Romeo and Juliet Themes

Romeo and Juliet
Themes in Act I
• Look at the theme of love and analyze how
different characters view love: Romeo, Juliet,
Lord Capulet, Lady Capulet, Nurse, and
• Look at the following scenes from Act I that
reference love:
– Prologue
– Romeo and Benvolio’s discussion about Rosaline.
– Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting at the party.
• Examine how different characters view the
sanctity of marriage: Juliet, Lord Capulet, Lady
Capulet, Nurse and Paris.
• Look at the following scenes in Act I:
– Lord Capulet and Paris’ discussion regarding
– Juliet, Nurse and Lady Capulet’s discussion
involving Paris.
• Romeo finds that destiny or fate is ruling he and
Juliet’s outcome. Whenever you see references
to the stars, Shakespeare is trying to show that
fate is controlling the outcome.
• For examples in Act I, look in the following
– In the prologue where the two are introduced as
“star-crossed” lovers.
– Where Romeo is discussing his concern regarding
going to the party.
Light and Darkness
• The theme of Light and Darkness permeates this love
story. When looking at this theme, decide how
Shakespeare using this theme to create a mood and
better understanding of the characters.
• In Act I, the following scenes are relative to this theme:
– How Romeo behaves when saddened by his unrequited love
for Rosaline.
– How Romeo describes Juliet upon first seeing her at the
Parental Power
• During this time period (1500s), parents held
great power over their children, more so over
the daughters than the sons. How does the
theme of Parental Power move the story?
• In Act I, look at the following:
– Lord Capulet’s discussion with Paris.
– Lady Capulet’s discussion with Juliet.
– Lord Capulet’s scolding of Tybalt at the party.
Banishment versus Death
• Which is worse? Banishment or death?
Analyze the outcomes of when someone
dies and when someone is banished.
– Romeo is exiled by the Prince.
– Tybalt and Mercutio are both murdered.
*You may also choose to look at all the
references to death in relationship to love
rather than actual death.
Youth and Age
• The older generation and the younger
generation see life from very different
perspectives. How does this affect the story?
– Romeo and Juliet’s rush to get married even after
Friar Laurence’s warnings.
– Tybalt and Mercutio’s untimely death. The youth
can’t seem to keep the peace.
Time and Death
• You can analyze time and death together. In the
beginning of Romeo and Juliet time is referred
to as dragging until the two lovers meet and
then time races. This leads to many deaths.
– The rushed wedding is significant.
– Time seems to be against R&J from the start in
reference to their time together.
Family Feuds
• The family feud intensifies during the play. In
the beginning, no one is harmed in the brawl.
Analyze its development and how it ends.
– The Montague and Capulets’ first encounter in the
– R&J’s first encounter.
– Mercutio and Tybalt’s death.
Love and Hate
• Analyze the many references to love and hate in
the play.
– R&J’s realization that they are enemies.
– Romeo’s refusal to fight Tybalt.
– The two families’ need to fight—a kind of love/hate