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Romeo and Juliet

Page history last edited by Russell 11 years, 2 months ago

Romeo and Juliet Online

Tue-Wed, Mar 10 and 11


DUE: Nothing


QUIZ on the entire play "Romeo and Juliet"


Fri and Mon, Mar 6 and 9


DUE: Typed film review of one of the "Romeo and Juliet" movies we watched in class (see previous lesson for details)


Discussion of the film enjoyed least


Feedback on Juliet's dilemma


HANDOUT: A "scoring card" for Romeo and Juliet. NOTE: This score card is only available by handout in class - if you are absent, it is your responsibility to get a score card to fill out. This card will help you track who appears in which scenes, and by extension, this helps you follow the plot of the play


NEXT CLASS: A quiz on the entire play.


Wed-Thu, Mar 4-5


DUE TODAY: Six questions on Juliet's soliloquy

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: TYPED  review of the film version you liked the LEAST. Details described at the bottom of the lesson below.


Three versions of Act 5 will be shown in class. You will be asked which version is the WORST, and you will write a critical review (much like a movie review).



DUE NEXT CLASS TYPED: Write a critical review of the film version you liked LEAST. Critical reviews are written in paragraph format. To view some movie reviews by Roger Ebert, one of America's foremost film critics, click here (then scroll down and choose any of the films from the menu on the right).

In your review, include the following information:

  • Title of the film you watched
  • Version of the film you watched
  • Director's and actor's names
  • What happened (the action) during the part of the film you are reviewing
  • A thorough description of all of the things that you did not like AND WHY. This is the "meat" of your review, and can take more than one page if you're really cooking)
  • At least one mention of something the film did RIGHT (there must be at least ONE THING)
  • Your overall rating of the film, on the typical four-star movie rating scale.



Mon-Tue, Mar 2-3


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: 6 questions regarding Juliet's soliloquy in IV.iii (described at bottom of lesson below)


Reading Shakespeare in class:

  • III.iv 1-25 - Mr. Capulet changes his mind about marriage - why do you suppose this is so? What is Paris's reaction to this news?
  • III.v 103 (Starts w/ Lady C "Find thou the means...") to 163 ("...look me in the face.") - Why is Juliet so emotional? What does she tell her father about his plan for her to marry Paris? What is his response?
  • III.v 175-end - What is Mr. Capulet's state of mind? What is  the plan for Juliet, and how does she feel? What does she ask of the nurse?
  • IV.i 1-Paris's exit - Why is Paris with Friar Lawrence? How does he act when Juliet enters? What is Juliet's reaction to seeing Paris there?
  • IV.i Paris's exit-end - Is the friar sympathetic to Juliet's predicament? What is his plan? How does she respond to his plan?
  • IV.ii all - Juliet tells her father that Friar Lawrence told her to do what? What is Mr. Capulet's reaction to this news?


Role-Playing IV.iii

We will read Juliet's soliloquy together

Circle any unfamiliar words in this scene (a handout will be given)

After a discussion of those words that are unknown, we will read the scene as though there are different sides of Juliet's conscience talking to her - like voices in her ears.


HOMEWORK: A special focus on IV.iii - Juliet's soliloquy

This soliloquy, like many of Shakey's soliloquies, focuses on the character's internal conflict. In this case, there is genuine fear.

  1. When in your life have you been really frightened?
  2. What exactly is her conflict?
  3. What are her specific fears?
  4. Which fear is the worst?
  5. Identify the images she paints with her words. What image(s) have the most detail?
  6. What effect do these images have on you?


