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Romeo and Juliet: A closer look
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Romeo and Juliet: A closer look


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A review of terms studied during Mr. Sheehy's unit on Romeo and Juliet, as well as the rundown of a few of the most important speeches from the play.

A review of terms studied during Mr. Sheehy's unit on Romeo and Juliet, as well as the rundown of a few of the most important speeches from the play.

Published in: Education

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  • 1. Shakespeare: A closer look English 9
  • 2. The Prologue
    • Two households, both alike in dignity
      • Two families who are basically the same
    • In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
      • In Verona, a nice place where this play takes place
    • From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
      • (these families), Who have been fighting for a looong time, break into new rounds of fighting
    • Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
      • And that fighting between fellow civilians draws other, law-abiding (“civil”) people or brings them guilt too.
  • 3. The Prologue
    • From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
    • A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
      • Each of these rival families had a child, and they are the doomed lovers of the play
    • Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
    • Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.
      • And their tragic, sad story, which transcended the hatred of their families, ends with their death and finally finishes the war between the families.
  • 4. The Prologue
    • The fearful passage of their death-marked love,
      • This scary way of their doomed love
    • And the continuance of the parents’ rage,
      • And the way their parents continue to fight
    • Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
      • And that fighting could be stopped only by their children’s death
    • Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
      • Is the topic of the coming play
  • 5. The Prologue
    • The which if you with patient ears attend,
      • The play, if you will listen patiently
    • What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
      • Will fill in anything that is unclear from our prologue.
  • 6. The Prologue: Beyond the surface
    • Word Play (puns!) – meaning one thing while bringing to mind another
      • civil blood makes civil hands unclean
      • with their death bury their parents’ strife
      • A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life
      • The fearful passage of their death-marked love
    • Emerging themes
      • Fate: fatal loins, star-crossed lovers
      • Good coming from bad: Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove
  • 7. Terms to know from Go!
    • Aside : a character’s brief remark, made to the audience
      • Another character can hear it only when explicitly mentioned in the text (“aside to Gregory”)
    • Monologue : a long speech given by a character
      • Other characters can hear it
  • 8. Pun: defined
    • A play on words
    • The word in question means more than one thing, giving the statement a type of double meaning
    • Example : Mercutio tells Romeo what his dream was about:
      • Romeo : Well, what was yours?
      • Mercutio : That dreamers often lie.
  • 9. Oxymoron : defined
    • A contradiction
    • that at first seems impossible, but makes sense in the context it is used.
    • paired opposites
    • It is a literary play on words, similar to a pun.
  • 10. Soliloquies
    • Definition: when a character talks to himself so the audience can hear.
    • A character always tells the truth in a soliloquy.
    • If other characters are on stage, they cannot hear the speaker’s words.
  • 11. Romeo’s Soliloquy
    • Hyperbole : when a writer exaggerates to highlight a point being made
    • Imagery to look for
      • Light (day, night, sun, moon, stars)
    • What’s he doing?
      • Admiring her beauty
      • Deciding whether to talk to her
  • 12. Romeo’s soliloquy
    • But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! (ll. 2-3)
      • Here begins the metaphor and imagery of Juliet as light. Note that Romeo exalts Juliet above the stars, sun, and moon.
    • Her eye discourses; I will answer it. I am too bold; ‘tis not to me she speaks (ll. 13-14)
      • He’s trying to decide whether to speak to her and whether he might be the object of her amorous looks.
  • 13. Romeo’s soliloquy
    • What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night (ll. 18-22).
    • Back to the light imagery, again exalting Juliet as a source of light
    • Ever turn on a light during the day? Connect with the image.
    • Note how passionate his speech is.
  • 14. Juliet’s famous soliloquy
    • She is not aware of Romeo’s presence.
    • She focuses on the silliness of the families’ battle – he is who he is, no matter what title he carries.
    • She brings the image of a transaction – trade your name in and take me in exchange.
  • 15. Mercutio’s Last Words
    • Continues to play, even in death
      • “’ tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but ‘tis enough, ‘twill serve.”
      • “ Ask for me tomorrow, and you will find me a grave man.”
      • “ . . . a cat, to scratch a man to death!”
    • Moments of seriousness
      • “ A plague on both your houses!” (but what about this?)
      • “ Why the devil came you between us?”
  • 16. Romeo, Ruled by Rashness
    • Romeo regrets his prior “lenity,” or thoughtfulness towards Tybalt
      • “ away to heaven respective lenity”
    • He vows that passionate anger will be his manner instead of kindness
      • “ fire-eyed fury be my conduct now”
    • His motivation is clearly revenge for Mercutio
  • 17. Juliet’s Frustration with Romeo
    • She laments the contradictions present in Romeo
      • Waxes with a long list of oxymorons
      • The theme is that Romeo is beautiful on the outside and ugly within
    • This marks the only moment of wavering in Juliet’s love for Romeo
    • Moments later, she will regret these thoughts
  • 18. Papa Capulet goes overboard
    • Here, Capulet finishes his train of abuse against Juliet with a threat
    • The threat : wed Paris Thursday
      • “or never after look me in the face”
    • He declares to his wife that having her is having a curse
      • “we have a curse in having her”
    • Sounds like he’ll regret such anger, eh?
  • 19. The Nurse’s worst advice
    • Marry Paris – he’s hot
      • “ I think it best you married with the County, O, he’s a lovely gentleman!”
    • Still judging physical intimacy as the only important thing
      • “ Your first is dead – or ‘twere as good he were As living here and you no use of him.”
    • This is the last time Juliet trusts the Nurse
  • 20. Romeo’s final words
    • Begins by noting the contradictions of life
      • “How oft when men are at the point of death Have they been merry!” (though says this is not the case with him)
    • Observes that Juliet has color in her face
      • “beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there.”
      • Dramatic irony here!
  • 21. Romeo’s final words
    • Speaks of himself as a victim of fate
      • “Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!”
      • “O, here / Will I . . . shake the yoke of inauspicious stars / From this world-wearied flesh.”