Name: ___________________________________________
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Study Guide
William Shakespeare: A Short Biography
William Shakespeare was baptized on April 23, 1564 (his actual date of birth is uncertain), in Stratford-on-Avon (located
in southern Warwickshire, England). The son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, he was probably educated at the
King Edward IV Grammar School in Stratford, where he learned Latin and a little Greek and read the Roman
dramatists. At eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman seven or eight years his senior. Together they raised two
daughters: Susanna, who was born in 1583, and Judith (whose twin brother died in boyhood), born in 1585.
Little is known about Shakespeare's activities between 1585 and 1592. Robert Greene's A Groatsworth of Wit alludes to
him as an actor and playwright. Shakespeare may have taught at school during this period, but it seems more probable
that shortly after 1585 he went to London to begin his apprenticeship as an actor. Due to the plague, the London
theaters were often closed between June 1592 and April 1594.
In 1594, Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain's company of actors, the most popular of the companies acting at
Court. In 1599 Shakespeare joined a group of Chamberlain's Men that would form a syndicate to build and operate a
new playhouse: the Globe, which became the most famous theater of its time. With his share of the income from the
Globe, Shakespeare was able to purchase New Place, his home in Stratford.
While Shakespeare was regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time, evidence indicates that both he and his world
looked to poetry, not playwriting, for enduring fame. Shakespeare's sonnets were composed between 1593 and 1601,
though not published until 1609. That edition, The Sonnets of Shakespeare, consists of 154 sonnets, all written in the form
of three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean. The sonnets fall into two groups: sonnets 1126, addressed to a beloved friend, a handsome and noble young man, and sonnets 127-152, to a malignant but
fascinating "Dark Lady," whom the poet loves in spite of himself. Nearly all of Shakespeare's sonnets examine the
inevitable decay of time, and the immortalization of beauty and love in poetry.
In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of words, often combining or contorting Latin, French and
native roots. His impressive expansion of the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, includes
such words as: arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, heartsore, hunchbacked,
leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany.
Shakespeare wrote more than 30 plays. These are usually divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies, and
romances. His earliest plays were primarily comedies and histories such as Henry VI and The Comedy of Errors, but in
1596, Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, his second tragedy, and over the next dozen years he would return to the
form, writing the plays for which he is now best known: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony
and Cleopatra. In his final years, Shakespeare turned to the romantic with Cymbeline, A Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.
Sometime after 1612, Shakespeare retired from the stage and returned to his home in Stratford. He drew up his will in
January of 1616, which included his famous bequest to his wife of his "second best bed." He died on April 23, 1616, and
was buried two days later at Stratford Church.
Info taken from: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/122
 During his life, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets!
 Anne Hathaway was eight years older than Shakespeare (he was 18 and she was 26) and
three months pregnant when they got married!
 Shakespeare never published any of his plays!
 Shakespeare's family members were all illiterate!
 Shakespeare's works contain over 600 references to birds of all kinds, including the
swan, bunting, dove, robin, sparrow, nightingale, swallow, turkey, wren, starling,
falcon, and thrush, just to name a few.
 Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare's plays.
 All of his plays casted men only…that’s right, males played females!
 Shakespeare invented the word "assassination".
 Shakespeare, one of literature’s greatest figures, never attended college.
 William lived through the Black Death. This epidemic that killed over 33,000 in
London alone in 1603 when Will was 39, and later returned in 1608.
 Modern day themes such as racism, anti-Semitism and at times, homosexuality
(although this term did not exist in those days) show up in many of Shakespeare’s most
famous works.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
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;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Name: __________________________________________________
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Study Guide: ACT I
1) Augment:
2) Adversary:
3) Chaste:
4) Pernicious:
5) Solemnity:
Prologue & Act I, scene i
Study Questions and Quotations
1. Why do Sampson and Gregory fight with
Montague's men?
3. When Montague and Capulet enter and see the
disturbance, they want to fight, too. What do their
wives say?
4. What ended the fight between the two families?
2. Contrast Benvolio’s and Tybalt’s reactions when
they come upon the servants fighting.
5. Why is Romeo so sad? What is Benvolio’s advice
to Romeo?