Thu-Fri, Feb 26-27


DUE TODAY: Object obituary



Grades will be posted in class today, with a brief explanation

Quality family crest assignments will be recognized

Object obituaries will be shared in small groups then the best with the large group

Romeo/Juliet postcards based on II.ii will be returned, and students will grade their own work

Finally, the class will LISTEN and read along, starting with III.ii


Tues-Wed, Feb 24-25


DUE TODAY: Four video questions

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Object obituary (described below)


Student feedback and discussion of the film version of RnJ

Quick overview / class notes on what happens in Acts II and III

  • If you are absent today, copy the class notes from a friend or use Sparknotes online to get a summary of the scenes in Acts II and III

Shakespeare's language tricks - Focus on the opening of II.iii and Friar Lawrence:

  • Personification - giving human characteristics to something that is not human "...the grey-eyed morn smiles ..."
  • Metaphor - making a comparison of unalike things without the words "like" "as" or "than" "The running back was a bull, shoving through the defense."
  • Simile - making a comparison of unalike things using "like" "as" or "than" "The running back ran through the defense like a bull."
  • Classical Allusion - a reference to something in the past, in this case, a reference to Greek or Roman mythology "Titan's chariot"
  • Word Reversals - switching a word's contents "upfill"


Focus on personification OBJECT  OBITUARIES:

Consider the purpose of the newspaper obituary: A public recognition of someone's life.

What if obituaries were written for objects, like a pencil for instance?

This is a creative exercise that requires you think about a normal, everyday object, and create an obituary for the object, as though it has died.

Requirements to include:

  • How the object died
  • How old it was
  • What it accomplished during its lifetime
  • Where the object lived during its lifetime
  • Survivors of the object (wife and children, for instance)
  • Funeral arrangements

The idea is to go for as many stupid/clever puns as possible. Examples:

  • If a circuit-breaker dies, it makes sense it dies by electrocution, and it's naturally "shocking"
  • If a water bottle dies, perhaps it dies of dehydration (because the water has been emptied). The same water bottle may have been named "Dasani"  and his wife is named "Aquafina."
  • A  tack could be described as intelligent by calling it "sharp"  (a play on the double meaning of sharp) 


Fri and Mon, Feb 20 and 23


DUE TODAY: A postcard from Romeo or Juliet that gives the key events in II.ii


Collect the homework during the video.



Play the first 65-70 minutes ONLY of any of the three Romeo and Juliet videos - just choose one.

STOP the video with about fifteen minutes remaining in the period to give students a chance to get started on their questions:



  1. GIVE COMPLIMENTS: Explain what you think is good about this production. What decisions that the director made are working well?
  2. BE A CRITIC: Explain what is lacking in this production. What decisions that the director made do NOT appeal to you?
  3. COMPARE: How do the ways the characters speak compare to the cassette tape version from last class? Which set of actor voices do you prefer, and why?
  4. IT'S DIFFERENT FOR FILM: In what ways (if any) has the film maker altered the original play? Are scenes in order? Is the setting appropriate? How do you sense the film version differs from the original text?



  • Complete the four video viewing questions above, if not done this class. Don't just give one sentence for each answer - be detailed and show you're really thinking!



Wed-Thu, Feb 18-19




DUE TODAY: Seven homework questions from last class based on listening to the play on cassette. AND ... Did you bring your textbook?


In a group of 4-5 people:

  1. 15-20 minutes: Focus on II.i - What would the set look like? Use the paper provided to DRAW the stage and set for II.i - BE CAREFUL! You have to read the text to include everything you need. These ideas should help you:
    1. What does the text indicate the scene needs - ex: wall, trees, balcony for II.ii?
    2. Where should you place the wall? the trees? the balcony? Why? (Consider carefully how the action progresses - you want things to move along SMOOTHLY.)
    3. What other props might be useful?
  2. 30-40 minutes: (Still in groups) Focus on II.ii
    1. Take turns reading the parts in this scene so you SAY and HEAR the words.
    2. Pause at the end of each page and review what was said and what happened
    3. On the back of the set design your group drew, make a bullet list of the key action in II.ii - what people do, what is said (in plain English, not direct quotes), etc.


As groups work, CHECK TEXTBOOKS: Who brought their textbook, and who did not?


When time for II.ii is completed (about ten or fifteen minutes before the end of class): 

Turn on the document camera and projector.  

