An Introduction to William
Shakespeare and the Tragedy
of Romeo & Juliet
Mrs. Tinker
9th Grade Honors and Regular English
This presentation will…
inform you about the life and work of the
mysterious William Shakespeare.
provide you details about Elizabethan
society and theater.
define basic terminology related to
Shakespearean poetry and drama.
April 23, 1564: William Shakespeare was born in
Stratford-on-Avon to John and Mary Shakespeare. There
is a baptismal registration for Shakespeare, but few other
written records exist. He was the 3 rd of 8 children.
Much of Shakespeare’s younger years
remain a mystery, but there are rumors
about what jobs he may have worked.
Butcher Apprentice
1582: According to church
records, Shakespeare married
Anne Hathaway.
At the time of their marriage,
William was eighteen and
Anne was twenty-six.
William and Anne have three
children together (Susanna,
Hamnet, and Judith).
August 1596: young
Hamnet died at the
age of eleven. The
cause of his death is
Shakespeare left his family in
1591 to pursue writing in London.
In 1592, Shakespeare began developing a reputation as an
actor and playwright.
As theatres were beginning to
grow in popularity, it is
probable that Shakespeare
began earning a living writing
plays (adapting old ones and
working with others on new
1594: William became involved with a company of actors
named “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.” This group later (1603)
changed their name to “The King’s Men”.
In 1598, Shakespeare, in collaboration with
other actors, designed and built The Globe.
This circular theatre was the first of
its kind, breaking away from the
traditional rectangular theatres.
1612: Shakespeare moved back to Stratford
where he retired both rich and famous.
1616: William Shakespeare dies on his birthday.
At the time of his death, Shakespeare is said to have written
around 37 plays and 154 sonnets. He is also known to have
contributed over two thousand words to the English language.
Shakespeare is
also known to have
written around 884
words throughout
all of his works.
Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust encloasedheare
Bleste be ye man [that] spares thes stones
And curst be he that moves my bones.
Which do you prefer?
Shakespearean Theater
“The Globe”
e for art thou
Elizabethan Theatre Fun Facts
The First Elizabethan Theater: “The Wooden O”
Built in 1576, first permanent stage in London
Built by James Burbage
Shaped in form of a tavern
1599 theatre torn down, but Shakespeare’s company
used it to build The Globe Theatre
Elizabethan Theatre Fun Facts
The Globe
Round/polygonal building with a roofless courtyard
No artificial light
Three stories high – upper levels were for the weathy
The “groundlings” paid a penny a piece to stand on the floor in front
of the stage (800 people)
Large platform stage
Back of platform was curtained off inner stage
Two door entrances/exits on either side of curtain
Small balcony/upper stage
Elaborate costumes but no props
Young boys played the parts of women; women weren’t allowed to be
Fire and Rediscovery
Shakespeare’s Globe
burned down, but its
foundation was
discovered in 1990. It
gave us many clues to
the Elizabethan
experience such as
hazelnut shells! A
replica has since been
rebuilt. You can visit it
and see a play today.
Dramatic Terminology
Tragedy: A narrative about serious and important actions that
end unhappily, usually with the death of the main characters.
The play is broken up into acts and the acts are broken up
into scenes.
Monologue: A long uninterrupted speech given by one
character onstage to everyone.
Soliloquy: A long uninterrupted speech given by one
character alone on stage, inaudible to other characters
Aside: A short speech given by one character, traditionally
the other characters cannot hear.
Dramatic Terminology
Pun: A humorous play on words
After that poisonous snake struck at me in the Arizona
Desert I was really rattled. A gossip is someone with a
great sense of rumor.
A carpenter must have been here. I saw dust.
Energizer Bunny arrested - charged with battery.
Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
The executioner decided to drop out of Executioner
School. It was just too cut throat for him.
He who farts in church sits in his own pew.
Dramatic Terminology
Dramatic Foil: A pair
of characters who are
opposite in many ways
and highlight or
exaggerate each
other’s differences.
Poetic Terminology
Blank Verse: Unrhymed meter; unrhymed iambic pentameter
Iambic Meter: Each unstressed syllable is followed by a
stressed syllable.
Couplets: Two consecutive lines that rhyme (aa bb cc).
Usually followed when a character leaves or a scene ends.
End-stopped Line: Has some form of punctionat at the end of
the line (,;.!?).
Run-on Line: Has NO punctuation at the end of the line and
meaning is continued to following lines.
Sonnet: A fourteen line poem using iambic pentameter and
the following rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg.
Poetic Terminology
Internal Rhyme: Words rhyming inside one line.
End Line Rhyme: Words rhyming at the end of consecutive
Perfect vs. Slant Rhyme: ball & hall are a perfect rhyme (end
sounds the same). Ball & bell are slant rhymes (beginning
and end sounds the same; middle sound is different).
Alliteration: the repetition of the same beginning consonants
Assonance: the repetition of the same vowel sounds in the
middle of words
Consonance: the repetition of the same ending consonants
Onomatopoeia: words that are spelled much like how they
Shakespeare’s 5 Part
Storytelling Pattern:
Act III: Crisis/Turning Point
A series of complications
Act II: Rising Action
A series of
Act I: Exposition
Establishes setting,
characters, conflict, and
Act IV: Falling Action
Results of the turning
point; characters locked
into deeper disaster
Act V:
Death of the main characters and then
the loose parts of the plot are tied up
Tips for Understanding
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is based on Arthur Brooke’s long narrative
poem the Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562).
The play has a highly moral tone: disobedience, as well as
fate, leads to the deaths of two lovers.
Motifs in Romeo and Juliet
Power of Love
Violence from Passion
The Individual vs. Society
The Inevitability of Fate
Lord Montague (his dad)
Lady Montague (his mom)
Mercutio (friend)
Benvolio (cousin)
Lord Capulet (her father)
Lady Capulet (her mother)
Tybalt (cousin)
A Pair of Star Crossed Lovers…
“My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen
unknown , and known too late!”
~ Juliet; Act I, Scene V