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Romeo and Juliet Preview Acts 1 3

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This is a preview of Ticking Mind's exciting new Romeo and Juliet textbook.

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Romeo and Juliet Preview Acts 1 3

  1. 1. Ticking Mind Classics Preview © TICKING M IND
  2. 2. Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo & Juliet and how to write a truly impressive essay on it Copyright © Ticking Mind 2018 All rights reserved. Except under the conditions described in the Copyright Act 1968 of Australia and subsequent amendments, no part of this publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. First Published 2018 by: Ticking Mind Publications, Northcote. ISBN XXXXXXXXXX Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  3. 3. 5ROMEO & JULIET INTRODUCTION How this book is set out: While, at its heart, this book is an edition of Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Juliet, it is also so much more. It’s a handbook for understanding the play and thinking about the char- acters, themes, symbols, ideas and language in it. There are also a range of activities and resources to help you get your head around these ideas and write a truly impressive essay. This book has a number of things to help you navigate your way around the play: 1. At the top of each page, there is a brief, irreverent summary of what is going on in the part of the play you are about to read. It’s called ‘What the…?’, because that’s what most students say when they start to read Shakespeare. The What the…? section comes before the play because it’s a whole lot easier to read Shakespeare’s words when you have a basic understanding of what is going on. 2. On the right page, or facing page, there are a number of thinking activities. These are designed to help you further understand the characters, language and ideas that Shakespeare is writing about in his play. These activities are the sorts of things you will need to understand in order to write a great essay, and they are the sorts of activities that will help you write more insightfully. 3. Beside the original text of the play are some icons. They are different on every page, and the reason they are there is so that you can flip through your text and find quotes and key scenes for the different ideas that these icons represent. Sometimes the icons represent different themes, sometimes they are about the setting of the play and sometimes they are about the symbolism that Shakespeare uses. There will be more details about these icons later in this introduction. 4. At the end of each scene there are some sustained writing tasks. These will help you start to write your ideas in more detail and are focused on the themes you will be asked to write about in a typical class. Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  4. 4. 6 7ROMEO JULIET Taking Notes: Read the ‘What the...?’ overview and then circle or underline parts of a passage and explain what is happening in the note taking space. Read the information on the right-hand page and then circle or underline parts of a passage you think illustrate something important, then explain what is being illustrated in the note-taking space. The icons on the left of the play script are there to direct your attention to important ideas, images and themes, but they don’t identify specific words. Circle the words you think are symbolic or illustrate a key theme and explain this reference in the note-taking space. Circle things that don’t make sense and jot your questions in the note taking space. Write a comment about anything else that you find interesting or note-worthy. A 23ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1 — The Opening Scene ACT1 All of the fighting has led to the cops being called, but there are no cops. Instead, we have Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, and he’s absolutely fed up with the moronic fights that keep happening between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s not sur- prising, then that he gives everyone a good tongue lashing in this scene. He says all the men involved in the fights are “beasts” who are only happy when there’s “purple fountains” (i.e blood) coming out of veins. Gross. At the end of his speech he says that anyone who is stupid enough to “disturb our streets again” will be punished. By death. Eek! PRINCE: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. ) For this time, all the rest depart away: You Capulet; shall go along with me: And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO What the…? 22 The words “three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets” tell us a few things about the setting of Verona. 1. Violence between the Montagues and Capulets has recently been a big problem in Verona. 2. It’s Montague and Capulet whose “airy” or silly words have been responsible for the fights starting. This tells us that Romeo and Juliet live in a world where their parents have resurrected a feud between two houses. The Prince speaks angrily about the violence the Capulets and Montagues are inflicting on each other. However, interestingly, the threatens the men currently fighting with “torture” if they don’t drop the “pain of death”. Are further threats of violence the best way to stop the current violence? PLOT NEWSFLASH: PRINCEANNOUNCES DEATH PENALTY FOR ANYONE WHO DISTURBS THE PEACE Verona. Today. broke out between theMontague and Capuletstoday on the streets ofVerona, Prince Escalusannounced a drasticnew measure to stop theviolence: Anyone now foundguilty of inciting violence onthe streets will be sentencedto death. In a short, but angryspeech, the Prince com-plained that the recent spateof violence had been started only by an “airy word”, ortrivial insult, but had ledto citizens taking sides inthe age old feud betweenhouse Montague and houseCapulet. It would be a rash personindeed who now decided totest the Prince on his resolveto stamp out violence inVerona. Who would nowbe stupid enough to start -tenced to death? 23ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1 — The Opening Scene ACT1 All of the fighting has led to the cops being called, but there are no cops. Instead, we have Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, and he’s absolutely fed up with the moronic fights that keep happening between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s not sur- prising, then that he gives everyone a good tongue lashing in this scene. He says all the men involved in the fights are “beasts” who are only happy when there’s “purple fountains” (i.e blood) coming out of veins. Gross. At the end of his speech he says that anyone who is stupid enough to “disturb our streets again” will be punished. By death. Eek! PRINCE: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. ) For this time, all the rest depart away: You Capulet; shall go along with me: And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO What the…? 22 The words “three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets” tell us a few things about the setting of Verona. 1. Violence between the Montagues and Capulets has recently been a big problem in Verona. 2. It’s Montague and Capulet whose “airy” or silly words have been responsible for the fights starting. This tells us that Romeo and Juliet live in a world where their parents have resurrected a feud between two houses. The Prince speaks angrily about the violence the Capulets and Montagues are inflicting on each other. However, interestingly, the threatens the men currently fighting with “torture” if they don’t drop the “pain of death”. Are further threats of violence the best way to stop the current violence? PLOT NEWSFLASH: PRINCEANNOUNCES DEATH PENALTY FOR ANYONE WHO DISTURBS THE PEACE Verona. Today. broke out between theMontague and Capuletstoday on the streets ofVerona, Prince Escalusannounced a drasticnew measure to stop theviolence: Anyone now foundguilty of inciting violence onthe streets will be sentencedto death. In a short, but angryspeech, the Prince com-plained that the recent spateof violence had been started only by an “airy word”, ortrivial insult, but had ledto citizens taking sides inthe age old feud betweenhouse Montague and houseCapulet. It would be a rash personindeed who now decided totest the Prince on his resolveto stamp out violence inVerona. Who would nowbe stupid enough to start -tenced to death? 23ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1 — The Opening Scene ACT1 All of the fighting has led to the cops being called, but there are no cops. Instead, we have Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, and he’s absolutely fed up with the moronic fights that keep happening between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s not sur- prising, then that he gives everyone a good tongue lashing in this scene. He says all the men involved in the fights are “beasts” who are only happy when there’s “purple fountains” (i.e blood) coming out of veins. Gross. At the end of his speech he says that anyone who is stupid enough to “disturb our streets again” will be punished. By death. Eek! PRINCE: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. ) For this time, all the rest depart away: You Capulet; shall go along with me: And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO What the…? 22 The words “three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets” tell us a few things about the setting of Verona. 1. Violence between the Montagues and Capulets has recently been a big problem in Verona. 2. It’s Montague and Capulet whose “airy” or silly words have been responsible for the fights starting. This tells us that Romeo and Juliet live in a world where their parents have resurrected a feud between two houses. The Prince speaks angrily about the violence the Capulets and Montagues are inflicting on each other. However, interestingly, the threatens the men currently fighting with “torture” if they don’t drop the “pain of death”. Are further threats of violence the best way to stop the current violence? PLOT NEWSFLASH: PRINCEANNOUNCES DEATH PENALTY FOR ANYONE WHO DISTURBS THE PEACE Verona. Today. broke out between theMontague and Capuletstoday on the streets ofVerona, Prince Escalusannounced a drasticnew measure to stop theviolence: Anyone now foundguilty of inciting violence onthe streets will be sentencedto death. In a short, but angryspeech, the Prince com-plained that the recent spateof violence had been started only by an “airy word”, ortrivial insult, but had ledto citizens taking sides inthe age old feud betweenhouse Montague and houseCapulet. It would be a rash personindeed who now decided totest the Prince on his resolveto stamp out violence inVerona. Who would nowbe stupid enough to start -tenced to death? 23ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1 — The Opening Scene ACT1 All of the fighting has led to the cops being called, but there are no cops. Instead, we have Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, and he’s absolutely fed up with the moronic fights that keep happening between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s not sur- prising, then that he gives everyone a good tongue lashing in this scene. He says all the men involved in the fights are “beasts” who are only happy when there’s “purple fountains” (i.e blood) coming out of veins. Gross. At the end of his speech he says that anyone who is stupid enough to “disturb our streets again” will be punished. By death. Eek! PRINCE: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. ) For this time, all the rest depart away: You Capulet; shall go along with me: And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO What the…? 