Display each group's set design on the overhead screen - EACH GROUP EXPLAINS DECISIONS 


Move desks back to rows, hand in the set designs (with sequence of events on back)


HOMEWORK: Assume the identity of one of the characters in II.ii. (Romeo or Juliet). SUMMARIZE WHAT HAPPENS in the scene by writing a postcard to a distant friend. OR, if you are familiar with telegrams, write a telegram that relays key information from the scene. (FURTHER EXPLANATION: So you pretend you're Romeo or JulietWrite a brief letter to a friend that tells everything that happens in II.ii - like you would if you were excited to talk about your new "love.")



Fri and Tues, Feb 13 and 17 (Monday no school = Presidents' Day)


Today is dedicated to listening to the play, and following along in the text book.

It is rare we get to "hear" Shakespeare spoken correctly, so a professional production on tape is what we have today.


Questions during listening, DUE AT THE START OF NEXT CLASS:

  1. Why did Rosaline reject Romeo's marriage proposal?
  2. Capulet tells Paris to wait awhile before Juliet is ready for marriage. What advice does Capulet give Paris about what to do in the meantime?
  3. Lady Capulet and the Nurse have a lot to say about marriage and Count Paris. Give ONE of Paris's good points, according to these ladies.
  4. How do Benvolio and Romeo learn of the feast/party at the Capulet home?
  5. In I.iv, Mercutio talks about the dreams Queen Mab delivers to dreamers. Choose TWO: What are the dreams that Queen Mab delivers for each of the following people?
    1. Lovers dream of:
    2. Courtiers (first mention) dream of:
    3. Lawyers dream of:
    4. Ladies dream of:
    5. Courtiers (second mention) dream of:
    6. A parson dreams of:
    7. A soldier dreams of:
  6. Describe the difference in the speaking style of servants vs. the speaking style of the royalty. How are they different, and why do you think there is a difference?
  7. And finally: Based on all the differing opinions of love and marriage among the characters, what problems do you anticipate arising in the play?


Pay close attention to II.ii - THE BALCONY SCENE



  • Use your textbook and what you remember of today's listening to answer the seven questions above.
  • BRING YOUR TEXTBOOK NEXT CLASS - you will get credit for remembering!


Wed-Thu, Feb 11-12


DUE: Explanation of which character's views of love/marriage most closely resemble your own (and optional "A-level" investigation of Mercutio)


Graded assignments returned

The "Graded work" basket is located at the front of the room by the light switches


Explanation of grades in the grade book:

  • First, please check the links "Homework Grading Scale" and "English Department Late Work Policy"
  • A blank or asterisk in the grade book IS NOT a zero and DOES NOT count against you. It simply means you were absent on that date
  • A zero indicates that you did not submit the assignment when it was collected
  • A one indicates you turned in the assignment on time, yet you must answer a question or do something else to complete the assignment
  • I generally don't give "make-up" quizzes and exams for people with excused absences. I might count your next quiz/exam double
  • The ONLY reason a zero stays zero is if you do not turn in an assignment within two days of the due date
  • The ONLY reason a one stays one is if you do not re-submit the assignment I asked you to revise
  • "I forgot" passes can be used to forgive late work. I sign the pass and make an agreement with you on when the work will be turned in


Notebook checks:

  • Three-ring binder
  • Shakespeare notes from the start of the term
  • Character table and notes from the last two classes
  • A dedicated place for assignments and tests returned
  • A place for vocabulary


Review of the characters in Act I scenes i-iii and their views of love/marriage

Discussion of your views on love and marriage

Collection of homework




Mon-Tue, Feb 9-10


DUE: Coat of Arms assignment (family motto, shield design, idea for family crest, explanations)


Sharing of coats of arms and mottos.


Diving back in to R and J - we will finish to table we began last class and discuss the action in Act I.

