The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare C. Edge ECHS Drama Drama – story that is written to be acted for an audience The action of a drama is usually driven by a character who wants something and takes steps to get it. Drama Elements of Dramatic Plot: Exposition Rising Action (Complications) Climax (crisis, or turning point) Falling Action Resolution Structure of the Play Shakespeare’s plays are primarily written in verse. The play is organized into five acts. Each act has several scenes. Characters The Montagues: Lord Montague Lady Montague Romeo Benvolio Balthasar Abram Characters The Capulets: Lord Capulet Lady Capulet Juliet Tybalt Nurse Peter Sampson Gregory An Old Man Characters The Others: Prince Escalus Mercutio Friar Laurence Friar John Count Paris An Apothecary Page to Paris Characters The Others (continued): Chief Watchman Three Musicians An Officer Non-speaking roles: Citizens of Verona, Relatives of both families, Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants Stage Directions Stage directions – directions given to the actors of a drama that indicate how a character should look, move, and/or speak These are usually written in brackets [ ] and in italics in order to set them apart from the dialogue. Shakespeare’s Use of Language Forms Shakespeare used a variety of types of language in his plays: blank verse, rhymed iambic pentameter, sonnets, and prose. Each type of language used helps to establish the characters and the scene. Shakespeare’s Use of Language Forms The majority of the play is written in blank verse. Sonnets and rhymed verses are used by the upper classes who are more highly educated. Prose is used by the lower class and at times by some upper class characters during times of anger or frustration. Blank Verse Blank verse – poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter Blank means that the lines are unrhymed. Iambic pentameter means that each line contains five iambs, or metrical feet that consist of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Shakespeare wrote the majority of his plays in this verse form. Sonnet Sonnet – fourteen line lyric poem that is usually written in iambic pentameter and that has one of several rhyme schemes. The Shakespearean Sonnet Has three four-line units, or quatrains followed by a concluding two-line unit, or couplet. Rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg Monologue monologue – one character speaking with others onstage Dialogue Dialogue – conversation between two or more characters in a story or drama Soliloquy Soliloquy – an unusually long speech in which a character who is onstage alone expresses his or her thoughts aloud Act I, The Prologue Spoken by the Chorus. The chorus is a relic of ancient Greek drama. The chorus represents the current society’s view of the events and brings the audience up to date on what has happened. Reveals the entire plot of the play in a sonnet. The children of two wealthy, but fueding, families in Verona, Italy meet and fall in love. They are doomed from the beginning and their deaths end the fued between the two families. ACTIVITY: Summarize the Prologue, line by line. Act I, The Prologue Exposition: Where is the play set? Verona, Italy What previous events does the chorus explain to help the audience understand the play’s plot? There is an “ancient grudge” between two families and that the feud is being reignited. Act I, Scene 1 SUMMARY: Within this scene, we see the servants and members of each family waging war on each other in the city streets. The prince arrives to break up the fray and issues an decree that anyone caught fighting would be put to death. We meet Romeo and learn that he is a victim of unrequited love (in love with a woman who does not love him in return). His friend Benvolio promises to show him other lovely ladies who will make him forget about the object of his affection. Act I, Scene 1 Puns – a play on the multiple meanings of a word or on two words that sound alike but have different meanings Puns are used often in jokes: Example: Q: What has four wheels and flies? A: a garbage truck. Most of Shakespeare’s puns are unrecognizable to us today because of the changes in word meanings over time. Act I, Scene 1 Puns are used by the servants of the families at the beginning of scene 1. “carry coals,” “colliers,” “choler,” and “collar.” (ll. 1-5) “moved to strike,” “to move is to stir,” “thou art moved, thou run’st away” (ll. 6-11) “I will be civil with the maids—I will cut off their heads,” “the heads of the maids or their maidenheads (a euphemism meaning to take their virginity)” (ll. 19-26) 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 110 The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared, Which, as he breathed defiance to my ears, He swung about his head and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hissed him in scorn. While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, 115 Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part. Does Benvolio seem to be telling the truth about what happened? Yes, he has given an accurate summary of the street brawl, but he is leaving out details that would show how willing most of the Montague people were to fight. Lady Montague. O, where is Romeo? Saw you him today? Right glad I am he was not at this fray. How might you describe Lady Montague’s personality at this point? She seems anxious and worried about her son; she is a concerned mother. Montague. …Should in the farthest East begin to draw The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed, Away from light steals home my heavy son And private in his chamber pens himself, 140 Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out, And makes himself an artificial night. Notice the images of light and darkness. These elements play an important role in this love story. At this point, Romeo’s yearning for darkness and solitude recalls the Elizabethan stereotype of the courtly lover; whose affection is typically unrequited. Romeo. … Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything, of nothing first created! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, 180 Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms, Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! A figure of speech that combines two contradictory elements is called an oxymoron. An example is “deafening silence.” List the oxymorons in this passage. Brawling love, loving hate, heavy lightness, serious vanity, feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, stillwaking sleep. Romeo. Well, in that hit you miss. She’ll not be hit 210 With Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit, And, in strong proof of chastity well armed, From Love’s weak childish bow she lives uncharmed. Allusion—reference to a statement, a person, a place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or pop culture. In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of love. Usually represented as a winged boy with bow and arrow. Cupid is said to cause people to fall in love by striking them with his arrows. His image is often used around Valentine’s Day. Act I, Scene 2 SUMMARY—Count Paris asks Lord Capulet for permission to marry his daughter, Juliet. Capulet hesitates because he feels that Juliet, not quite fourteen, is too young for marriage. He relents, however, advising Paris that he must win Juliet’s heart, for Capulet has agreed to let his daughter have some degree of choice in choosing the mand she will marry. Capulet invites Paris to a feast that he is giving that evening. He hands his servant a list of the names of the people to be invited and exits with Paris. The illiterate servant is at a loss, and when Romeo and Benvolio enter, he asks them for help. Romeo reads the guest list and discovers that Rosaline, Capulet’s niece, has been invited. Benvolio, hoping his friend will fall in love with someone else, convinces Romeo that they should “crash” the party. 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; 10 Let two more summers wither in their pride Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. At what age does Lord Capulet consider it proper for Juliet to marry? Sixteen. Attitudes regarding the proper age for marrying and starting a family vary across cultures and throughout history. During Elizabethan times, life expectancy was much shorter than it is today, so people usually married at a younger age. Servant. Find them out whose names are written here? It is written that the shoemaker should meddle with 40 his yard and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil and the painter with his nets; but I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned. In 45 good time! The servant cannot read, but is sent to find the people listed on the invitation to invite them to the Capulet party. Servants were often used for comic relief—comic scene or event that breaks up a serious play or narrative— during Shakespeare’s plays. 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. Rest you merry. The servant has no idea he is speaking to the only son of Lord Montague. But Romeo, Benvolio, and the audience are aware of the irony of the servant’s revelation. This is an example of dramatic irony – the audience or the reader knows something important that a character in a play or story does not know. Act I, Scene 3 SUMMARY – Lady Capulet asks Juliet’s nurse to summon Juliet, who subsequently enters. Her initial address to her mother shows that she is submissive and obedient. The nurse rambles on, telling a story about Juliet as a child. Lady Capulet tells the nurse to be quiet and then tells Juliet of Paris’s marriage offer, asking her daughter to consider his proposal. Both the mother and the nurse praise Paris’s appearance, and Juliet dutifully agrees to her mother’s request. 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; 20 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 weaned (I never shall forget it), 25 Of all the days of the year, upon that day; For I had then laid wormwood to my dug, Sitting in the sun under the dovehouse wall. My lord and you were then at Mantua. Nay, I do bear a brain. The nurse’s long speech provides background information about Juliet’s family and upbringing and about the nurse’s position in the family. Why might the nurse feel especially strong affection for Juliet? Her own daughter, who would have been the same age as Juliet, died, probably making the nurse feel much closer to Juliet. Lady Capulet. What say you? Can you love the gentleman? 80 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; Examine every married lineament, And see how one another lends content; 85 And what obscured in this fair volume lies Find written in the margent of his eyes. This precious book of love, this unbound lover, To beautify him only lacks a cover. The fish lives in the sea, and ’tis much pride 90 For fair without the fair within to hide. That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory, That in gold clasps locks in the golden story; So shall you share all that he doth possess, 95 By having him, making yourself no less. This is an example of an extended metaphor. What two things are being compared? Paris and a book without a cover. Irony in Act I, Scene 3 A new complication is being added to the plot. While Romeo will be searching for Rosaline at the party, Juliet is supposed to be looking over Paris to see if she thinks he will make a suitable husband. Ironically Romeo and Juliet will find each other instead of the ones they are looking for. Act I, Scene 4 SUMMARY –Romeo, Benvolio, and their friend Mercutio don masks in preparation for attending the Capulets’ party. Romeo is still lovesick and tells his friends that a dream has filled him with forebodings about the party. Mercutio, trying to get Romeo to forget his troubles, fancifully explains what happens when a person dreams. In an extended conceit, he describes Queen Mab, who is the fairy in control of the dream world. Romeo chides his friend for prattling on, but Mercutio insists that dreams have no bearing on reality. Romeo, who foresees his own “untimely death” (l. 111), disagrees but decides to confront whatever fate awaits him and sets off for the party with his friends. When you compare, you show how two or more items are alike. When you contrast, you show how items are different. Shakespeare’s plays are full of contrasting pairs of characters, called foils, whose differences strengthen our impression of each character. Differences between characters can be determined by what they say and do, by their outward appearance, and by what others say about them. Compare and contrast the following pairs of characters: • Romeo and Mercutio • the nurse and Lady Capulet •Benvolio and Tybalt •the nurse and Mercutio •Lord Capulet and Tybalt Mercutio. 