22 The words “three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets” tell us a few things about the setting of Verona. 1. Violence between the Montagues and Capulets has recently been a big problem in Verona. 2. It’s Montague and Capulet whose “airy” or silly words have been responsible for the fights starting. This tells us that Romeo and Juliet live in a world where their parents have resurrected a feud between two houses. The Prince speaks angrily about the violence the Capulets and Montagues are inflicting on each other. However, interestingly, the threatens the men currently fighting with “torture” if they don’t drop the “pain of death”. Are further threats of violence the best way to stop the current violence? PLOT NEWSFLASH: PRINCEANNOUNCES DEATH PENALTY FOR ANYONE WHO DISTURBS THE PEACE Verona. Today. broke out between theMontague and Capuletstoday on the streets ofVerona, Prince Escalusannounced a drasticnew measure to stop theviolence: Anyone now foundguilty of inciting violence onthe streets will be sentencedto death. In a short, but angryspeech, the Prince com-plained that the recent spateof violence had been started only by an “airy word”, ortrivial insult, but had ledto citizens taking sides inthe age old feud betweenhouse Montague and houseCapulet. It would be a rash personindeed who now decided totest the Prince on his resolveto stamp out violence inVerona. Who would nowbe stupid enough to start -tenced to death? EXAMPLE ANNOTATED PAGE A C B D E The prince is angry with the people for fighting What does this mean? It’s been common for people to fight in Verona Something is wrong with peace - it’s like people are sick Only Capulet and Montague get in trouble - because they’re the leaders and should know better Understanding Shakespearean language One of the things that students (and teachers) find difficult about reading Shakespeare is the language he uses. In this version of Romeo and Juliet, we’ve broken each scene into smaller, bite-size passages to make the task of grappling with Shakespeare’s language easier. Here are a few hacks we suggest you use to help you understand each passage. 1. Read the ‘What the…?’ section first: When you know a bit about what you’re going to read, you’re more likely to understand it as you read it. 2. Read the script beneath: Don’t worry too much about every individual word, but see if you can find the events or feelings described by the ‘What the…?’ section. Circle or underline any important words that help you understand the action. 3. Re-read: After you’ve read the play script, read the ‘What the…?’ section again to see if there’s anything you missed and then re-read the script. 4. Take notes: In the left hand side of every page of play script is space for you to take notes. Using this space well will help you both think about and better understand the text. Below are five ways you can take notes with an example of each in the image here. C B D E Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  5. 5. 8 9ROMEO JULIET When you’re reading a Shakespearean play, it’s helpful to know what sort of things to expect. Shakespeare’s plays are divided into two separate categories - they are either tragedies or they’re comedies. Each has a predictable plot structure you can follow. It’s easy to tell the difference between tragedies and comedies because if more people are dead than alive at the end of the play, it’s a tragedy. Romeo and Juliet has a body count, so it’s a tragedy. Tragedy has the easy-to-follow structure outlined below. What happens in the play: ACT 1 ACT 2 ACT 3 ACT 4 ACT 5 The exposition: Rising complication: The climax: The falling action: The resolution: You are introduced to the main characters and the world in which they live. The central complication leads to a whole bunch of other, additional complications that no one anticipated. The most dramatic part of all the action. Something super important happens and the hero of the play has an important decision to make that will lead to a happy or tragic ending. In a tragedy, the audience is usually lead to the false hope that the hero can get out of his predicament and save the day. In the case of a tragedy, it’s more like a catastrophe. The hero dies or is punished for the poor decisions that he has made. You’re introduced to the world of Verona, where the Montague family is having a massive feud with the Capulet family. Part of the exposition phase of the play is also outlining the major conflict. In Romeo and Juliet, the major conflict is that Romeo Montague falls in love with Juliet Capulet. Cue the dramatic music… Romeo and Juliet get married, but they only tell some characters, not their parents or any one else in their families. So the feud continues… Romeo gets into a fight with Tybalt Capulet, leading to the death of both his best friend, Mercutio. Already you can start to count bodies. Romeo is booted out of Verona, separated from Juliet, and it seems like he can’t get back… Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan and it looks a bit like Romeo and Juliet might live happily ever after. But can they…? Because this is Shakespeare, it’s not just the hero who dies. Both Romeo and Juliet cop it (remember that Tybalt and Mercutio have already died) and Romeo kills Paris (who wanted to marry Juliet); Romeo’s mum also croaks it. So, yes, it’s a tragedy. Prologue Charaters + Setting Denouement Tone + Moral Conflict Rising Action Climax Falling Action Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  6. 6. 10 11ROMEO JULIET There are characters who belong to the Capulet family and characters who belong to the Montagues. There are also characters who belong to neither family. The character map below will help you make sense of where everyone belongs. Who is in the play: MONTAGUES NEUTRAL CAPULETS Romeo Benvolio Lord and Lady Montague’s nephew, Romeo’s cousin Prince Escalus Mercutio Escalus’ cousin and Romeo’s best friend Friar Laurence Priest to both Romeo and Juliet Count Paris Rich, handsome, single and wants to marry Juliet THE FEUDING FAMILIES Nurse Has looked after Juliet since birth Tybalt Lord and Lady Capulet’s nephew, Juliet’s cousin Lord Montague Lady Montague Lord Capulet Lady Capulet Juliet Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  7. 7. 12 13ROMEO JULIET Why it’s important While lots of people think that Romeo and Juliet is all about love, in fact many of the characters show us the opposite end of this spectrum: there is an awful lot of hate in Verona. You could argue that none of the characters in Verona actually seem to know what love is: they all give different descrip- tions of love but, for many of them, love sounds a fair bit like lust. Why it’s important What is the role of fate in our lives? Some people are convinced that fate rules their lives, that star signs are important and that there is some higher force guiding them. This is also the case in Romeo and Juliet - some of the characters believe that fate governs their lives; you might have heard the phrase ‘star-crossed lovers’ to describe Romeo and Juliet - this means that some people believe the two love-birds were destined to have a sticky end. Why it’s important Lots of the characters in Romeo and Juliet rush into various decisions - they don’t think their actions through and they therefore make some pretty poor choices. On the other hand, there are some characters who take ages to make a decision and act. Only you, as the reader (or audience) of the play, can decide whether or not making hasty decisions is a good idea. But Shakespeare gives his characters some fairly horrific consequences for their decisions. Why it’s important Many of the older characters in Romeo and Juliet are contrasted with the younger characters. The oldies also comment upon the vigour and enthusi- asm of the youth- but it’s not like the ancient ones don’t behave like kids themselves at times. What is the play about ? In most English classrooms, teachers will discuss texts in terms of themes. This is one of those concepts that students find really confusing or difficult to begin with, but really it just means the big ideas a text is about. That is, a text is about more than just the plot and the characters - usually an author (or, in this case, a playwright) is trying to say something about how we, as people, think about the important things in life. Shakespeare is a bit over-the-top, so he presents us with opposite extremes of an idea. Usually characters rep- resent different aspects or extremes of an idea. To help you understand which parts of a text explore particular themes, we’ve put icons throughout the play. Below, you’ll find a run down of the themes and the icons that signpost them throughout the text. Key Idea Key Idea Key Idea Key Idea Age Love Hate Youth Haste Patience Fate Self Determination Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  8. 8. 14 15ROMEO JULIET Symbol or Image Icon Words Shakespeare uses for this symbol Why it’s important Masculinity anything to do with sex and violence, references to how women should behave  Men in Verona have all the power and are expected to behave in strong and sexual ways. Women are expected to follow orders from men. Shakespeare explores how this creates a destructive environment for both men and women. Ripeness harvesting, buds, ripe fruit Ripeness is both an illustration that women are ready to ‘harvest’ and have sex with and also that there is the right time and place for certain things. Sex tools, thrusting, pricks, swords, being wanton Sex is constantly on the minds of characters, but they speak of it quite differently: for some characters it’s linked to violence and for others it’s linked to pleasure or sensuality and natural cycles. Light sun, bright Light emphasises the good, hopeful or innocent motivations of characters. Flowers flower, bud Flowers emphasise beauty at its peak - when things are at their best; buds repre- sent the beginnings of this. Religion being holy, church, angels, god, pilgrims, saints Religious references empha- sise that characters think of things such as love as a belief system like religion. Symbols and Imagery: Shakespeare’s characters don’t always clearly and directly tell us how they feel. Instead, they sometimes use words and create pictures that symbolise or show how they feel or show us what the world of Verona is like. These symbols and images are Shakespearean tools to explore the themes in the play. To help you understand where symbols and images are in the play, we’ve put icons through- out the text. Below is a rundown of the symbols and images and the icons that will be used to signpost them. Symbol or Image Icon Words Shakespeare uses for this symbol Why it’s important Sickness illness, needing a cure, needing medicine Sickness is a symbol of the unhealthiness and destructiveness of characters’ behaviour. Poison poisonous plants, toxic chemicals Poison symbolises the consequences of letting the destructive or ‘bad’ part of ourselves become too powerful: we poison or destroy others or ourselves. Madness references to minds not working properly Madness is used to emphasise how strong emotions can make us behave in a ‘mad’ or unhealthy way. Shakespeare also refers to passion or love as a kind of madness. Violence blood, pain, weapons Characters not only engage in violence but speak about feelings in a violent way, emphasising how strong emotions can sometimes be destructive. Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  9. 9. 16 17ROMEO JULIET Techniques Shakespeare employs a number of techniques or literary devices throughout Romeo and Juliet in order to heighten the drama of the play and better represent the key ideas. Symbol or Image Icon Words Shakespeare might use Why it’s important Foreboding darkness, stars, consequences, characters worrying about the future Foreboding is the feeling that something is going to go badly wrong. Shakespeare uses it to create tension and also to underline that characters consciously make decisions that they know could have disastrous outcomes. Oxymorons pairs of opposite descriptions like “bright darkness” An oxymoron is a contradictory description such as “a good evil person”. Shakespearean oxymorons emphasise conflicts. Setting anything that tells us what daily life is or has been like for characters Shakespeare shows us that characters make decisions that are influenced by how people normally behave in the world of Verona. Classical references references to history, Roman gods and myths, books and stories References to history and myths would have helped Shakespeare’s audience understand what characters are thinking and feeling in the same way we might refer to modern films and books to explain events - i.e. ‘He cast a spell like Harry Potter'. ACT 1 l Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  10. 10. ACT1 18 19ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Insights, Notes, Annotations Think about the prologue as being like a trailer for a movie - it’s going to give us an overview of the whole story and focus on some of the most important bits: the Montagues and Capulets have been fighting for yonks; Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are going to fall in love, get hopelessly involved in this fight and end up dead; the whole play is going to take two hours. What the…? 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; Whose 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. The prologue of Romeo and Juliet is designed to ‘set the scene’ and give you a round-up of all the events you’re about to see. Apparently Shakespeare’s audience didn’t care about plot spoilers. This prologue is also written as a sonnet, which is a sort of poem. A sonnet has 14 lines and Shakespeare divided his sonnets up into three quartets (groups of four lines) and a final couplet. Each section has its own little meaning. Section What it’s about Why it’s important 1st Quartet: Lines 1-4 Listen up, guys, this play is set in a town called Verona, a place dominated by two important households that operate like rival gangs. Ages back, they had an ‘ancient grudge’ and, just recently, this has exploded into a new seriesof bloody fights. These two quartets together make an octet, the main idea of a sonnet. Here, the main idea is the entire plot. 2nd Quartet: Lines 5-8 Each of these gang leaders has a kid, conceived by their ‘fatal loins’ (the bit between their legs, erk!), and these kids are about to fall in love with each other - and be ‘star-crossed lovers’ - and then kill themselves (we warned you - plot spoilers!). When all of this happens, their parents will realise how dumb they’ve been and stop fighting. 3rd Quartet: Lines 9-12 Because you know this play is going to have a sticky ending, you will be filled with fear for the two doomed kids and irrita- tion at the stupid feuding families, who couldn’t stop bickering until their own children were dead. And you’re going to watch this for the next two hours, because that’s how long the play will last. The last six lines of a sonnet are called a sestet, which is the part of a sonnet that gives you an alternative viewpoint. This sestet is about the audi- ence’s reactions to the actions outlined above. Couplet: Lines 13-14 I know you tuned out for most of this, because it was a poem at the beginning of a play but, don’t worry, if you watch the play you’ll figure all this out anyway. Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  11. 11. ACT1 20 BEFORE YOU READ THIS SCENE, YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… 21ROMEO JULIET When you are studying a text, one of the things you will discuss (both in class and, later on, in an essay) is setting. Students often find it difficult to get their head around what setting is. So, here is a very brief explanation. There are two parts to a setting - the physical setting and the cultural setting. The physical setting is the land- scape, the houses and all of the stuff you could see, if you were actually in Verona. In the case of Romeo and Juliet, the physical setting is a city, and it’s the part of the city that really rich people live in. Houses are massive (really, they’re mansions) and the streets are spacious and beauti- ful. There’s not really much to analyse here, it’s just useful for helping you visualise the action. The cultural setting is far more interesting, from an analysis point of view. The cultural setting is made up of the things people think and the things they do. That is, what is ‘normal’ for the people of Verona. It’s probably not a huge shock to you, but the cultural setting of Verona is quite different from your ‘real life’ cultural setting. To get an indication of what is ‘normal’ in Verona, we have to analyse the thoughts and actions of the ordinary people in the play. So, ATTITUDE + ACTIONS = CULTURAL SETTING This first scene will show us how ordinary people think and behave in Verona. ACT1ACT1ACT1ACT1ACT1ACT1ACT1 ACT 1.1 — The Opening Scene Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  12. 12. ACT1 22 23ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene sampson: I strike quickly, being moved. gregory: But thou art not quickly moved to strike. sampson: A dog of the house of Montague moves me. gregory: To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand: therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn’st away. sampson: A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s. gregory: That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall. sampson:True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall. gregory: The quarrel is between our masters and us their men. sampson: ’Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids, and cut off their heads. gregory: The heads of the maids? sampson: Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt. gregory: Draw thy tool! Here comes Two of the house of the Montagues. What the…? The first two people we see in the play are a couple of random Capulets. They’re not important people but, here they’re trying to impress each other with how tough they are. There’s a lot of word play (which would have been hilarious to a Shakespearean audience) about how quick they are to thrust their swords in a fight and thrust their (ahem) …penises… at the young women they know. While they’re telling each other what studs they are, a couple of Montague boys turn up and it looks like there is going to be some thrusting. For real. The setting of the play is established by these two nobodies. Shakespeare wants his audience to understand how ordinary people in Verona behave and think. Sampson and Gregory are desperately trying to assert their masculinity. We, as a modern audience can see exactly what a Shakespearean audience would have seen: these two men have a two-track mind - sex and violence. That’s what’s normal for young men of Verona. When Sampson boasts about how he will thrust his [Montague’s] maids to the wall he is essentially saying that, as a man of the Capulet house, he can have any woman, including a Montague woman. Sampson discusses violence and having sex with women in the one sentence, when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids, and cut off their heads. When he refers to ‘heads’ he means their maidenhead, which is a reference to virginity. Sampson is telling us that he imagines raping virgins. This kind of language seems acceptable to both of the men in the conversation, and gives us a real insight into the sorts of attitudes that were widely held in Verona. Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  13. 13. ACT1 24 25 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Sampson and Gregory are “biting their thumb” at Abraham and Gregory, who are servants from the Capulet house, to try and provoke them into a fight. Biting your thumb might seem like a really stupid thing to do - but it was actually the olden days equivalent of sticking up your middle finger (i.e. flipping the bird) at someone. Following the instruction Gregory gave him, Sampson has whipped out his weapon (and thank goodness it’s a sword). But now that both these big, strong men have their swords out, they’re having a little melt-down about what to do with them. They want to fight, but they don’t want to get in trouble for fighting. Gregory has the brilliant idea of frowning at them in a scary way and Sampson goes one better by flipping him the Shakespearean bird (biting his thumb). Abraham is pretty baffled by a random bird 'flip', but doesn’t really want to fight, which is why he says, 'Quarrel sir! no sir.’ So, in the end, Sampson just cuts to the chase and tells the Montagues to fight unless they want to be considered big girly girls. sampson: My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee. gregory: How! turn thy back and run? sampson: Fear me not. gregory: No, marry; I fear thee! sampson: Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin. gregory: I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list. sampson: Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir. abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? sampson: [Aside to Gregory] Is the law of our side, if I say ay? gregory: No. sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir. gregory: Do you quarrel, sir? What the…? Sampson and Gregory are trying to outdo each other as ‘masculine heroes’ in this scene, but they are also not quite brave. Sampson tries to show he’s a man by getting out his “weapon” and then tells Gregory to start the fight. Gregory then has a go at Sampson and accuses him of being about to “run” instead of fight. Sex and violence are linked throughout the play. Sampson actually calls his weapon a “naked weapon”. Remember, in Romeo and Juliet, if something sounds like a sex joke, it’s a sex joke. Here, “weapon” does mean his sword but it’s also a joke about getting his “naked” penis out because he’s being such a ‘man’. STUPIDITY GAUGE Really Stupid Dumb Silly Understandable Reasonable Really Sensible Throughout the play you’ll come across lots of moments where characters make on-the-spot decisions to do really dumb stuff. This is a great example of one of those moments. Gregory and Sampson egg each other on to be all manly. Then they decide to fight Abraham and Balthasar just because that would be a manly thing to do. Stupid, huh? abraham: Quarrel sir! no, sir. sampson: If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you. abraham: No better. sampson: Well, sir. Draw, if you be men. They fight Insights, Notes, Annotations Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  14. 