Students divide into groups and investigate the characters' attitudes toward love/marriage. Students continue the three-column table they began last class, investigating the following:

  • I.ii.12 (Paris - we did this one in class. He doesn't care about age and is eager to be married.)
  • I.ii.13 and 16-17 (Capulet's response to Paris)
  • I.ii.47-48 and 52-53 (Benvolio gives advice to Romeo, who is heartbroken)
  • I.i.240 and 242-243 (Benvolio gives advice to Romeo, who is heartbroken)
  • I.iii.69-72 (Focus on Juliet's response to her mother's question)
  • I.iii.106-108 (Juliet responds to her mother's request to "check out" Paris at the evening's party)
  • I.iii.75-80 (Lady Capulet reveals her views of when to marry, and her wish for Juliet)
  • I.iii.104 (The Nurse responds to Lady Capulet's argument that Juliet would not be lowered by marrying Paris)


  1. Notice that there are a variety of views on love and marriage in the play so far. What is the effect of having such a variety of experiences , feelings, and attitudes about love and marriage in one play?
  2. What are some insights about characters that you gained that made a strong impression on you?
  3. What are some complications that might arise because of these different viewpoints?
  4. We know that Romeo and Juliet fall in love. In addition to the feud, what are some other problems that the young lovers will encounter?



  • Required: Regarding the topic of love and marriage, with which character do you most identify and why? (3 or more sentences of explanation.)
  • Optional - for "A-levels:" Read I.iv.1-44 and add Mercutio to your love/marriage chart. What do the first 44 lines of I.iv reveal about Mercutio's attitude toward love and/or marriage?



Thu-Fri, Feb 5-6


DUE: Two Shakespeare insults with your translations (Click here for the Insult Kit)


First, and investigation of the difference between an "argument" and a "feud" - the Montagues and Capulets are feuding


Hurling insults made from the Insult Kit

  • Practice individually
  • Practice in pairs/threes
  • Dividing into two houses: Montagues and Capulets


Changing directions: Love and Marriage - Brainstorm

  • Reasons people fall in love
  • Reasons people get married


Views and attitudes toward love and marriage in R and J:

Create a three-column table like the one below. As we move through Act I Scenes 2-3, we will look for the attitudes different characters have toward love and marriage, recording them in our table.



and line #s

Quote from the play

Conclusion about his/her attitude

toward love and marriage



brawling love ... loving hate

heavy lightness ... feather of lead...

bright smoke ...

All his words and thoughts about love

contradict one another. This seems to

show that he is confused or in anguish.



HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Complete your coat of arms assignment (see lesson below)


Tue-Wed, Feb 3-4


First order of business: Questions about Act I, Sc i - Answers into "Class Notes" in full sentences:



  1. What are the names of the two families involved in the “feud?” <THE MONTAGUES AND CAPULETS>
  2. What does the Prologue say the families did after Romeo and Juliet killed themselves? <THEY CEASED FIGHTING>

There are two clear examples of violence in scene one. One is a threat, made by Sampson, and the other is actual violence on stage:

  1. What threat does Sampson make regarding the men and women of the Montagues? (HE WILL THROW THE MEN INTO THE STREET (AMONG THE FILTH) AND THROW THE WOMEN TO THE WALL VIOLENTLY (INSINUATING RAPE))
  2. What is the actual violence that the audience sees on stage? (A BRAWL BETWEEN MEMBERS OF BOTH HOUSES)
  3. How do Sampson and Gregory insult Abram and Balthasar? (THEY BITE THEIR THUMB AT THE OTHER MEN)
  4. Who is the man who tries to break up the fight, and what family is he from? (BENVOLIO, OF THE MONTAGUES, FIRST COUSIN OF ROMEO)
  5. Who is the man who wants to fight no matter what? (TYBALT, OF THE CAPULETS, FIRST COUSIN OF JULIET)
  6. What threat does the Prince make when he breaks up the brawl? (FIRST HE THREATENS TORTURE IF THEY DON’T STOP FIGHTING, THEN SAYS ANYONE CAUGHT FIGHTING AGAIN WILL DIE (LINES 104-105 AND 111))


Second item is the "Coat of Arms" assignment that is detailed below. A handout was given in class


Third item on the agenda: 

There is a Shakespearean Insult Kit handout (or click Insult Kit)


HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Create two cool-sounding Shakespearean insults and use the Internet at home (or here at school) to ‘interpret’ into today’s language what each insult really says. Write or type your insults and interpretations on paper to turn in next class. Also get to work on the "Coat of Arms" assignment, which is due TWO CLASSES FROM NOW.

