ROMEO AND JULIET ACT 1

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1 ROMEO AND JULIET ACT 1 Prologue 1. Name the Italian city where the play is set. 2. What effect will the deaths of the star-crossed lovers have on the feud between their parents? 3.1 What is the poetic form of this prologue? 3.2 What function does the poetic form serve? 1.1 What is your first impression of Benvolio? 1.2 What is your first impression of Tybalt? 2. What does the Prince threaten to do if Montague and Capulet threaten the peace of Verona again? 3. What symptoms of a hopeless lover does Romeo exhibit? 4. Romeo is upset at the news of the fight. What does this reveal about his character? 5. What kind of experience of love has Romeo had thus far? 6. What remedy does Benvolio prescribe for Romeo s love-sickness? 7. Complete the table below showing the members of the households of Montague, Capulet and Prince Escalus. Montague Capulet Prince Escalus 1. How old is Juliet? 2. Describe her father s attitude towards Juliet in his conversation with Paris. 3. How does Romeo come to know about he planned festivities at the Capulet s? 4. Who is Romeo pining for? 5. How does Benvolio s speech at the end of this scene prepare us for later events in the play? 1. What do we learn about the Nurse from this scene? 2. Why are we again reminded of Juliet s age? 3.1 How does Juliet respond to her mother s talk of marriage? 3.2 Why does she react this way?

2 Scene 4&5 1. What is your impression of Mercutio from this scene? 2. Capulet plays the genial host. Apart from his comedy of words, what other information do we learn from his conversation with his cousin. 3. Compare Romeo s speech Oh she doth teach the torches with his speeches about Rosaline from Act1, Sc Do you find him more convincing? 3.2 Why / Why not? 5.1 Why does Capulet refuse to allow Tybalt to attack Romeo at the feast? 5.2 How does this make Tybalt feel? 6. The first meeting between Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous scenes in the play. 6.1 What do you notice about the poetic structure of their shared speech? 6.2 Why does Shakespeare choose this structure? 6.3 Explain the complex metaphor which forms the basis of their flirtation. 6.4 Are you convinced that the love-at-first-sight of these two is genuine? Why / Why not? 7. How do Romeo and Juliet react when they learn that they are from feuding families?

3 ROMEO AND JULIET- SUGGESTED ANSWERS ACT 1 (ANSWERS) Prologue 1. Verona 2. The feud will come to an end bury their parents strife 3.1 sonnet 3.2 introduces the theme of love - quiets the audience before the play starts - sets the scene without using elaborate scenery 1.1 Translated, his name means well-wishing. He is a gentle peacemaker whose character does not alter throughout the play. 1.2 He is a belligerent headstrong youth who wants to continue the feud between with the Montagues. 2. He threatens to have them executed. 3. sleeplessness ; a desire to be left alone ; weeping and sighing; a dislike of daylight ; inability to concentrate 4. He is not a warmonger and is extremely distressed at the news of fights as a result of his family s feud with the Capulets. 5. It has not been happy. He has not yet truly been in love. 6. Benvolio suggests that Romeo tries to forget about Rosaline and starts looking around at other women. 7. Montague Capulet Prince Escalus Montague Lady Montague Benvolio Romeo Balthazar, Abraham (servants) Capulet Lady Capulet Tybalt Juliet Rosaline The Nurse, Sampson, Gregory, Peter (servants) Prince Escalus Mercutio Paris Paris s page 1. almost 14 (13 two weeks before her 14 th birthday) 2. He is deeply concerned about Juliet s happiness. 3. Capulet gives the invitation to an illiterate messenger who asks Romeo to read it for him. 4. Rosaline 5. Benvolio s insistence that Romeo attends the supper to find some other maid in order to forget Rosaline prepares us for the important first meeting with Juliet.