Scene Summary
In the city of _______________________ the “ancient grudge” between the ______________________
and the _______________________________ families erupts in a brawl when
__________________________ and _____________________________ come across Montague’s men.
Prince _______________________ decrees that any further violence will be punishable by
__________________. _____________________, the son of Lord Montague, was not involved in the
fight. Romeo is in love with ________________________ who does not feel the same way about him.
Act I, scene ii
Study Questions and Quotes
1) When Paris asks Capulet for Juliet's hand in marriage, what is Capulet's reply?
2) Why is Capulet giving a feast?
3) How does Romeo find out about the feast, and why does he decide to go even though (being
a Montague) he is not invited?
Scene Summary
Lord Capulet gives ___________________ permission to woo his daughter, _________________, and
sends a servant out with a guest list for the ball he is holding that night. The servant is interrupted by
_________________, who learns that ____________________ is to be among the guests. Romeo is persuaded
by his friends _________________ and ________________ to attend the ball.
Act I, scene iii
Study Questions and Quotes
1) How old is Juliet?
2) When Lady Capulet asks Juliet how she feels about marriage, what is Juliet’s answer?
3) Describe Juliet's relationship with her family in Act I.
Scene Summary
After ____________________ finally manages to interrupt Juliet’s talkative ______________ who is
going on and on telling Juliet of her memories, she tells her daughter that she has promised her hand in marriage
to _______________.
Act I, scene iv
Study Questions and Quotes
1) According to Mercutio, who or what is Queen Mab, and what does she or it do?
2) What does Mercutio say about dreams?
3) At the end of Act I Scene iv, what does Romeo tell Benvolio, foreshadowing future action in
the play?
4) What is Romeo’s mood at the end of this scene? Explain.
Scene Summary
________________, ________________, and ________________set out for the Capulet ball; all are
masked. The mischievous ________________ teases the lovesick Romeo. _______________ has a bad feeling
about the evening ahead.
Act I, scene v
Study Questions and Quotes
1) What does Romeo think of Juliet the first time he sees her?
2) How does Tybalt recognize Romeo?
3) What does Capulet say to Tybalt when he is about to throw Romeo out of the party?
4) Explain what the conversation is between Romeo and Juliet.
5) How does Romeo find out Juliet’s last name? How does Juliet find out Romeo’s last name?
6) What does Romeo mean when he says, "Oh, dear account! My life is my foe's debt"?
Scene Summary
At the ball, ______________________ and _________________________ fall in love; each are
devastated to find out that the other is a member of the rival family. Juliet’s cousin _______________________
realizes who the masked man is. He is stopped from fighting Romeo by
__________________________________, who will not let him harm a guest.
Name: _____________________________________________________
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Study Guide: Act II
1. cunning
2. vile
3. predominant
4. unwieldy
Act II, scene i
Study Questions and Quotations
1. What does Mercutio say about “blind love”?
Scene Summary
___________________ hides in ___________________’s orchard. _____________________ and
_____________________ give up searching for him and leave.
Act II, scene ii
Study Questions and Quotations
1. When Juliet appears on her balcony, what does Romeo compare her to?
2. How does Juliet “speak, yet . . . [say] nothing”?
3. When Juliet leans her cheek on her hand, what does Romeo say?
4. What does Juliet says about names. What does it mean?
5. Juliet asks how Romeo got into her place. The orchard walls are high, and Romeo’s life would be in
danger if her relatives were to find him there. What is Romeo’s response?
6. Why is Juliet embarrassed?
7. When Romeo and Juliet profess their love for one another, Juliet is to contact Romeo (through a servant)
the next day. Why?
8. Who keeps interrupting the balcony scene?
Scene Summary
________________________ overhears ________________________ at a window, speaking of her
love for him. He affirms his love for her and they agree to get _________________.
Act II, scene iii
Study Questions and Quotations
1. What has friar Laurence been out gathering in his basket?
2. What does Friar Laurence mean when he says to Romeo, “Young men’s love then lies not truly in their
hearts, but in their eyes?
3. Why does Friar Laurence agree to marry Romeo and Juliet?
Scene Summary
________________ goes to the cell of ______________________ and tells him of his new love. The
Friar is struck by the young man’s fickleness, but agrees to marry him to _______________, hoping that
the union will stop the fighting between the _____________________ and ______________________.
