• Main themes
• Key scenes
• Character
• Possible essay questions
In a nutshell
• R is in love with Rosaline and is persuaded to got
to a party at Capulets’. Falls in love with J. Next
day they’re married. Tybalt picks a fight with R
who refuses to fight back so Mercutio is killed. R
kills Tybalt and is banished from Verona. Spends
wedding night with J first. Capulet forces J to
agree to marry Paris. J flees to Friar Laurence
who gives her a drug to make her appear dead. R
hears from Balthasar, Friar John is detained due
to quarantine, that J is dead. He finds her in the
vault and poisons himself. J awakes and kills
herself too. Houses unite as a result of the
“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” “then I defy you stars!”
• The things that will happen to someone, especially
unpleasant events
• A power that is believed to control what happens in
people's lives
• The Fates: the three goddesses who, according to
the ancient Greeks and Roman mythology, decided
what should happen in each person’s life.
Act 1, scene 4
I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.
Act 3, Scene 1
O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
this but begins the woe, others must end.
Act 5, Scene 1
SCENE I. Mantua. A street.
If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand:
My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne;
And all this day an unaccustom'd spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead-Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave
to think!-And breathed such life with kisses in my lips,
That I revived, and was an emperor.
Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,
When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!
Romeo and Juliet Reconsidered
Traditional Question
• What is tragic flaw of Romeo and Juliet’s love that leads to
their deaths?
Constructive (Dense) Question
• Is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy because the main characters are
fated to die or because they see death as their only option?
In a society where the rules and norms are constructed by
others, can young adults assert their beliefs or control their
future, without resigning themselves to either submit to
society’s expectations or to death?
Love Vs Hate
• Love versus hate and the many forms love takes; its power to
challenge hate; the impetuosity of young love; the irrationality of
hate and its capacity to destroy love. Some related scenes:
• Act 1, Scene 1: The Capulets and Montagues fight in Verona's
marketplace; Romeo tells Benvolio of his unrequited love for
• Act 1, Scene 5: Forgetting Rosaline, Romeo falls in love with Juliet at
first sight.
• Act 2, Scene 2: In Juliet's orchard the two lovers agree to marry.
• Act 3, Scene 1: Tybalt fatally wounds Mercutio under the newlywed Romeo's arm.
• Act 3, Scene 5: Romeo and Juliet prepare to part after their
wedding night.
• Act 5, Scene 3: Romeo and Juliet commit suicide; the Prince asks
the two families to reconcile.
Parents Vs Children
• Parents and children and the struggle of young people to
make their own choices in the face of parents' vested
interests. Some related scenes:
• The Prologue: the Chorus describes the parents' 'ancient
grudge' which is the catalyst for the death of their children.
• Act 1, Scene 1: Lord Capulet approves Paris's request to ask
Juliet to marry him.
• Act 3, Scene 5: Lord and Lady Capulet tell Juliet of their
arrangements for her to marry Paris.
• Act 5, Scene 3: Romeo and Juliet commit suicide; the
parents are faced with the consequences of their ancient
• Mercutio’s death – Act 3 Sc 1
• Romeo hears of Juliet’s death – Act 5 Sc 1
• Juliet is the more mature character. In what
ways do we know this?
• “As A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy
darkened by something of the night, so
Romeo is a tragedy that keeps surprising us
with flashes of comedy.”
Questions on Drama
Answers to questions on drama should address
relevantly the central concern(s)/theme(s) of
the text and be supported by reference to
appropriate dramatic techniques such as: conflict,
characterisation, key scene(s), dialogue, climax,
exposition, dénouement, structure, plot,
setting, aspects of staging (such as lighting, music,
stage set, stage directions . . .), soliloquy,
monologue . . .
Choose from a play a scene in which
manipulation, temptation or humiliation is an
important feature.
Explain what happens in the scene and go on to
show how the outcome of the
manipulation, temptation or humiliation adds to
your appreciation of the play as a
Choose a play in which the dramatist creates
tension at the beginning or at the end.
Explain how the tension is created and discuss
how it contributes to an effective
introduction or conclusion to the play.
Choose a play in which a power struggle is
central to the action.
Explain briefly the circumstances of the power
struggle and discuss the extent to which it
contributes to your appreciation of theme
and/or character in the play as a whole.
Choose from a play a scene in which tension
builds to a climax.
Explain how the dramatist creates and develops
this tension, and discuss the extent to
which the scene has thematic as well as
dramatic significance.
Choose a play in which a central character
behaves in an obsessive manner.
Describe the nature of the character’s obsessive
behaviour and discuss the influence
this behaviour has on your understanding of the
character in the play as a whole.
Choose a play which you feel is made
particularly effective by features of structure
such as: dramatic opening, exposition,
flashback, contrast, turning-point, climax,
anticlimax, dénouement . . .
Show how one or more than one structural
feature employed by the dramatist adds to
the impact of the play.
Choose from a play a scene which significantly
changes your view of a character.
Explain how the scene prompts this reappraisal
and discuss how important it is to
your understanding of the character in the play
as a whole.