14. ACT1 26 27 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene What the…? Well, the action starts to get pretty intense here. In the previous two pages, we saw the attitudes of ordinary folk, but here we meet some of the VIP Montague and Capulet characters for the first time. Benvolio (a Montague) tries to calm things down to begin with, but Tybalt (a Capulet) wants to knife someone pretty badly. Then, hilariously, old man Montague and old man Capulet see each other and start waving their swords around as if they were twenty and not, in fact, old geezers. benvolio: Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do. Enter TYBALT tybalt: What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death. benvolio: I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me. tybalt: What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward! They fight enter other citizens of Verona citizen: Strike! Beat them down! Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues! Enter CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPULET capulet: What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho! lady capulet: a crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword? capulet: My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, and flourishes his blade in spite of me. Enter MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE montague: Thou villain Capulet,--hold me not, let me go. lady montague: thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe. Enter PRINCE, with attendants Tybaltisagenuine,100%psychopathnutteranddoeshisbesttomake everything worse in every scene he features in. With the words “look upon thy death” and “I hate” peace, he demonstrates an extraordinarily violent attitude. Violent Peaceful In the introduction of this book, we discussed themes as an exploration of opposite ideas. Romeo and Juliet is full of opposing ideas. Here, we see the characters represent the opposing forces of violence and peace. Not only are Benvolio and Tybalt on different sides of the feud, they also have different views about violence. Look at the spectrum of emojis below. Choose the emoji that best represents how Benvolio feels about these ideas and then choose a different emoji for the character of Tybalt. Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  15. 15. ACT1 29ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Insights, Notes, Annotations All of the fighting has led to the cops being called, but there are no cops. Instead, we have Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, and he’s absolutely fed up with the moronic fights that keep happening between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s not sur- prising, then, that he gives everyone a good tongue lashing in this scene. He says all the men involved in the fights are “beasts” who are only happy when there’s “purple fountains” (i.e. blood) coming out of veins. Gross. At the end of his speech he says that anyone who is stupid enough to “disturb our streets again” will be punished. By death. Eek! prince: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,-- Will they not hear? What, ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistemper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate: If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. ) For this time, all the rest depart away: You Capulet; shall go along with me: And, Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but MONTAGUE, LADY MONTAGUE, and BENVOLIO What the…? 28 The words “three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets” tell us a few things about the setting of Verona. 1. Violence between the Montagues and Capulets has recently been a big problem in Verona. 2. It’s Montague and Capulet whose “airy” or silly words have been responsible for the fights starting. This tells us that Romeo and Juliet live in a world where their parents have resurrected a feud between two houses. The Prince speaks angrily about the violence the Capulets and Montagues are inflicting on each other. However, interestingly, the only solution the Prince offers is the threat of more violence. He threatens the men currently fighting with “torture” if they don’t drop their weapons and says anyone caught starting a fight again will suffer the “pain of death”. Are further threats of violence the best way to stop the current violence? PLOT NEWSFLASH: PRINCE ANNOUNCES DEATH PENALTY FOR ANYONE WHO DISTURBS THE PEACEVerona. Today. After a third bloody fightbroke out between theMontague and Capulets todayon the streets of Verona,Prince Escalus announceda drastic new measure tostop the violence: Anyonenow found guilty of incitingviolence on the streets will besentenced to death. In a short but angry speech,the Prince complained thatthe recent spate of violencehad been started only by an“airy word”, or trivial insult, but had led to citizens takingsides in the age old feudbetween house Montague andhouse Capulet. It would be a rash personindeed who now decided totest the Prince on his resolveto stamp out violence inVerona. Who would now bestupid enough to start a fightand risk being sentenced todeath? ACT1 Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  16. 16. ACT1 30 31ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Insights, Notes, Annotations What the…? Having been totally embarrassed by the solid burn Prince Escalus has given him, Old Man Montague wants to know who caused the fight in the first place. Benvolio gives him the lowdown, but Lady Montague is more interested in her son, Romeo. With his old lady looking on, Montague tries to be parent of the year, showing that he knows Romeo’s been going off on his own in the morning, crying and locking himself in his room and blocking out the sun. In other words, a total emo. Benvolio tells them to step aside, leave him to work his magic as Romeo’s bestie and find out what’s going on. montague: Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? benvolio: Here were the servants of your adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach: I drew to part them: in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared, While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more and fought on part and part Till the prince came, who parted either part. lady montague: O, where is Romeo? saw you him to-day? Right glad I am he was not at this fray. benvolio: Madam, an hour before the worshipp’d sun Peer’d forth the golden window of the east, A troubled mind drove me to walk abroad; Where, underneath the grove of sycamore That westward rooteth from the city’s side So early walking did I see your son: montague: Many a morning hath he there been seen, With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew. Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs; But all so soon as the all-cheering sun Should in the furthest east begin to draw The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed, Away from the light steals home my heavy son, And private in his chamber pens himself, Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out And makes himself an artificial night: Black and portentous must this humour prove, Unless good counsel may the cause remove. benvolio: My noble uncle, do you know the cause? ALREADY WATCHED: Emo Romeo! Romeo’s having some serious and dark emotions because there’s some type of trouble in his life Foreshadowing is when something happens in a story that provides a warning about a really, really bad thing that will occur at the end. Think about what we learn about Romeo’s behaviour in this scene and look at the simple plot chart below. How does his current behaviour foreshadow what will happen later? montague: I neither know it nor can learn of him. Enter ROMEO benvolio: See, where he comes: so please you, step aside; I’ll know his grievance, or be much denied. COMING UP LATER: OH NO, Romeo! Romeo kills himself in a ‘fit’ of emotion when he sees what he thinks is Juliet’s dead body. COMING UP NEXT: Romeo finds love again! Romeo meets Juliet, but since they’re from different, feuding houses there’s a few issues in his life Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  17. 17. ACT1 32 33ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene It’s important to note that the first time we meet Romeo he is in love. Being in love and over-the-top emotional is kind of his thing (check out the chart below). But (spoiler alert), he’s not in love with Juliet. Here, it’s another girl whose name is Rosalind. Romeo is also not involved in any of the fighting so far, because he’s a lover, not a fighter. Shakespeare was really keen on a literary device called an oxymoron. It’snotamoronwho’sanox.It’sactuallywhereyouputtwocontradictory words together, like ‘loving hate’.Throughout Romeo andJuliet, you’ll see lots of oxymorons and this emphasises the conflict between opposing ideas. In this speech of Romeo’s, he is trying to point out that the feud between the Montagues and Capulets is because the love family members feel for others in their own family makes them want to stick with traditions such as fighting with the enemies. So that’s why Romeo sees ‘loving hate’ or ‘brawling love’. Whenever you see an oxymoron in this play, it’s a sign that Shakespeare is trying to make his audience see two sides of an issue. Insights, Notes, Annotations For the first time, we meet Romeo, the ‘hero’ of this whole drama. Benvolio, who has done nothing but say a Shakespearean ‘Good morning’, finds himself with a salty Romeo, who’s having a sook that it’s morning and he’s in love with someone who has zilch interest in him and blah, blah, blah. After this royal whingefest, Romeo suddenly realises that there has been a fight (a fray), and asks Benvolio to explain what went down. Before Benvolio can open his mouth, Romeo loses interest because it’s part of the old Montague-Capulet drama and he’s heard it all before. So he goes on a bit of a rant about how wrong everything is. benvolio: Good-morrow, cousin. romeo: Is the day so young? benvolio: But new struck nine. romeo: Ay me! sad hours seem long. Was that my father that went hence so fast? benvolio: It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours? romeo: Not having that, which, having, makes them short. benvolio: In love? romeo: Out of her favour, where I am in love. benvolio: Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof! romeo: Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first create! O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this. Dost thou not laugh? What the…? ALREADY WATCHED: When we first meet Romeo he’s desperately in love with Rosalind, can’t imagine being with anyone else and thinks life is not worth living because she won’t love him back. COMING UP LATER: Romeo is forced to stay away from Juliet and thinks this is the worst thing that has ever happened…in like…the entire history of the universe and thinks that life is not worth living and yada, yada, yada…you get the picture. COMING UP NEXT: Romeo meets Juliet and immediately falls passionately in love with her and can’t imagine being with anyone else and really needs to be in a relationship with her right now! Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  18. 