Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare Study Help Essay Questions

1. Love manifests itself in a multitude of ways in the play. Compare and contrast Romeo's love for Rosaline with Romeo's love for Juliet. Consider love as it exists in the Capulet household. How does love operate between Lord and Lady Capulet, Juliet, the Nurse, and Tybalt?

2. Some readers consider the final scene in which both Romeo and Juliet die to be triumphant. In addition to the families being reconciled, how is the final scene triumphant?

3. Consider Lord Capulet's personality. How do his moods change and why? How does these mood swings affect Juliet, and how do they affect the course of the play?

4. Compare and contrast Romeo's reaction to the news of his banishment with Juliet's reaction.

5. Examine the role of Escalus, the Prince, as the play's figure of authority. How far is he to blame for what happens?

6. Some critics have said that Shakespeare had to kill Mercutio as he was becoming such a compelling characters that he detracted from Romeo and Juliet. Do you agree? Why or why not?

7. Light in its various forms recurrs throughout the play. How does light mirror the action? How does the author use light to describe the characters and the changes they undergo?

8. As the Friar picks his herbs, he tells us that nature's tomb is also her womb and that what dies gives birth to new life. How do the Friar's words anticipate upcoming events? Do you think that the Friar proactively creates events that follow, or does he react to situations that are beyond his control? Explain.

9. Juliet is a very young girl; however, she shoulders a great deal of responsibility and manages a series of very difficult situations. Discuss Juliet's maturity level and compare it to Romeo's. Compare Juliet early in the play with Juliet later in the play. How has she changed? When did she change? Why did those changes occur?

10. The first Prologue describes Romeo and Juliet as, "A pair of star-cross'd lovers." Examine the way Shakespeare uses cosmic imagery in the play to emphasize the connection between Romeo and Juliet and their tragic deaths.

11. Shakespeare makes the plot of Romeo and Juliet rely on the delivery of crucial messages. Explain the importance of these various messages and the problems with the messengers.

12. Dreams often play an important part in Shakespearean dramas. At several points in the play, the characters have dreams. Sometimes they interpret them correctly, and other times they don't. Discuss these instances and how the characters' reactions to those dreams affect the action in the play. How do the characters interpret or misinterpret their dreams?

13. The feud between the families seems to be an ever-present concern for the characters. How does the feud drive the action of the play. How do the various characters manifest the feud?

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