Romeo and Juliet discussion questions

Act I,
scene 1
 Poetry has regulated line length
 Frequently, but not always, poetry has
meter(meter is the overall beat or rhythm in a
given line of poetry.
 The use of meter in poetry often gives poems
a musical quality
 Prose is everyday writing (letters, novels)
 Meter is the overall beat or rhythm in a
given line of poetry. So how do we
determine rhythm/beat? By marking the
relative stressed and unstressed syllables in a
word (syllables are units of sound for words).
 Some syllables in words are stressed and
some are unstressed. In other words, some
are loud and some are soft.
Take the word happy—Do we say happy or
Mark stressed syllables using a / and an
unstressed syllable using a U.
/ U
| U / | -- This pattern of unstressed
and stressed is an iamb.
When used as an adjective to describe
meter it is called iambic meter.
Just as there are different types of meter, there are
also different lengths for each line of poetry.
When determining length, one unstressed and
stressed syllable = a foot.
 One foot= monometer
 2 feet= dimeter
 3 feet= trimeter
 4 feet= tetrameter
 5 feet=pentameter
 6 feet= hexameter
 7feet= heptameter
 8 feet= octameter
u /
u /
u / u / u /
I know l the way l to go l is ov ler there.
Pentameter means it has 5 units (feet) of
iambic rhythm.
u /
u / u /
/ u
 Compare l her face l to some l that I l shall show,
Scan this line:
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.
Iambic pentameter is also known as the
heartbeat rhythm.
To be or not to be.
(FYI—The opposite of iambic meter is trochaic
 This pattern is stressed, unstressed
represented as | / U |.
Double , double, toil and trouble.
Shakespeare primarily uses blank verse to
write his plays. Blank verse is unrhymed
iambic pentameter.
You will also encounter the following:
 heroic couplets (two lines of iambic
pentameter linked by rhyme)
 Prose (usually the lower class characters like
servants use prose)
The English sonnet has the simplest pattern of
all sonnets, consisting of 3 quatrains of
alternating rhyme and a couplet:
a b a b=quatrain
g g = couplet
The first four lines =first quatrain
Next four lines= second quatrain
Next four lines = third quatrain
Last two lines =couplet
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.
The first four lines =First Quatrain
Summarize the lines:
The play takes place in Verona, where two
household, both alike in social status, have
been feuding for a long time (ancient feud).
This feud causes the citizens of Verona to act
in an uncivilized manner (civil blood makes
civil hands unclean).
Blood on their hands
From forth the fatal
loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed
lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured
piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury
their parents’ strife.
Second quatrain
The two children of these enemies will fall
in love and ultimately take their own lives,
but in doing so they will end the feud
between the households (their parents’
The fearful passage of their death-marked love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
Third quatrain
The story of these two unlucky lovers, and of the
conflict between their families, which could only
be resolved with Romeo and Juliet’s death, will be
the topic of the play for the next two hours.
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to
Final Couplet (two lines joined together by
If you listen carefully to the rest of the
story, we will explain all on stage.
CHORUS :In the beautiful city of Verona, where our
story takes place, a long-standing hatred between
two families erupts into new violence, and citizens
stain their hands with the blood of their fellow
citizens. Two unlucky children of these enemy
families become lovers and commit suicide. Their
unfortunate deaths put an end to their parents'
feud. For the next two hours, we will watch the
story of their doomed love and their parents' anger,
which nothing but the children's deaths could stop.
If you listen to us patiently, we'll make up for
everything we've left out in this prologue onstage
Two households, both alike in dignity A
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene), B
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, A
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. B
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes C
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, D
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows C
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. D
The fearful passage of their death-marked love E
And the continuance of their parents' rage, F
Which, but their children's end, naught could remove, E
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; F
The which, if you with patient ears attend, G
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. G
Grudge: a resentment strong enough to justify
retaliation; "holding a grudge"; "settling a score"
stew: bear a grudge; harbor ill feelings
Mutiny: open rebellion against constituted
Civil: applying to ordinary citizens
of or in a condition of social order; "civil peoples“
Star-crossed" or "star-crossed lovers" : a phrase
describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is said
to be doomed from the start/ reference to fate
Tragedy: an event resulting in great loss
and misfortune
Love: a strong positive emotion of regard
and affection;
any object of warm affection or devotion;
have a great affection or liking for;
Directions: Use pg. 3 in your Rand J books to
help you decide.
1. Sampson
servant of Capulet
2. Gregory
servant of Capulet
3. Abraham(Abram) servant of Montague
4. Balthasar
servant of Montague
5. Benvolio
cousin/kinsman to Montague
6. Tybalt
cousin/kinsman to Capulet
7. Romeo
son of Montague
8. Juliet
daughter of Capulet
2. What words or phrases do the servants use that
show their dislike of one another?
• Sampson calls the Montagues dogs
The servants say there is a quarrel between our
Sampson says he will disgrace them by biting his
thumb (obscene gesture).
Servants say they serve a “better master.”
Tybalt calls them “heartless hinds.”
• 3. What originally started this “ancient feud”?
We do not know.
4. Who is Benvolio?
 What type of
person is
 His name means
“good will.” He
tries to keep the
 He says, “Part
fools, put up your
swords. You know
not what you do.