"Coat of Arms" assignment


Congratulations! The king is considering granting your family a coat of arms. If he does, you will be able to call yourself “Gentleman” or “Lady.” (That’s big stuff!) First, however, he wants to know about your plan for the coat of arms; you have to send him a “draft.”


Read the requirements below and create your coat of arms. Have your coat of arms ready to share TWO CLASSES FROM NOW. The best will be recognized!


A “coat of arms” involves three key items:

  1. A family motto. A motto is a brief statement used to express a principle, goal, or ideal. You should think of a motto for your family. You might want to ask help from your parents/guardians! Examples include:
  • Who Dares Wins (U.K. Special Air Service Regiment)
  • Swifter. Higher. Stronger. (Olympics)
  • The Best or Nothing (Daimler-Chrysler)
  • Semper Fidelis (“Always faithful” – U.S. Marine Corps)
  • Set It and Forget It (from a volleyball team)
  • Leave It All on the Field (from a soccer team)
  • Winning Isn’t Everything. It’s the Only Thing. (Vince Lombardi?)
  • Leave It Cleaner Than You Found It. (My motto for traveling groups.)
  1. A design to go on a shield. This is where you can be VERY creative. You should create a shield that includes symbols that are important to your family and represent your family’s “personality.”
    • Your shield must include an ANIMAL you think represents the “personality” of your family. You may know that a lion represents fierceness and royalty. An owl represents wisdom. Be creative. If you think a dolphin is best to represent your family, be prepared to explain how your family’s characteristics are demonstrated by a dolphin.
    • Your shield must include a PLANT and/or OBJECT. An olive branch represents peace. A thorn bush represents – well – something prickly (so you had better handle with care)! If your family loves babies, maybe there’s a pacifier somewhere on the shield. If your family always takes road trips, then perhaps there’s a flat tire somewhere on your shield (to represent that getting to your destination isn’t always smooth!). If your family values having pizza together every Friday, perhaps there’s a pizza slice somewhere. You get the idea.
    • COLOR. Don’t overdo it unless your family lives in a hippie commune, then tie-dye is okay.
  2. A crest. Let’s update this concept: This is the figure that would go on the front of the hood of your car. Like the leaping jaguar on all Jaguar automobiles, or the three-pronged Mercedes symbol you see on the front of the hood of Mercedes-Benz cars, or the bulldog you see on the hood of Mack trucks. What is appropriate to grace the front of the hood of your family’s car? (Be ready with an explanation!) You do not need to draw your crest – just explain what it is and why.


HINT: You might want to practice your ideas before creating your final version. Consider tracing the template on a few pieces of scratch paper.


GRADING: Your grade is weighted mostly on how well you can explain your choices. If you just throw something together that looks cool, but can’t explain what everything means and why you included it, then you will not earn a good grade. So THINK about your motto. THINK about what will go on the shield and why.



EXPLANATIONS for your choices must be typed or hand-written on a SEPARATE sheet of paper. Therefore, you will turn in:

     Shield drawing with family name and motto

     Explanation sheet that interprets the motto, all aspects of the shield, and explains your choice of crest.



Fri and Mon, Jan 30 and Feb 2


QUIZ on Shakespeare based on the two Pwrpt presentations:


Start "Romeo and Juliet" in small groups.