18. ACT1 34 35 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Having had a good rant at Benvolio, Romeo returns to his favourite topic of conver- sation: how he’s in love. He tells Benvolio that even talking about being in love makes him feel sad. But it doesn’t really seem to stop him. Romeo ends this passage with the huge revelation that it is a woman he loves, in case there was some confusion that he was anything other than a raging heterosexual. benvolio: No, coz, I rather weep. romeo: Good heart, at what? benvolio: At thy good heart’s oppression. romeo: Why, such is love’s transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs; Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes; Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears: What is it else? a madness most discreet, A choking gall and a preserving sweet. benvolio: Tell me in sadness, who is that you love. romeo: What, shall I groan and tell thee? benvolio: Groan! why, no. But sadly tell me who. romeo: Bid a sick man in sadness make his will: Ah, word ill urged to one that is so ill! In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman. benvolio: I aim’d so near, when I supposed you loved. romeo: A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love. What the…? Romeo is really setting himself up here as the expert in love. Although he says to Benvolio Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, Which thou wilt propagate to have it prest (translation, ‘I feel sad at heart and you’ll make my sadness grow if you ask me to talk about it), he then goes on to mansplain all about love. What is interesting is that Romeo describes love as blowing smoke in your eyes and making you mad. That is, he thinks that love is a source of misery that makes you blind to others around you. Romeo says This means Impact later on in the play Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs Love blinds you Romeo doesn’t ‘see’ the implications of any of his actions Being vex’d a sea nour- ish’d with lovers’ tears Anger grows when your lover is teary Romeo becomes increas- ingly angry with the feud between the Montagues and Capulets and it is this anger that makes him fight with Tybalt later A madness most discreet Being in love makes you crazy Romeo’s decision-making ability is impaired by his love She’s fair I love The woman he’s in love with is beautiful He falls in love with Juliet because she is beautiful Amount of time Romeo spends talking about the person he supposedly loves Amount of time Romeo spends talking about his own feelings Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  19. 19. ACT1 36 37ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Insights, Notes, Annotations Here, we’re given the reason Romeo is having a sook: the woman he is in love with refuses to (ahem) ope[n] her lap: that is, she doesn’t want to sleep with him. Benvolio isn’t really interested in Romeo’s long-winded explanations and tells him to move on, forget this woman and meet other hotties. At this stage, Romeo is pretty sure that Benvolio won’t be able to teach him to forget, but Benvolio takes the bet, essentially saying to Romeo at the end of this scene, “You’re on. benvolio: A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit. romeo: Well, in that hit you miss: she’ll not be hit With Cupid’s arrow; she hath Dian’s wit; And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d, From love’s weak childish bow she lives unharm’d. She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes, Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold: O, she is rich in beauty, only poor, That when she dies with beauty dies her store. benvolio: Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste? romeo: She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste, For beauty starved with her severity Cuts beauty off from all posterity. She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair, To merit bliss by making me despair: She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow Do I live dead that live to tell it now. benvolio: Be ruled by me, forget to think of her. romeo: O, teach me how I should forget to think. benvolio: By giving liberty unto thine eyes; Examine other beauties. romeo: Show me a mistress that is passing fair, What doth her beauty serve, but as a note Where I may read who pass’d that passing fair? Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget. benvolio: I’ll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt. Exeunt What the…? In this conversation between Benvolio and Romeo, we learn a lot about the attitude men in this setting have about women. Attitude Evidence 1. Love is a violent hunt she’ll not be hit/With Cupid’s arrow she is well arm’d she will not stay the siege 2. Women’s beauty means that they are designed to be sexually available to men she is rich in beauty, only poor/That when she dies with beauty dies her store in that sparing makes huge waste For beauty starved with her severity 3. Romeo has even thought of paying this woman to sleep with him Nor open her lap to saint-seducing gold' Classical Reference alert : Cupid is the demigod of love Diana (here called Dian) is the virgin goddess; she is also the goddess of the hunt and is represented by the moon Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  20. 20. ACT1 38 39ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.1—The Opening Scene Writing about this scene Each of the essay questions you will be asked to write about Romeo and Juliet provide you with an opportunity to discuss the setting. All of the questions invite you to discuss how the setting contributes to the events and decisions of the play. Since Scene One is really about showing us what the setting of the play is like, we need to 'practice' writing about it. At the start of this scene we said: ATTITUDE + ACTIONS = CULTURAL SETTING Culture is the way people normally do things. So the cultural setting of Romeo and Juliet is the way people normally behave in this city. Follow the instructions in the chart below to think about how the attitude and the actions of the characters in the first scene create the cultural setting. Attitude + Actions = Cultural Setting Circle the words below which describe the attitude that most characters have in the first scene Circle the words below that describe the actions that characters take in the first scene Using the words in the first two columns to help you, try finishing these sentence starters to write some simple statements about the setting of the play relaxed sexist emotionally charged reasonable peaceful masculine aggressive violent impetuous careful thoughtful slow passionate hasty Verona is a place dom- inated by… Verona is a place where people think… Verona is a place where people often… Now you’ve done some initial thinking about the setting, it’s time to practise writing the types of sentences you might use in an essay. In the chart below, there are sentence starters and sentence add-ons that you can use to write sentences about settings. Combine starters from the first column with add-ons from the second column to write at least two different sentences. In the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet, From the outset of the play, Even from the first scene of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet… By beginning his play with a fight, Shakespeare portrays the world of Verona as…and… depicts Verona as being a place of…and… demonstrates that Verona is a profoundly…and…world. the characters demonstrate the… and…nature of Verona. Shakespeare highlights the…and… existence of people in Verona. Now, let’s look at writing sentences where we use evidence. Fill in the gaps and finish the ends of these sentence fragments to write at least three sentences about the opening scene. You’ll need to look back over the scene to find quotes and evidence to use in your sentences. Verona’s…and…culture is evident in the way… The…and…nature of Verona is represented through…. The actions and attitude of characters such as…who say…epitomise the… [Character name]’s belief that…emphasises that in Verona it’s normal and acceptable to… Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  21. 21. ACT1 40 41ROMEO JULIET Insights, Notes, Annotations ACT 1.2— Men discussing love What the…? This scene opens with Capulet’s take on Escalus – he points out that both he and Montague are old geezers who shouldn’t find it too hard not to fight (even though in the previous scene he got his sword out straight away!). He’s talking to Paris, a young man who wants to marry Capulet’s daughter, Juliet. Here, Paris follows the time-honoured tradition of sucking up to the old man of a girl you like (“Of honour- able reckoning are you both”), before getting down to the nitty gritty of whether he can have his wicked way with her. At this point in the play, Capulet thinks Juliet is a bit too young to get married and suggests that Paris look around for other hotties at a party tonight. capulet: But Montague is bound as well as I, In penalty alike; and ‘tis not hard, I think, For men so old as we to keep the peace. paris: Of honourable reckoning are you both; And pity ‘tis you lived at odds so long. But now, my lord, what say you to my suit? capulet: But saying o’er what I have said before: My child is yet a stranger in the world; She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, Let two more summers wither in their pride, Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. paris: Younger than she are happy mothers made. capulet: And too soon marr’d are those so early made. The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she, She is the hopeful lady of my earth: But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, My will to her consent is but a part; An she agree, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice. This night I hold an old accustom’d feast, Whereto I have invited many a guest, Such as I love; and you, among the store, One more, most welcome, makes my number more. At my poor house look to behold this night Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light. Among fresh female buds shall you this night And like her most whose merit most shall be [To servant] Go, sirrah, trudge about Through fair Verona; find those persons out Whose names are written there, and to them say, My house and welcome on their pleasure stay. Exeunt CAPULET and PARIS Three things we learn about Juliet in this scene: 1. She’s 13: “She hath not seen the change of fourteen years” 2. She’s an only child because Capulet’s other children have died: “The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she, She is the hopeful lady of my earth” 3. While girls as young as 13 do get married, Capulet does not want that for his daughter because he thinks it breaks them: “too soon marr’d are those so early made.” Capulet’s three-point action plan for Paris to marry his daughter Capulet says: In other words woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, She needs to fall in love with you, Paris My will to her consent is but a part; An she agree, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice. It only matters a little bit what my opinion about the marriage is is, it matters most what she thinks behold this night Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light. Among fresh female buds shall you this night And like her most whose merit most shall be Come along to my party tonight. See all the other attractive women, maybe one of those will be more to your fancy than my daughter. Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  22. 