Act II, scene iv
Study Questions and Quotations
1. According to Mercutio, what kind of man is Tybalt?
2. What is the nurse saying to Romeo in lines 157 – 163?
3. How is Juliet to arrange to meet Romeo?
Scene Summary
________________ and ________________ find Romeo. They joke together then start teasing Juliet’s
_______________ who has come looking for ______________. He sends a message to Juliet, telling her
to meet him at _______________________ __________ that afternoon.
Act II, scene v
Study Questions and Quotations
1. The nurse is supposed to be gone only a half hour, but she is actually gone for how long?
2. How is the nurse behaving that is frustrating to Juliet?
3. What message does Nurse take to Juliet?
Scene Summary
________________ waits impatiently for her ______________. When the old woman finally returns, it
takes a long time for _________________ to get the message from her.
Act II, scene vi
Study Questions and Quotations
1. What does Friar Laurence mean when he says, “Therefore, love moderately; long love doth so”?
2. What warning does Friar Laurence give Romeo, foreshadowing future events of the play?
Scene Summary
______________ and ______________ meet at __________________________ cell to be married.
Name: _____________________________________________________
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Study Guide: Act III
1. banishment ________________________________________________________________
2. dexterity __________________________________________________________________
3. idolatry ___________________________________________________________________
4. reconcile __________________________________________________________________
5. exile ______________________________________________________________________
6. fickle _____________________________________________________________________
7. gallant ____________________________________________________________________
Act III, scene i
Study Questions and Quotations
1. At the beginning of the scene, why does Benvolio think that there will be a fight?
2. What does Mercutio accuse Benvolio of?
3. When Tybalt and Mercutio first begin arguing, what does Benvolio try to get them to do?
4. Why won’t Romeo fight Tybalt?
5. What does Mercutio think is the reason Romeo refuses to fight?
6. What does Romeo say that Juliet’s love has done to him?
7. When Benvolio relates to the Prince what happened, what does he say Romeo tried to do before Mercutio
was killed?
8. What does Lady Capulet accuse Benvolio of? Why?
9. What is Romeo’s punishment for killing Tybalt?
Act III, scene ii
Study Questions and Quotations
1. Why is Juliet so impatient for the nurse to return?
2. Describe Juliet’s rapidly changing attitudes toward Romeo in this scene.
3. What piece of news has upset Juliet the most?
Scene Summary
___________________ is devastated by the news of the fight. She sends the _______________ to bring
_________________ to her before he flees ______________.
Act III, scene iii
Study Questions and Quotations
1. Explain Romeo’s reaction to the news of his banishment.
2. Romeo tells Friar Laurence that the priest cannot know or understand how Romeo feels. Why?
3. What argument does Friar Laurence use to prevent Romeo from killing himself?
4. What does the nurse give to Romeo?
Scene Summary
The Nurse finds __________________, distraught, in Friar Lawrence’s cell.
Act III, scene iv
Study Questions and Quotations
1. What does Capulet tell his wife to say to Juliet?
Scene Summary
Lord Capulet agrees that _______________ should be married to _______________ next Thursday.
Act III, scene v
Study Questions and Quotations
1. As Romeo is preparing to leave Juliet, what argument does she use to convince him to stay? What makes her
change his mind?
2. Why does Lady Capulet think Juliet is crying?
3. When Lady Capulet threatens to send someone to Mantua to poison Romeo, what does Juliet say?
4. If Juliet’s mother does not arrange to delay the marriage, what will Juliet do?
5. What is Capulet’s reaction to Juliet’s threats?
6. How does Juliet’s attitude toward the nurse change?
7. What “scheme” does Juliet devise to get rid of the nurse and to get out of the house?
Scene Summary
______________ goes to ______________ and stays with her until the next morning. After Romeo
flees, ____________________ tells Juliet of the marriage that Lord Capulet has arranged between she
and _______________. When Juliet objects, her father tells her that he will throw her out of the house if
she does not obey him. The_____________ counsels Juliet and tells her that she might as well marry
Name: _____________________________________________________
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Study Guide: Act IV
1. lament ________________________________________________________________________
2. shroud _________________________________________________________________________
3. dismal _________________________________________________________________________
4. vial ___________________________________________________________________________
5. loathsome ______________________________________________________________________