Romeo and Juliet – Act I, scene one (shorthand = I.i)

Some help with Shakespeare’s language:

  • He twists sentences. Instead of asking, “Do you want a bowl of soup?” he might phrase it, “Want you a bowl of soup?” So look for verbs that begin sentences, instead of subjects.
  • Pronouns are often different. Examples include: Thou = You … Thee = You … Thine = Yours … Thy = Your
  • The word “an” is often used to mean “if,” as in line 3 of I.i.
  • He uses puns all the time. Consider the opening dialog with these definitions:
    • Carry coals = submit to humiliation
    • Colliers = people who work with coal
    • In choler = angry (notice it sounds like “collar”)
    • Collar = hangman’s noose (and what is around the neck of your shirt)
  • Use the explanations off to the side of the text to help you.


  1. First: Remember that Shakespeare’s audience wanted violence, humor, and romance. They wanted A LOT of violence, humor, and romance. So you’ve been warned.
  2. Second: These questions are for INVESTIGATION. When you read slowly and carefully you can begin to unlock meaning. So be patient, and at least GUESS at a question if you don’t know.
  3. Third: Gather together and work until you answer or have a good guess for each question. When all groups are done, you will share your findings with the whole group.
  4. Fourth: When a group shares, you should listen and take notes on what they say – it’s prime quiz material.


  • GROUP ONE: You read the Prologue. Notice that the prologue is a sonnet – a poem. Can you find the rhyme scheme of the poem? (Like a-b-a-b or a-a-b-b). According to the first line, which family – the Montagues or Capulets - has more “dignity?” If the families have “an ancient grudge” (line 3) how do you expect them to treat one another? What line refers to Romeo and Juliet without saying their names? According to line 6, how do R and J die? How does their death affect the families, according to line 8? How long should this play last?
  • GROUP TWO: You read lines 1-22. Explain how they use a pun (a play on the sound and meaning of words). The two men don’t speak well of the Montagues – what lines specifically show their hatred? Gregory is clever with words and phrases – where does he suggest Sampson is a chicken? When Sampson claims he will throw the Montague men “from the wall” and “thrust his maids to the wall,” what do you think he’s threatening to do to the women, beyond the literal? What’s happening so far?
  • GROUP THREE: You read lines 23-45. Sampson first claims he will do what to the “maids” of Montague? Then he shifts this somewhat, claiming he will take their “maidenheads.” What follows are a few interesting lines that include the words “feel it” and “Me they shall feel.” What do you think Sampson is suggesting he will do to the women of Montague? What does Sampson mean when he says, “My naked weapon is out” in line 35? What is Gregory afraid Sampson will do? Sampson says that he will make a crude, rude gesture to the other men. What will he do?
  • GROUP FOUR: Read lines 46-74. This is about what words to emphasize. Try emphasizing no words in line 46, then emphasize “bite my thumb” in 47, and “us” in 48. What do you think the gesture means? How is Sampson trying to get into a fight? What is he worried about in lines 49-50? What does Benvolio try to do when he sees the men sword-fighting? Describe how Tybalt is different from Benvolio.
  • GROUP FIVE: Share with the class that both families get into the act in lines 75 to 88 – it’s absolute mayhem, and the police have arrived, along with the head honcho – the Prince of Verona. Read the Prince’s speech from 89-111.  What is the mood of the Prince? How do you know? How do we know from the Prince that the fighters have drawn blood? In 94-96 what does the Prince order them all to do? How many fights have disrupted the city recently? The Prince makes a threat in 104-105 – what is it? How is this threat reinforced in line 111?



Wed-Thu, Jan 28-29





Get a THREE-RING BINDER to use for this class. Put about 100 sheets of notebook paper in it.


We begin right away with an overview of Shakespeare's life and what it was like to go to plays in London. Two Pwrpt slide shows:


Textbook checkout is now through the LIBRARY. Absent? Go to the library to check out a textbook.

Everyone was given a pink PASS SHEET.


HOMEWORK: There is a quiz next class on the Shakespeare slide shows. Don't worry - it's OPEN NOTE.


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