22. ACT1 42 43ROMEO JULIET Insights, Notes, Annotations Because Capulet is having a party, and there’s no social media, he’s sent a servant out with a list of people to invite. The list is pretty useless to the servant, because he can’t read, so he gets Romeo to read it for him. Benvolio instantly realises that Rosaline, Romeo’s crush, is going to be at this Capulet shindig, but she’s not going to be the only cute girl there. He tells Romeo to Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow. Romeo is still convinced that Rosaline is the best thing since spaghetti (it is Italy, peeps!), and actually suggests that he is the head honcho of his own private religion 'worshiping' Rosaline. Weird. What the…? servant: God gi’ god-den. I pray, sir, can you read? romeo: Ay, if I know the letters and the language. Reads a list of names of people to be invited to the party. A fair assembly: whither should they come? servant: Up. romeo: Whither? servant: To supper; to our house. romeo: Whose house? servant: My master’s. romeo: Indeed, I should have ask’d you that before. servant: Now I’ll tell you without asking: my master is the great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. benvolio: At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so lovest, With all the admired beauties of Verona: Go thither; and, with untainted eye, Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow. romeo: When the devout religion of mine eye Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fires; And these, who often drown’d could never die, Transprent heretics, be burnt for liars! One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun. benvolio: Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by, Herself poised with herself in either eye: But in that crystal scales let there be weigh’d Your lady’s love against some other maid That I will show you shining at this feast, And she shall scant show well that now shows best. romeo: I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendor of mine own. The idea of fate is a central concern in Romeo and Juliet, but there are other ways of looking at this idea. In this scene, the Montague boys first decide to crash the Capulet party. If they hadn’t done this, Romeo would never have met Juliet and this whole play would be entirely different. There are a few different reasons for going to the party that are outlined in this passage. Have a look at them in the table below and think about this: Do these reasons show us some force of ‘fate’ is making Romeo go to the party, or is it Romeo making his own decisions? Fate Romeo’s decision 1. There’s nothing to do in Verona since Escalus banned fighting 2. Romeo will get the chance to see Rosaline again 3. There are going to be all the admired beauties of Verona there 4. Benvolio thinks that Romeo is only in love with Rosaline because there were no other girls around at the time (none else being by) Also, throughout the play, Romeo receives different advice from different people. In this scene, Benvolio is giving his opinion about what Romeo should do. How would you rate how well Benvolio: a. understands Romeo and his problems? /5 b. gives good advice? /5 ACT 1.2— Men discussing love Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  23. 23. ACT1 44 45ROMEO JULIET Writing about this scene In response to all of the essay questions you will be asked to write about on Romeo and Juliet, you’ll need to say something about characters and their motivations. So, since in this second scene we begin to get to know some of the characters and what they think a bit better, we’re going to practise writing about their motivations. Let’s do some writing about Capulet first. Have a go writing two sentences about Capulet. For each sentence, use one thing from each column. Initially in the play, Capulet… At the start of the play, Capulet… is concerned about… focuses on… wants only… because… since… even though… In your essays you’ll need to use evidence, so you should practise using some quotes from Capulet. Write two sentences about Capulet. For each sentence, use one thing from each column. Capulet says…. “The earth hath swallow’d all my hopes but she” “My will to her consent is but a part” highlighting… revealing… demonstrating… Now, let’s go through a similar process for Romeo. Have a go writing two sentences about Romeo. For each sentence, use one thing from each column. Romeo’s attendance at the party where he meets Juliet is driven by… the result of… a reaction to… which because and You’ll need to practise using quotes for Romeo as well. Have a go writing one sentence. Use one thing from each column. Romeo labels Rosaline as… “the devout religion of mine eye” “fairer than… the all-seeing sun” highlighting… revealing… demonstrating… ACT 1.2— Men discussing love Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  24. 24. ACT1 46 47ROMEO JULIET Insights, Notes, Annotations ACT 1.3—Capulet women discuss marriage Lady Capulet’s head is about to explode with a secret she wants to tell her daughter, Juliet. So she struts in and demands the Nurse (who’s like Juliet’s nanny) call for her daughter (Lady Capulet apparently being unable to use her own mouth to do this). When Juliet arrives, Lady Capulet gets down to having a DM with Juliet, or ‘talk in secret’ so she tells the Nurse to bugger off. But just as she’s doing this she realises – wait for it… – she has no real relationship with Juliet at all because it’s the nurse that does all the parenting. So she gets the nurse to stay after all. What the…? lady capulet: Nurse, where’s my daughter? call her forth to me. nurse: Now, by my maidenhead, at twelve year old, I bade her come. What, lamb! what, ladybird! God forbid! Where’s this girl? What, Juliet! Enter JULIET juliet: How now! who calls? nurse: Your mother. juliet: Madam, I am here. What is your will? lady capulet: This is the matter:–Nurse, give leave awhile, We must talk in secret:–nurse, come back again; I have remember’d me, thou’s hear our counsel. Thou know’st my daughter’s of a pretty age. nurse: Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour. lady capulet: She’s not fourteen. nurse: I’ll lay fourteen of my teeth,– And yet, to my teeth be it spoken, I have but four– She is not fourteen. How long is it now To Lammas-tide? lady capulet: A fortnight and odd days. For the first time, here we meet Juliet’s nurse, who is a major player in the first half of this play. The first thing that comes out of the Nurse’s mouth is a reference to when she lost her virginity (her ‘maidenhead’) at the age of twelve. That is, she doesn’t say ‘OMG’ like an ordinary person, she says ‘by my maidenhead’. Sex is never far from the nurse’s mind. She’s a very earthy person, who delights in the sensual pleasures of life. This sense of her as a feeler, not a thinker, is further accentuated when she admits that she doesn’t know what day it is, and has to ask Lady Capulet what the date is. Lady Capulet’s relationship with her daughter and the Nurse’s rela- tionship with Juliet are shown to us fairly clearly in the first two lines: lady capulet: Call her forth to me. nurse: What…ladybird! The Nurse affectionately calls Juliet a ‘ladybird,’ whereas Lady Capulet tells her to get her ass in here quick. Thinking about this passage, which of the emojis below do you think might go with The Nurse’s character and which with Lady Capulet’s character? Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  25. 25. ACT1 48 49ROMEO JULIET Insights, Notes, Annotations What the…? The previous passage finished with Lady Capulet talking about Juliet’s age. The Nurse somehow takes this as a cue to launch into a longwinded story about Juliet growing up. The Nurse first talks about Lammas-eve (look on the opposite page) being Juliet’s birthday and that it’s also the birthday of her dead daughter (Susan). She then relates a completely awkward and entirely inappropriate story about Juliet falling on her face as a kid and the Nurse’s husband joking that she’ll fall on her back when she grows up instead. What’s (not) funny about this? Well, you fall on your back when you have sex with someone. Not surprisingly, Lady Capulet tells the Nurse to shut it. nurse: Even or odd, of all days in the year, Come Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen. Susan and she–God rest all Christian souls!– Were of an age: well, Susan is with God; She was too good for me: but, as I said, On Lammas-eve at night shall she be fourteen; That shall she, marry; I remember it well. ‘Tis since the earthquake now eleven years; And she was wean’d,–I never shall forget it,– Of all the days of the year, upon that day: And since that time it is eleven years; For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood, She could have run and waddled all about; For even the day before, she broke her brow: And then my husband–God be with his soul! A’ was a merry man–took up the child: ‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit; Wilt thou not, Jule?’ and, by my holidame, The pretty wretch left crying and said ‘Ay.’ To see, now, how a jest shall come about! I warrant, an I should live a thousand years, I never should forget it: ‘Wilt thou not, Jule?’ quoth he; And, pretty fool, it stinted and said ‘Ay.’ lady capulet: Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace. In this passage the Nurse discusses her own daughter, Susan, who would have been the same age as Juliet, if she had lived. The reason this Nurse is looking after Juliet is that she would have been breast- feeding her own daughter at the same time that Juliet needed to be breastfed. Lady Capulet (because she is from the upper class) would have outsourced this task to someone from the lower classes – the Nurse. So, for the Nurse, death is an integral part of life: if her daughter had not died, she may not have had Juliet to look after. The Nurse loves Juliet so much because she is a substitute for her own daughter. The Nurse says that on “Lammas-eve…Juliet shall be fourteen” .Lammas Day is a harvest festival. It’s when people in Europe used to celebrate bringing in the wheat or barley. Lammas-eve, of course, is the night before, like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. What’s all this got to do with sex and Juliet? Well, Juliet is linked here to a harvest festival. As a woman she is something that can be harvested and consumed like wheat when she’s ripe. Except the ‘harvesting’ is really having sex with her when she’s “ripe” (i.e. sexually mature). In fact, “ripe” is the very word her father used to describe when he was talking to Paris back in Scene Two. He said that Juliet was not yet “ripe”. Lady Capulet thinks differently. The Nurse reveals a lot about attitudes towards sex. She relates the joke her husband tells about how Juliet will “Fall backward” (i.e. liter- ally get “laid” on her back when she has sex) when she’s older, which tells us a couple of things. 1. Forthe Nurse and her husband, discussing young women having sex is a normal part of life 2. Using sex is a smart way for a woman to get ahead (because Mr Nurse has suggested that falling backward needs ‘more wit’, or more intelligence) ACT 1.3—Capulet women discuss marriage Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  26. 26. ACT1 50 51ROMEO JULIET Insights, Notes, Annotations What the…? The nurse finally stops talking about her husband imagining Juliet having sex (which is a relief for all of us), and instead starts on about Juliet getting married. This is exactly the segueway that Lady Capulet has been looking for, and so LC asks Juliet how she feels about getting hitched. Not at all, Juliet says. This gives her mum the irrits and she straight away points out that many girls of Juliet’s age are already married and, in fact, LC was herself was already a mother when she was thirteen and Juliet is being a little bit precious about this whole marriage caper, thank you very much. The Nurse chips in with a sex joke at the end. Of course. nurse: Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace! Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed: An I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish. lady capulet: Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet, stands your disposition to be married? juliet: It is an honour that I dream not of. nurse: An honour! were not I thine only nurse, I would say thou hadst suck’d wisdom from thy teat. lady capulet: Well, think of marriage now; younger than you, Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, Are made already mothers: by my count, I was your mother much upon these years That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief: The valiant Paris seeks you for his love. nurse: A man, young lady! lady, such a man As all the world–why, he’s a man of wax. lady capulet: Verona’s summer hath not such a flower. nurse: Nay, he’s a flower; in faith, a very flower. lady capulet: What say you? can you love the gentleman? This night you shall behold him at our feast; Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face, And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen; That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory, That in gold clasps locks in the golden story; Although this is a scene between only women, we can instantly see how their lives are shaped by the masculine environment around them. Idea Evidence Men marry women who are much younger than them Lord Capulet is much older (in his late forties) than Lady Capulet (who is 26) Women can only get money through marriage Lady Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris because he is wealthy Women don’t have many choices about whom to marry Juliet is given one possible option for her future husband: Paris When women are married, it is their job to provide children for the men Lady Capulet talks of women ‘made mothers’ and the Nurse says ‘women grow by men’ So shall you share all that he doth possess, By having him, making yourself no less. nurse: No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men. lady capulet: Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love? juliet: I’ll look to like, if looking liking move: But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly. servant: Madam, the guests are come. nurse: Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days. ACT 1.3—Capulet women discuss marriage Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  27. 27. ACT1 52 53ROMEO JULIET Writing about this scene The pressure Lady Capulet puts on Juliet to get married in Scene Three is an important con- tributing factor to Juliet’s subsequent behaviour in the play. In an essay where you are ana- lysing Juliet’s decision making, you might write sentences like: Juliet’s decisions are not just the result of her youthful innocence, but also the pressure from her mother’s arguments that “younger” girls than Juliet “are made already mothers. A sentence like this begins by considering the right word to describe Lady Capulet’s actions towards Juliet. Which of these words is the right one? Circle one or two words. Word Meaning urges If you urge someone to do something, you try hard to persuade them to do it, often by giving them a strong reason or motivation. insists If you insist that something should be done, you say so very firmly and refuse to give in about it. forces If someone forces you to do something, they make you do it even though you do not want to, for example by threatening you. compels If a situation, a rule, or a person compels you to do something, they make you feel as if you have no other choice 'about to act'. pressures If you pressure someone to do something, you try to use a range of strategies or things to get them to do some- thing they are reluctant to do. Definitions are adapted from: Collins COBuild Dictionary Now, let’s consider some evidence to put in our sentence. Here are two arguments Lady Capulet makes to Juliet: 1. “younger than you,Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, Are made already mothers” 2. “I was your mother much upon these years” Try writing two sentences using the quotes from above. In the first sentence, use one of the words from the list above (i.e. urges, insists, etc…) at the start, and put in a quote in the second part of the sentence. For the second sentence, try putting the quote at the start and analyse what this shows us about the setting in the second half of the sentence. Analysis first Quote second Lady Capulet … Juliet to marry, arguing… Analysis first Quote second Lady Capulet’s argument that… reveals that for women Verona is… We also learn afew importantthings aboutthe Nurse inthis scene.The Nurse’s attitudes and actions will be an important influence on Juliet’s fate over the course of the play. When you read this scene, you will have seen that there are two parts to the Nurse’s character – the half that makes inappropriate chatter and the half that obviously cares deeply about Juliet. Try writing one sentence about the Nurse’s character by combining words from Section 1 with words in Section 2. Afterthis, write a follow-up sentence with the words from Section 3. 1. From the very beginning of the play, the Nurse is… characterised as… represented as… portrayed as... 2. thoughtless irresponsible immature bawdy (tells funny stories or jokes about sex) indecorous (doesn’t behave in a proper way) through the way she… when she… in that she… 3. Yet she is also… However, she is also... caring nurturing kind loving in her focus on… in the attention she pays to… because of the way she… ACT 1.3—Capulet women discuss marriage Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  28. 28. ACT1 54 55ROMEO JULIET For the first time, we meet Romeo’s BFF, Mercutio. And, as will become increasingly clear over this scene, he is cr-AZ-y. His name is related to the word ‘mercurial’, which means ‘unpredictable’ or ‘erratic’ and you’re certainly going to see a lot of that. Mercutio rep- resents the very craziest aspects of people. He’s interested in all the parts of life that don’t involve much thinking: partying, fighting, sex and dreaming. What Romeo says about himself What Mercutio advises Romeo to do I will bear the light – meaning that he’ll be a torch bearer so that others can see to dance. Dance, baby! I have a soul of lead. You’re in love! You should have Cupid’s wings and feel on top of the world! Love is a heavy burden. You’re doing it all wrong, you’re making it heavy. Love is too rough. If love be rough with you, be rough with love, meaning have some rough and dirty sex. Sex is really the solution here. Insights, Notes, Annotations So Romeo and Benvolio are off to the Capulet party, because there’s nothing stupid about crashing the party of your mortal enemy. Tagging along for the event is Mercutio, a good mate of Romeo’s and also a relative of Prince Escalus. This passage starts with Romeo moaning (yes, he’s at it again) about feeling heavy and Mercutio shoots back that he should dance. What happens after this is a bit of back and forth where Romeo continues to whinge and Mercutio gives him some advice about what he should do instead. What the…? ACT 1.4 romeo: Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light. mercutio: Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance. romeo: Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead So stakes me to the ground I cannot move. mercutio: You are a lover; borrow Cupid's wings, And soar with them above a common bound. romeo: I am too sore enpierced with his shaft To soar with his light feathers, and so bound, I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe: Under love's heavy burden do I sink. mercutio: And, to sink in it, should you burden love; Too great oppression for a tender thing. romeo: Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. mercutio: If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down. romeo: A torch for me: let wantons light of heart Tickle the senseless rushes with their heels, For I am proverb'd with a grandsire phrase; (age icon I'll be a candle-holder, and look on. The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  29. 29. ACT1 56 57 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET You’ve already met one character who is completely crazy – Tybalt. Now you can add Mercutio to the list of nutbags in Romeo and Juliet. He has no interest in discussing Romeo’s feelings and really wants to focus on having a party. Whenever Mercutio is around, he makes the action bigger: more violent and more disturbing. He amplifies the feelings of the people around him. When he’s with Romeo, he becomes crazy detailed with his descriptions of weird and random dreams (checkout a picture below of the Queen Mab fairy he describes in his dream in this passage); later, when he’s with Tybalt, he becomes nutso violent. What the…? By now, Mercutio is getting pretty tired of his mopey friend Romeo – he wants to go to a party and have a good night, so when Romeo starts banging on about having had a dream, Mercutio goes one bigger, describing an epic dream that he had (although it’s pretty clear that he’s making it all up) about the Queen of the Fairies, Queen Mab, driving her fairy carriage around and making men have violent and sexy dreams. Mercutio’s got a pretty amazing (and disturbing) imagination, so here, when he’s mocking Romeo, he really goes to town with a genuinely weird dream. ACT 1.4 romeo: I dream'd a dream to-night. mercutio: And so did I. romeo: Well, what was yours? mercutio: That dreamers often lie. romeo: In bed asleep, while they do dream things true. mercutio: O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep; Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs, Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film, Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat, Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub, Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers. And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love; O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight, O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees, Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck, And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, ; and then anon Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes, And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two And sleeps again. This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs, That presses them and learns them first to bear, Making them women of good carriage: This is she— Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  30. 