75 80 85 And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love; On courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight; O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees; O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream, Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are. Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose, And then dreams he of smelling out a suit; And sometime comes she with a tithe pig’s tail Tickling a parson’s nose as ’a lies asleep, Then dreams he of another benefice. Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck, And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, Of healths five fathom deep; 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. What connection is there between the different visits that Queen Mab makes? All of the people visited by Queen Mab end up dreaming about what they secretly desire. Act I, Scene 5 SUMMARY – Three servants enter, bantering with each other as they set up for the Capulets’ party. Lord Capulet cheerfully greets his guests, welcomes the maskers, and reminisces about his youth. Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her at first sight. Although he inquires about her, he does not learn her identity. Tybalt, recognizes his enemy’s voice, prepares for a fight. He is restrained by Capulet, however, who compliments Romeo’s manners. Tybalt obeys his uncle’s command but swears he will have revenge. Romeo confesses his love to Juliet; their exchange forms a sonnet, which uses religious imagery to describe the passionate devotion of lovers. They kiss but are separated by the nurse, who summons Juliet to her mother. Romeo finds out from the nurse that Juliet is Lord Capulet’s daughter, laments his bad fortune, and departs with his friends. Juliet questions her nurse as to Romeo’s identity; discovering that he is a Montague, she, too, mourns her bad luck in love. Romeo. O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night As a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear— Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! 50 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 blessèd my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! 55 For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. Notice once again, the use of images of darkness and light. What is your response to Romeo’s declaration about Juliet’s beauty? It seems as if he falls in love very easily. He was so attracted to Rosaline before, Juliet must have a truly stunning appearance. Romeo. This is an example of If I profane with my unworthiest hand an extended This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: metaphor. What is My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand being compared? To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. Juliet. Pilgrims who are Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, devoted to a 100 Which mannerly devotion shows in this; religious duty and For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, lovers who are And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss. devoted to each Romeo. other. Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? Juliet. Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. Romeo and Juliet’s Romeo. 105 O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do! conversation is They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. written as a sonnet Juliet. they say together. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake. Romeo. Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purged. Question 1, p. 762 Did you find the “love at first sight” scene convincing? Why, or why not? Question 2, p. 762 Scene 1 is a brilliant example of how information can be conveyed through theatrical activity. Look at these three segments of the scene: GregorySampson and the Montague servants; BenvolioTybalt; and the prince’s warning. To examine the scene, use a chart like the following one. List each episode on the left. On the right, explain how the episode clarifies the forces at work in the play (some of them deadly). Question 3, p. 762 Before Romeo and Juliet meet in Scene 4, Shakespeare must set up obstacles to their love, so that when they do meet, we will groan at the problems they are going to face. What problem, or complication, is presented in Scenes 2 and 3? Question 4, p. 762 Scene 4 introduces us to Mercutio, who will play an important part in the play. How would you characterize Mercutio based on what he has said and done? Is he a believable character? Have you known people like him? Question 5, p. 762 Mercutio is used as a foil to Romeo. The word foil in drama means “a character or scene that is set up as a contrast to another so that each will stand out vividly.” In what specific ways is Mercutio a foil to Romeo? Question 6, p. 762 Scene 4 sets up a sense of foreboding — a feeling that something bad is about to happen. Identify Romeo’s specific expressions of foreboding, as he sets off for the party. Question 7, p. 762 By the end of Act I, a lot of suspense has been generated. If you were watching this play, what questions would you be asking at this point? Question 8, p. 762 Although the action of this play takes place in Italy in the fourteenth century, we can still recognize similarities between the culture of that time and that of our own. Which episodes in Act I could you imagine taking place today? What details would have to change, if any?