Pg. 13
5. Who is Tybalt?
 What type of person is he?
 Tybalt has a fiery temper.
He is hot-head and likes to
 He says, “What, drawn
and talk of peace? I hate
the word/ As I hate hell, all
Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward.”
 Pg. 13
 Throughout the play,
Benvolio and Tybalt will be
dramatic foils (characters
who stand in sharp
contrast to one another).
6. What does Lord Capulet ask for his wife to
bring him? What does this tell us about him?
 He asks for his sword. He is also hot-tempered
and does not mind fighting.
7. How does Lady Capulet criticize her
husband’s behavior?
 She says, “A crutch, a crutch! Why call you
for a sword?” indicating that her husband is
too old to be acting like a confrontational
8. Is Montague as eager to fight? How do we
know this?
 Yes, he calls for his sword while his wife
attempts to restrain him from entering the
 He grumbles, “Hold me not; let me go.”
9. Who is Escalus? What do you think
his name means? Why is he so angry?
Escalus is the Prince of Verona. His
name means scales, as in scales of
justice; he is so angry because the
Capulet and Montague feud
continually disrupts the peace of his
citizens. He says, “Three civil brawls
bred of an airy word/ By thee , old
Capulet, and Montague, / Have
thrice disturbed the quiet of our
10. What does the Prince say the
punishment will be for anyone who disturbs
the peace again?
He says it will cost the person his or her life.
11. Was Romeo at the quarrel?
 What is wrong with Romeo lately? Do his
parents know what is bothering him?
 Romeo was not at the ‘fray’ or ‘fight.’ Lately,
according to Benvolio, Romeo has been taking
long walks alone and crying. Lord Montague
does not know what is bothering Romeo. Lord
Montague said that Romeo has been very
secretive lately. He says, “Away from light
steals home my heavy son/ And private in his
chamber pens himself, /Shuts fair daylight
out,/ And makes himself an artificial night.”
12. What does Benvolio find out about Romeo?
 He finds out that Romeo is in love, however,
the girl does not return his love. He says, “Out
of her favor where I am in love.”
What is Romeo’s state of mind at this time?
Romeo is confused and lovesick. He uses a
series of oxymorons to express his confusion.
He says, “Why then, O brawling love, O loving
hate. . .”
 An oxymoron is the use of two contradictory
words placed side by side(opposites).
13. Explain Romeo’s problems in love.
 Romeo is in love with a girl who wants to
remain chaste (virginal). Note Romeo’s
flowery language. Romeo is a Petrarchan
 Petrarchan lovers are versed in love.
Petrarchan lovers are in love with the idea
of being in love. They courted the object of
their affections from afar/ wooed them
with poetry, and often thought of love as
being painful.
14. What does Benvolio suggest Romeo do to
get over his broken heart?
 He says that Romeo should ‘examine other
Courtly love was governed by the customs and traditions of
the time. According to custom, the young man must ask the
father for the hand of his daughter in marriage. There was no
such thing as a “love” marriage because the marriages were
arranged by the fathers. Girls were betrothed to whomever
their fathers chose, usually in alliances for family betterment.
Many times the girl was extremely young. Juliet was not quite
fourteen, and her mother says that she herself married at that
age. The arranged marriage was based on family status and
kinship. By asking Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage,
Paris abides by all the rules of etiquette and is in harmony with
social expectations. On the other hand, Romeo will break all
the conventional rules with his impulsiveness and his own
values not subject to time or custom.
15. At the beginning of Act I,
scene 2, what does Paris want?
 He wants to marry Juliet,
Capulet’s daughter.
 What is Capulet’s response to
 Lord Capulet says that Juliet is
too young for marriage. He says,
“My child is yet a stranger in the
world./ She hath not seen the
change of fourteen years. /Let
two more summers wither in their
pride/ Ere we may think her ripe
to be a bride.
16. How does Paris try to
change Lord Capulet’s mind?
He says, “Younger than she
are happy mothers made”
meaning that Juliet is old
enough to be ‘married with
17. What advice does Capulet give to Paris
concerning his daughter?
He tells Paris to win Juliet’s heart. He says,
“But woo her gentle Paris, get her heart.
My will to her consent is but a part,”
indicating that Paris needs to court Juliet
before he’ll agree to the marriage.
Where does Capulet suggest Paris ‘woo’ his
At his house tonight. He is planning on
throwing a feast or ball that same night.
19. What does Capulet ask the serving man
to do?
Capulet gives the serving man a list of
names; the serving man is to give the
people on the list invitations to his ball.
20. Why is the serving man upset?
He cannot read the list.
How is Romeo a Petrarchan lover? What
does he say about his love for Rosaline?
How does he feel?
Romeo is a Petrarchan lover because he
associates love with pain. He says, “[I’m]
bound more than a madman is,/ shut up in
prison, kept without my food,/ whipped
and tormented. He is in misery.
Who reads Capulet’s letter? Is this
coincidence or fate?
Romeo reads the letter.
Why does Benvolio want to go to the Capulet’s
He wants Romeo to go to the party because
he plans on showing Romeo all of the beauties
of Verona. He thinks that if Romeo sees other
beautiful girls, he will forget all about
Why does Romeo decide to go to the
Capulet’s feast?
Romeo agrees to go to show Benvolio he is
wrong. He does not think there is anyone
more fair than Rosaline.