us or now have
completely different meanings (marry=indeed, ho=hey!
Soft=hold on/wait a minute)
 Full of altered sentence structure (to achieve rhyme, effect,
or balance)
 Over 400 years old.
 BUT, it is almost-modern English as opposed to…
8th-11th Century
Germanic Language that is the
“oldest” form of English
Influenced mainly by Latin/Old
Norse (Scandinavian)
Hwæt! We
n geardagum,
þrym gefrunon,
hu ða
ellen fremedon.
So. The Spear-Danes
in days gone by and
the kings who ruled
them had courage
and greatness. We
have heard of those
princes’ heroic
Middle English
12th-15th Century
Language became more dialectbased
Inflections changed (softened)
Grammar changed
Chaucer: The Canturbury
Whan that aprill with his
shoures soote
When April with his
showers sweet with
The droghte of march
hath perced to the
The drought of March has
pierced unto the root
And bathed every veyne
in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred
is the flour;
And bathed each vein with
liquor that has power
To generate therein and
sire the flower;
wrote in…
Early Modern English
Romeo and Juliet written between
1591-1595 and published about
Two households, both alike in dignity,
(In fair
Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient
grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood
makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins
of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take
their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
So, what’s going on here?
 What do you notice about the language?
 What’s happening here? What does Shakespeare want you
to know after reading the prologue?
 Pair Search: grab a partner and read through the prologue
looking for “2’s” or the idea of pairs. Underline them. What
do you think they mean?
 Under your copy of the prologue, make two predictions
about the play based on the information in the prologue.
(We know they’re going to die, so sorry, that one’s off the
Pairs and Predictions
 What are the pairs you notice?
 What predictions did you draw from them?
Warm-Up: Tragedy
What is your definition of a tragedy? What are some
modern-day tragedies (personal or worldly) that you
can think of ? What does a tragedy in literature usually
In what ways do you think that Romeo & Juliet will be a
1) Tragedy: A play that depicts serious and important
events in which the main character(s) come to unhappy
The tragic hero’s downfall is usually caused by a
character flaw, but can also result from forces beyond
human control.
Elements of a
Prologue/Act I: Exposition
Act II: Rising action, or
Act III: Crisis, or turning point
Act IV: Falling Action
Act V: Climax and resolution
William Shakespeare:
 Born the 3rd of 8 children in April 23, 1564 in Stratford
(100 miles north of London). Family was financially
comfortable (father was a shopkeeper).
 William attended grammar school where he studied
Latin grammar, Latin, literature, and the use of
language. No record of further study exists.
 Married Anne Hathaway at 18 (she was 26), they had
twins girls and a boy.
Shakespeare in London:
 Moved to London after his children are born, leaving his family in
 By 1592, known in London for being an actor and playwright.
 Romeo and Juliet is one of his earlier plays. By 1612 he returned to
Stratford, well-off, with 37 plays, and numerous sonnets to his
 Famous plays: Henry VI and Henry V, Hamlet, Merchant of
Venice, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Macbeth, A Midsummer’s
Night’s Dream, Othello (comedies and tragedies), and more…
Shakespeare in London:
 Member of Lord
Chamberlain’s Men
(later, The King’s Men),
a company of
actors/writers working in
the theater under the
support of a rich
benefactor. Acted in the
famous Globe Theater.
The Globe Theater Today
The Globe Theater Today
Shakespeare’s Final
 Though his work lives on,
Shakespeare died April 23,
1616 at the age of 52.
 His gravestone is still intact,
“Good friend, for Jesus' sake
forebeare To digg the dust
enclosed heare; Bleste be
the man that spares thes
stones, And curst be he that
moves my bones”
Romeo and Juliet: A Real
 Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, R&J is based off an older
 Long narrative poem by Arthur Brookes (1562) that depicts
two young lovers who fall in love at first sight, and marry.
Shakespeare changes the moral of Brookes’ story that
revolves around “just punishment” and makes R and J
“star-crossed” lovers playing with fate.
 Debate around the “real” Capulet and Montagues’
existence, but history does portray warring families in
Verona and a story of two young lovers dying for each other
(early 1300s).
Interpretations of R and J:
R & J: On Stage
In fair Verona where we lay
our scene…
Verona, Italy
Juliet’s Balcony?
Act I: Scene I--characters
1) Sampson
2) Gregory:
servants in
Capulet house
3) Abram
5) Tybalt: Juliet’s 10) Lady
cousin, enemy
of Montague
11) Prince
6) Citizens of
4) Benvolio:
7) Lord Capulet
Romeo’s friend,
nephew of
8) Lady Capulet
Lord Montague
9) Lord Montague
12) Romeo