4 1. She is talkative, has a good heart and a ready sense of humor. She has a special position in the Capulet household, so has a lot more freedom than an ordinary servant. 2. Although 14 was young, it was not excessively so in Shakespeare s time. She is not yet an adult and therefore quite immature, so we can hardly blame her when she is swayed by passion into making unwise decisions. 3.1 She is not excited, but willing to consider Paris as her future husband if her parents so wish. 3.2She behaves exactly as a young, well-brought-up lady should. Scene 4&5 1. Mercutio is a down-to-earth, no-nonsense character who has no time for dreams. 2. Capulet is at least fifty, if not closer to sixty (from his cousin s calculations). We are made aware of the disparity (gap) between the ages of the two generations in the play. 3.1 Yes, his speech seems to be more deeply felt. 3.2 He is certainly using far better poetry than in his speeches about Rosaline. 5.1 Romeo is well-thought of in Verona and Capulet does not want his party upset by a vulgar brawl. He is afraid of being executed by Prince Escalus. 5.2 He feels resentful, humiliated and is probably angry. 6.1 It is a sonnet, shared between them. 6.2 It was the conventional verse-medium for expressing love during Elizabethan times. By giving them a poem to share, Shakespeare joins them together as equals in love. 6.3 Romeo is a pilgrim, visiting the shrine of a saint; Juliet is the saint, the shrine is her body. He asks that she will grant his prayer (a kiss). 6.4 Hard to believe, but possible there is no shyness, just communication. 7 Both respond with horror, but their love already overcomes their hatred. There is no hint that the truth about their identities could stop them from loving each other.

5 ACT 2 Prologue 1. Who are the objects of: (a) old desire and (b) young affection 2. Explain why Juliet is said to steal love s sweet bait from fearful looks. 1. Romeo passes Capulet s orchard. Why can he not stop himself from going in? 2. Why does Romeo not wish to be found by his friends? 1.1 Who jests at scars that hath never felt a wound? 1.2 What is Romeo saying about this person s character? 2. Romeo s speech to Juliet from below the balcony is structured in blank verse as opposed to the rhyming couplets he earlier used in reference to Rosaline. What impression does this make on the audience? 3.1 What images are mostly used in this speech? 3.2 Why does Shakespeare choose to make use of this imagery? 4. O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? These words have so often been quoted and misunderstood. What exactly is Juliet asking? 5. Why is Juliet upset that Romeo has overheard her? 6. Juliet makes a vow to Romeo. What does this reveal about her character? 7. What agreement do the lover s reach at the end of their conversation? 1. Why is the Friar given such a long speech when we first meet him? 2.1 What is the Friar doing as he speaks? 2.2 What moral lessons does he learn from this? 3. How does the Friar react to Romeo s news that he wants to marry Juliet? 4. Why does Friar Laurence agree to help the young lovers? 5.1 What advice does the Friar give to Romeo at the end of this scene? 5.2 Do you think the young lovers are likely to listen? 6. What impression of the Friar do you get from this scene? Scene 4 1. What news concerning Tybalt do Mercutio and Benvolio discuss? 2.1 How do we know that Romeo is back to his normal self? 2.2 What does this tell us about his love for Juliet? 3. Why is the Nurse looking for Romeo? 4. What message does Romeo give to the Nurse for Juliet? Scene 5 1. How is Juliet feeling at the beginning of this scene? 2. Why does the Nurse take so long to deliver her message? Scene 6 1. Compare Romeo s attitude to love to that of the Friar. 2. How do you know the lover s are happy?