30. ACT1 58 59 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.4 What the…? Romeo tells Mercutio he’s talking a load of rubbish (“Thou talk’st of nothing” are the actual words he uses) and Mercutio (who is a complete smarty pants) responds by saying that’s technically true, because dreams are “nothing,” like “air”. Benvolio is now completely weirded out and suggests they should refocus on actually getting to the party. Then Romeo suddenly announces “my mind misgives” and that the party could actually be a “fearful date” that will lead to “death”. But in true teenager style, he then simply shrugs his shoulders, says the equivalent of “ah…whatever” and keeps going. romeo: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace! Thou talk'st of nothing. mercutio: True, I talk of dreams, Which are the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, Which is as thin of substance as the air benvolio: This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves; Supper is done, and we shall come too late. romeo: 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. benvolio: Strike, drum. Romeo’s speech in this passage is all about getting the heeby-jee- bies about bad stuff that could happen. In other words, a heavy dose of foreboding. His words that there is a “consequence yet hanging in the stars” and the party is a “fearful date” are both ways of talking about fate – that something bad is destined to happen. That bad thing, of course, is “death”. In fact, Romeo is pretty sure that the party will mark the start of his date with death; that’s what he means when he says, begin his fearful date / With this night’s revels and expire the term / Of a despised life closed in my breast. The his in this quote refers to Death, and apparently Romeo thinks Death despises him and wants to kill him. However, the foreboding that Romeo feels comes partly from his own state of mind, but also from a whole bunch of stuff that is hap- pening in Verona. Below, are a few things that might make Romeo feel that bad stuff is going down – do you think you might feel the same, if you were in his position? The violence of the opening scene Romeo’s belief that life is nothing without Rosalind Prince Ecalus’ threat of the death penalty Mercutio’s unsettling dream “For my mind misgive some consequence yet hanging in the stars ” Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  31. 31. ACT1 60 61ROMEO JULIET ACT 1.4 Writing about this scene Scene Four is essentially about Mercutio. So why might you need to write about him in an essay? Well, Mercutio is a very powerful embodiment of all the lunacy around him. He is a symbol of how volatile and extreme the world of Verona and the people in it can be. So, if you want to write about how the craziness of the characters surrounding Romeo and Juliet affects them for the worse, then there’s no better example than Mercutio. First, think about the crazy stuff that has happened so far: Action Description Gregory and Sampson goading Capulet servants into a fight impulsive, foolhardy Montague and Capulet joining the fight impetuous Tybalt’s “Peace, I hate the word” speech extreme, violent The Prince’s order for the death penalty for those who fight again sudden, abrupt Romeo’s decision to gatecrash the Capulet party incautious, unwise We can link Mercutio to the actions above in a sentence such as: Mercutio amplifies the extreme and incautious actions of those around him such as Romeo’s decision to gatecrash the Capulet party and the Prince’s sudden and abrupt decision to implement the death penalty. ‘Amplify’ means to increase. Some other words for ‘amplify’ are: • 'magnify' • 'intensify' • 'heighten' Try writing a sentence such as the model one above by filling out the blanks in this sentence. Use another word for ‘amplify’ as well as different examples: Mercutio the actions of those around him such as and Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech is at the centre of this scene and it’s this that really shows him off as an A-grade nutbag. You can use this speech as evidence to analyse the crazy nature of other characters like this: Mercutio’s weird Queen Mab speech where he describes a gnat driving a carriage made of 'spiders' legs' symbolises the strange and volatile behaviour of those around him, such as Romeo’s decision to gatecrash the Capulet party and the Prince’s sudden and abrupt decision to implement the death penalty. 1. Write a sentence about Mercutio’s dream following the model above. Words for ‘weird’ Words for ‘speech’ strange bizarre disturbing unsettling rant monologue oration diatribe 2. Look again at Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech. What’s something weird he says in it that you can use as a quote? 3. Finally, pick a verb to use in your sentence: • embodies • symbolises • epitomizes • represents 4. Now, put it all into a sentence. Below, the model sentence has been broken up to help you write your own sentence. The words in italics you can use in your own sentence. The words in bold you’ll need to change to your own writing. Mercutio’s weird Queen Mab speech where he describes a gnat driving a carriage made of 'spiders' legs' (put in your own quote) symbolises (use your own verb) the strange and volatile behaviour of those around him such as Romeo’s decision to gatecrash the Capulet party and the Prince’s sudden and abrupt decision to implement the death penalty (put in your own example). Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  32. 32. ACT1 62 63ROMEO JULIET 3. Provide plenty of space (‘give room!’) so that you can really get things moving on the dance floor. ACT 1.5—The Party What the…? It’s a party. A Shakespearean party. Lord Capulet is saying ‘Hi’ to everyone that turns up. Well, everyone that’s a bloke anyway. Not only is he assuring his male guests that he’s pretty happy to see them, but he’s also saying that there are a lot of hot, young women ready to dance (have a bout) with them. It’s a dress-up party, so all of the young peeps are wearing a mask, or visor. While Capulet is busy telling everyone how welcome they are, he is also thinking about his glory days, when he was young and able to party like it was 1599. Enter CAPULET, with JULIET and others of his house, meeting the Guests and Maskers capulet: Welcome, gentlemen! ladies that have their toes Unplagued with corns will have a bout with you. Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day That I have worn a visor and could tell A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear, Such as would please: 'tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis gone: You are welcome, gentlemen! come, musicians, play. A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls. Music plays, and they dance More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up, And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot. Ah, sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well. Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet; For you and I are past our dancing days: How long is't now since last yourself and I Were in a mask? second capulet: By’r lady, thirty years. capulet: What, man! 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much. CAPULET’S GUIDE TO AN AWESOME PARTY 1. Have plenty of young women, whose toes are ‘Unplagued with corns’ (don’t have any of those unsightly bunions or callouses that old ladies get) to dance with. 2. Wear a mask so that you can whisper dirty things into a ‘fair lady’s ear’ and they won’t know who you are. 4. Make sure there is ‘More light’ so you can see everyone having a rocking time. 5. Be YoungP It’s embarrassing when ‘so much’ time has passed that you can’t even remember how old you are. Insights, Notes, Annotations Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  33. 33. ACT1 64 65 Insights, Notes, Annotations ROMEO JULIET What the…? This scene switches between looking at Capulet at the party and Romeo at the party. This bit is about Romeo. Here’s what happens: For the first time, Romeo claps eyes on Juliet. And he thinks she’s hot. Smokin’ hot. Beside her, he thinks all of the other girls he’s seen are complete dogs (or crows: Shakespeare’s audience obviously used different animals in their descriptions). He can’t wait to touch her hand. Racy. In fact, now that he’s seen Juliet, he’s pretty sure he was never even in love with Rosalind. ACT 1.5—The Party romeo: [To a Servingman] What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand Of yonder knight? servant: I know not, sir. romeo: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. About Rosaline About Juliet Romeo’s words One fairer than my love! the all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun. Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, Translation The sun has never seen anyone more beautiful than Rosaline. Juliet is too beautiful for this world. She’s like a dove and the other people around her ‘crows’. Throughout this play, Shakespeare uses a lot of images (or symbols) of light. Light is almost always a symbol of goodness or purity, whereas dark usually symbolises evil or questionable behaviour. Remember when Lord Montague was first discussing Romeo’s emo behaviour with Benvolio and Lady M? He said: Away from the light steals home my heavy son, And private in his chamber pens himself, Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out He was worried that Romeo was embracing his dark (or evil) side and perhaps turning into a villain. If something is volatile it changes suddenly and dramatically. which is volatile is something which changes suddenly and dramatically. It’s an ideal word to describe Romeo. Think about how he described Rosaline barely a few hours ago (in Sc. 2) and what he’s saying now about Juliet? Volatile heart, much? Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND
  34. 34. ACT1 66 67ROMEO JULIET Tybalt wants to kill Romeo because he’s worried Romeo might jeer (laugh at) or scorn at (insult) the Capulets. Imagine going to school with Tybalt. Draw a line between events below and possible solu- tions Tybalt might employ. Insights, Notes, Annotations Capulet says… …which means: “He bears him like a portly gentleman” He seems to be as well behaved as even an old guy like me “Verona brags of him/To be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth” Everyone says he’s a decent guy I would not for the wealth of all the town/ Here in my house do him disparagement” You couldn’t pay me enough to say something nasty about him, espe- cially when he’s here in my own house Back to Capulet…this time listening to the ranting of Tybalt. Tybalt has just spotted Romeo in the house and he’s going nuts, saying it’s totally okay to kill Romeo because he’s probablycome to the partyto mock the Capulets. Capulet tells his young cousin to take a chill pill because he’s being a downer and wrecking the party vibe for everyone. tybalt: This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave Come hither, cover'd with an antic face, To jeer and scorn at our solemnity? Now, by the stock and honour of my kin, To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin. capulet: Why, how now, kinsman! wherefore storm you so? tybalt: Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe, A villain that is hither come in spite, To scorn at our solemnity this night. capulet: Young Romeo is it? tybalt: Tis he, that villain Romeo. capulet: Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone; He bears him like a portly gentleman; And, to say truth, Verona brags of him To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth: I would not for the wealth of all the town Here in my house do him disparagement: Therefore be patient, take no note of him: It is my will, the which if thou respect, Show a fair presence and put off these frowns, And ill-beseeming semblance for a feast. This is a really unusual scene, because we’re getting an idea of how the world of Verona sees Romeo. So far, we’ve just seen Romeo around his friends and family but, in this scene, Capulet tells us what the word on the street is about Romeo. Event for Tybalt A solution for Tybalt Tybalt teased when his footy team loses kill everyone not related to him Tybalt getting a solid burn talk calmly to others and reach a peaceful solution Tybalt worrying he might get mocked stab the person to death Tybalt having had a personality transplant choke the person to death What the…? ACT 1.5—The Party Preview © TICKING M IND Preview © TICKING M IND

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