Act IV, scene i
Study Questions and Quotations
1. Why is Friar Laurence reluctant to marry Paris to Juliet?
2. How does Paris explain the sudden haste of the marriage plans?
3. What is ironic about the conversation between Juliet and Paris?
4. If Friar Laurence cannot help her, what does Juliet threaten to do?
5. Why does Friar Laurence think that Juliet will accept his plan?
6. Describe the friar’s plan for Juliet.
Act IV, scene ii
Study Questions and Quotations
7. What does Juliet say that makes her father happy?
8. How does Capulet change the wedding plans? What implication does this have?
Act IV, scene iii
Study Questions and Quotations
9. How does Juliet show her maturity and independence in this scene?
10. If the potion does not work, what will Juliet do?
11. What are some of the fears Juliet has about the potion?
Act IV, scene iv
Study Questions and Quotations
12. What is happening in this brief scene? (Summarize)
Act IV, scene v
Study Questions and Quotations
13. Describe the imagery Shakespeare uses in describing Juliet’s “death”?
14. What does Friar Laurence say to comfort the Capulet family?
15. What even are the Capulets now preparing for?
Act IV Summary
i) Juliet goes to ___________________ and he comes up with an idea to help solve her
problem. He tells her that she should agree to marry ___________ and then tells her to drink the
liquid he gives her the night before the wedding. The liquid will put her into such a deep sleep,
it will appear as if she is ____________. She will then be taken to the family vault where
______________ (who will be filled in on the plan) will meet her. When she wakes up, Romeo
will take her __________________ with him.
ii) Juliet tells ____________________ that she will marry Paris.
iii) Although she is reluctant to do it, ______________ drinks the Friar’s
iv) The ______________ household is busy preparing for the wedding of
_____________ and _______________.
v) The _____________ discovers Juliet’s seemingly lifeless body and her excitement
quickly turns into grief. ______________________ instructs them to take the girl to the
Capulet’s tomb.
1. Ambiguity:
2. Peruse:
3. Remnants:
4. Haughty:
Act 5 Scene 1
1. What news does Balthasar bring Romeo?
2. What does Romeo mean when he says, “Then I defy you, stars!”?
3. What actions does Balthasar’s news prompt Romeo to do?
Scene Summmary:
Believing __________________ to be dead, _________________’s servant hurries to Mantua to tell his
master. The grief-stricken __________________ goes to a poor apothecary, who sells him
Act 5 Scene 2:
4. What does Friar John tell Friar Laurence?
5. After hearing this news from Friar John, what does Friar Laurence intend to do?
Scene Summmary:
_____________________, who was supposed to deliver _______________________’s letter to
____________________, returns to ____________________________ explaining that he was detained in
_________________ and could not get to _________________.
Act 5 Scene 3:
6. Why is Paris at Juliet’s tomb?
7. Romeo gives Balthasar two reasons for entering the
Capulet’s tomb. What are those two reasons?
12. When Montague first arrives on the scene, what
does he tell those gathered?
8. Why does Paris think that Romeo has come to the
9. What is it about Juliet that should have told Romeo
that she was not dead?
13. Relate the events that lead to Romeo and Juliet’s
death as they are told by Friar Laurence near the
play’s end.
14. What information does Romeo’s letter give?
10. Why doesn’t Friar Laurence stay in the tomb with
Juliet after she awakens?
11. Why does Juliet kiss Romeo after he is dead?
15. How do Montague and Capulet plan to honor the
memories of their children?
Scene Summary:
________________ goes to the Capulet vault to put flowers on ______________ tomb. He finds
______________there who begs him to leave. They fight and _______________ is killed. _______________
finds ___________________ dead body. In his grief, he swallows the __________________.
_____________________________ shows up and urges the now waking _________________ to flee with him.
He is frightened away by the gaurds and _______________ sees that ________________ is dead.
___________________ takes ______________________ dagger and stabs herself. She is found by watchmen
and they immediately send for _______________, the _____________________ and
the___________________. When ____________________________ has explained everything,
___________________ and ___________________ realize too late the effect of their feud and make amends,
promising to erect _________________________ of the lovers.