6 ACT 2 (ANSWERS) Prologue 1. (a) Rosaline (b) Juliet 2. She is like a fish that can only get the food it craves at the terrible risk of being caught on a hook. [Her love for Romeo is dangerous their families are feuding. She risks everything, even her own life in the end, to be with him]. 1. His heart (Juliet) is there and he cannot move far without it. 2. He has no time for the jokes of his friends who cannot understand how he feels. 1.1 Mercutio 1.2 Romeo accuses his friend of laughing at emotions he has never felt and cannot understand. 2.It gives more direct expression to Romeo s feelings and makes them seem more genuine. 3.1 Images of light 3.2 This imagery is used to show that Romeo has transferred his allegiance from Rosaline to Juliet (who is more beautiful and literally outshines her). 4. She is asking Romeo why he is a Montague couldn t he belong to some other family? 5. She is embarrassed that he now knows her thoughts. 6. She promises to give up everything for him. She is resolute and being totally selfless. 7. Juliet takes the lead if Romeo s purpose is marriage, then he must make all the arrangements. She will send a message to him in the morning to find out all the details. 1. The long speech indicates his importance in the play. 2.1 He is gathering herbs for medicinal purposes. 2.2 (i) Good things can be put to bad uses in the same way as abuse of medicinal herbs can lead to poisoning. (ii) A plant can smell sweet (giving pleasure) while at the same time it can be poisonous In humankind there are two opposing forces of good and evil. 3. He is amazed by Romeo s inconsistency (the day before he was forlorn lover because of Rosaline). He teases him mercilessly. 4. He hopes their marriage will end the feud. 5.1 He warns Romeo not to be too hasty. 5.2 No they are young and impressionable. As far as they are concerned, there s no turning back.

7 6. He is a kind, well-meaning man who has good intentions and wants happiness for everyone. He does not heed his own advice he hastily organizes the wedding. Scene 4 1. Tybalt sent a letter to Romeo, challenging him to a duel. 2.1 Romeo is witty as usual and jokes with them. 2.2 He is truly in love and no longer needs to play at being a lover because he is one. 3. Juliet has sent her to find out the details of the wedding. 4. She has to meet him at Friar Laurence s cell (pretending to go to confession) where they will be married. Scene 5 1. Impatient 2. The Nurse is teasing Juliet and keeping her in suspense. Scene 6 1. Romeo s love is fiery and passionate, while the Friar takes a calmer view. 2. They are bubbling over with joy at the prospect of their marriage the scene is delightful.

8 ACT 3 1. Is Mercutio s characterization of Benvolio accurate? Explain our view. 2. What is the meaning of Benvolio s warning to Mercutio ( An I / and a quarter. )? 3.1 Quote Tybalt s insult to Romeo. 3.2 Honour demands that such an insult be answered (by a duel) even though fighting is against the law. How does Romeo respond and why? 4. Who is to blame for starting the fight between Benvolio and Mercutio? 5. What personality traits does Mercutio display at his death? Are we impressed? 6. Does Romeo do the right thing by revenging his friend s death? Why / Why not? 7. How accurate is Benvolio s account of the fight? 8. Why is the Prince particularly concerned by Mercutio s death? 9. What are the immediate consequences of Tybalt s death for Romeo? 1. What impression do you get of Juliet in her opening speech? 2. How does Romeo plan to gain access to Juliet s chamber? 3. Juliet becomes angry and loses faith in her new husband when she hears that he has killed Tybalt. Why does she respond this way? 4. How does Juliet react when she realises that Romeo is to be banished? 5. Why does the Nurse go to Friar Laurence s cell? 1. Romeo takes to hiding in the Friar s cell. 1.1 What news does the Friar bring him? 1.2 How does Romeo take this news? 2. What comfort does the Friar offer Romeo? 3. Where does Romeo plan to go to wait out his exile? Scene 4 1. Suggest a reason for Capulet s unseemly haste in arranging he marriage between Juliet and Paris? Scene 5 1. Juliet has a similar foreboding of doom similar to that expressed by Romeo in Act 1,Sc5. How does it presage the tragedy to follow? 2. How does Juliet respond to her mother s news that her father has arranged a marriage with Paris? 3.1 What does the Nurse suggest when Juliet asks for her help? 3.2 What does this tell us about the Nurse s character? 4. What does Juliet decide to do at the end of this scene?

