for Romeo. Guided by her feelings for him, Study Questions & Essay Topics
she develops very quickly into a Study Questions
determined, capable, mature, and loyal 1. What effect does the accelerated time
55 woman who tempers her extreme feelings scheme have on the play’s development?
of love with sober-mindedness. 5 Is it plausible that a love story of this
The attraction between Romeo and Juliet magnitude could take place so quickly?
is immediate and overwhelming, and Does the play seem to take place over as
neither of the young lovers comments on little time as it actually occupies?
60 or pretends to understand its cause. Each
10 Because of the intensity of the relationship mentions the other‟s beauty, but it seems between Romeo and Juliet and the that destiny, rather than any particular complex development of events during the character trait, has drawn them together. few days of the play‟s action, the story can Their love for one another is so undeniable certainly seem to take place over a time 65 that neither they nor the audience feel the
15 span much longer than the one it actually need to question or explain it. occupies. By compressing all the events of
the love story into just a few days,
Shakespeare adds weight to every 3. Compare and contrast the characters of moment, and gives the sense that the 70 Tybalt and Mercutio. Why does Mercutio
20 action is happening so quickly that hate Tybalt?
characters barely have time to react, and,
by the end, that matters are careening out As Mercutio tells Benvolio, he hates Tybalt
of control. This rush heightens the sense of for being a slave to fashion and vanity, one pressure that hangs in the atmosphere of 75 of “such antic, lisping, affecting phantas- /
25 the play. While it may not seem plausible ims, these new tuners of accent! . . . these for a story such as Romeo and Juliet to fashionmongers, these „pardon-me‟s‟ ”
take place over a span of only four days in (II.iii.25–29). Mercutio is so insistent that the real world, this abbreviated time the reader feels compelled to accept this scheme makes sense in the universe of 80 description of Tybalt‟s character as
30 the play. definitive. Tybalt does prove Mercutio‟s
words true: he demonstrates himself to be
as witty, vain, and prone to violence as he
is fashionable, easily insulted, and 2. Compare and contrast the characters of
85 defensive. To the self-possessed Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet. How do they develop
Tybalt seems a caricature; to Tybalt, the 35 throughout the play? What makes them fall
brilliant, earthy, and unconventional in love with one another?
Mercutio is probably incomprehensible. (It
Romeo is a passionate, extreme, excitable, might be interesting to compare Mercutio‟s intelligent, and moody young man, well-90 comments about Tybalt to Hamlet‟s
40 liked and admired throughout Verona. He description of the foppish Osric in Act V, is loyal to his friends, but his behavior is scene ii of Hamlet, lines 140–146.)
somewhat unpredictable. At the beginning
of the play, he mopes over his hopeless
unrequited love for Rosaline. In Juliet, 95 Suggested Essay Topics
45 Romeo finds a legitimate object for the 1. How does the suicidal impulse that both extraordinary passion that he is capable of Romeo and Juliet exhibit relate to the feeling, and his unyielding love for her overall theme of young love? Does takes control of him. Shakespeare seem to consider a self-Juliet, on the other hand, is an innocent girl, 100 destructive tendency inextricably
50 a child at the beginning of the play, and is connected with love, or is it a separate startled by the sudden power of her love issue? Why do you think so?
2. Discuss the relationships between parents and children in Romeo and Juliet. How do Romeo and Juliet interact with their parents? Are they rebellious, in the 5 modern sense? How do their parents feel about them?
3. Apart from clashing with Tybalt, what role does Mercutio play in the story? Is he merely a colorful supporting character and 10 brilliant source of comic relief, or does he serve a more serious purpose?
4. How does Shakespeare treat death in Romeo and Juliet? Frame your answer in terms of legal, moral, familial, and personal 15 issues. Bearing these issues in mind, compare the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio, and Mercutio and Tybalt.