9 ACT 3 (ANSWERS) 1. No. Benvolio is always the man who speaks for peace. Mercutio in fact describing himself. 2. Mercutio s life is only worth an hour and a quarter s wages. 3.1 Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford No other term than this: thou art a villain. (In other words the love he has for Romeo is poor in fact closer to hatred.) a. Romeo doesn t become angry and controls his rage because he is newly married to Juliet and therefore family. 4. Mercutio 5. He is unrepentant he more upset that he lost to someone who s fighting style he detests. Yes 6. Yes. He does the honourable thing (the audience would think him a wimp if he didn t). AND No. What about his love and loyalty to Juliet? 7. He s pretty accurate except in whom he blames for Mercutio s death. 8. Mercutio s was a relative of the prince. 9. Romeo is banished from Verona (but he should have been executed according to the Prince s decree at the beginning of the play) he will no longer be able to see Juliet. 1. The honesty and immediacy with which she expresses herself adds to our respect for her. mature 2. The Nurse has organized a rope ladder for him to climb into Juliet s chamber. 3. She only knows him for a few days, so it is understandable that she doubts him. 4. She is in absolute despair. She d rather have her parents dead, than Romeo banished. 5. The Nurse goes to find Romeo to make sure that he will come to Juliet on their wedding night. 1.1 Romeo is to be banished, not executed. 1.2 Romeo would rather die, than be separated from Juliet.

10 2. He should be grateful that he s not being executed. He should accept his fate and live with it. 3. Mantua Scene 4 1. He is worried that the Prince would be angry and would not want Paris to marry Juliet anymore. He thinks that marriage will lift Juliet s spirits as he assumes that her depression and grief is as a result of Tybalt s death. Scene 5 1. Juliet has a vision of Romeo dead in the bottom of a tomb. In the final act her vision comes true. 2. She is indignant and angry. Her behaviour (at the time) would have been considered rebellious and shocking. 3.1 The Nurse suggests that she forget about Romeo (who might as well be dead) and marry Paris. 3.2 She fails to understand Juliet s deeply felt pain. 4. Juliet decides to go to Friar Lawrence for help; failing that, she will commit suicide.

11 ACT 4 1. What reason does Paris give the Friar for the hasty wedding? 2. How do you know that Juliet is close to despair when she comes to the Friar? 3. Explain the action of the potion the Friar gives to Juliet. 4. How does the Friar plan to reunite the lovers? 1. How does Capulet describe his daughter? 2. How does Capulet react when he seems to getting his own way? What does this tell us about his character? 1. Why does Juliet refuse to have the Nurse or her mother to attend her on her on the night before the wedding? 2. 1 What dangers does Juliet foresee when she takes the potion? 2.2 What gives her the strength to do it? Scene 4 Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of bustling goodwill and excitement in this scene. What is his purpose in doing so? Scene 5 1. What is the dramatic effect of the Nurse s slowness in approaching Juliet s bed and her bawdy jokes? 2. How do the Nurse and Lady Capulet react to Juliet s death? 3. How does the Friar try to comfort the family? 4. What is the purpose of the clown scene between Peter and the musicians at the end of this act?

12 ACT 4 (SUGGESTED ANSWERS) 1. Capulet feels that Juliet s grief for Tybalt is excessive and dangerous. He hopes her marriage to Paris will bring an end to her grief. 2. She tells him that if he can t offer her a way out of the marriage to Paris, she will commit suicide. 3. The potion will put her into a comatose state-she will appear to be dead. 4. He plans to send for Romeo, who will come to the tomb where Juliet had been laid, and take her with him to Mantua as soon as she wakes from her drugged sleep. 1. He s anger is unnecessarily excessive. He says that she is obstinate, but he is the one being obstinate. 2. He immediately turns into the genial, cheerful host we first met. He is like a spoilt child who is only happy when he gets his own way. 1. She doesn t want any witnesses when she drinks the potion. 2.1 The potion may be poisonous as the Friar might be trying to kill her in an attempt to cover up his involvement with her marriage to Romeo. She also fears waking up in the tomb before Romeo arrives and suffocating to death. She fears going mad if trapped in there with her dead cousin and the spirits of the dead. 2.2 The thought of Romeo gives her the strength. Scene 4 The contrast between the joyous preparations of the wedding and Juliet s terror in the previous scene is striking. Scene 5 1. The audience is all too aware of what she will find so her slowness and bawdy jokes serve to heighten the tension. 2. They both wail loudly not a sign of true grief. 3. Aware that she is comatose, he mockingly reminds them that she is better off in heaven, where no harm can come to her. 4. It provides some relief from the dramatic tension a short respite before the tragedy of the final scene.

13 ACT 5 1. Why is Romeo s dream ironic? 2. Why does he so readily believe Balthazar that Juliet is dead? 3.1 How does Romeo obtain poison, even though it is illegal to sell it in Mantua? 3.2 What is the deeper significance of this scene with the apothecary? 1. Explain why Friar John was prevented from delivering Laurence s message to Romeo. 1. Why has Paris come to Juliet s tomb? 2. Explain Romeo s anger at Balthazar. 3. Explain the metaphor that Shakespeare uses here? 4.1 Why does Paris try to stop Romeo from entering the tomb? 4.2 What is the outcome of this situation? 5. Why is Juliet s grave a lantern in Romeo s eyes? 6. Though art not conquered; beauty s ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks Explain the bitter irony in these words. 7. Do you agree with the Friar that the spectacle he sees is the outcome of a malignant fate? Why / Why not? 8. Why does the Friar leave the tomb with such haste that he does not ensure that Juliet follows behind him? 9. Why is Juliet s discovery that her dead husband s lips are still warm particularly terrible? 10. Many modern performances of this play end the play right here, with Juliet s suicide Suggest a reason for this What important message in the play is lost if this done? 11.1 What symbolic gesture do Capulet and Montague decide to make to prove the end of their feud? 11.2 Is their choice of symbol appropriate?

14 ACT 5 (ANSWERS) 1. It is a reversal of what would have happened had things gone according to plan. 2. In Elizabethan times sudden death was not uncommon (even for a healthy, young woman). 3.1 The apothecary whom Romeo approaches is so poor and starved, that in order to make a sale, he is willing to break the law. 3.2 We now see a mature and disillusioned Romeo. He is no longer the forlorn lover, or even the joyous youth that married Juliet. He has become the Tragic Hero, ready to meet his doom with courage. 1. Friar John was visiting a sick person when the searchers (Elizabethan undertakers) locked him in the house because of fear of plague. 1. He has come to mourn and strew flowers on Juliet s tomb. 2. Balthazar is his loyal and trusted servant and Romeo s anger at him shows his desperation. 3. Romeo compares the tomb to a stomach, himself and Juliet to the food that the tomb eats. The image emphasises the helplessness of the lovers. 4.1 He is not aware of Romeo and Juliet s love for each other, so he assumes that Romeo has come to take revenge (by disfiguring the bodies) for his banishment. 4.2 Romeo kills Paris. 5. Juliet s beauty makes the whole tomb bright. 6. If he had only realised that she was alive and in fact, about to wake, things would have turned out very differently. 7. No. Human error needs to take some of the blame for the outcome of this play. 8. He panics at this point. He could be held responsible for his involvement in what has happened. 9. She must have realised just how close they had come to succeeding in their plan. If he had waited just a few minutes, she would have woken and they would have been able to escape to Mantua together.

15 10.1 Anything else after the high drama of the suicide is anti-climax We never get to see Capulet and Montague bury their strife (Act1, Prologue) Capulet and Montague agree to pay for two statues of the lovers to be made No. It shows that they still do not understand the true value of the love their children shared. The lovers would not agree with their parents choice of symbols as they were both prepared to give up everything (including riches) to be together.

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