First, find out about the background to this play. You will need to research Shakespeare himself, and also to read the Prologue, which sets the scene of the story that will unfold.
To do this, follow the instructions on this document.
Make it as eye-catching as you can. Remember, your blurb should include the following:
- A short biography of Shakespeare
- A brief summary of the story, based on the Prologue
- Two brief reviews written by yourself
This is a complete audio recording of the play and the characters’ voices provide information about their individual characters. Use this as you read each scene to improve understanding.
Now you are ready to begin…
As you read the play, it’s important to keep a record of what you are reading: the events that occur, the changes in the characters, and the features of the writing and performing style. You will keep your notebooks, as usual, but, like a journal, you will add other pieces of information to it as we go through the play.
The first item to add to your notebook is the Face Chart (below). Print five copies of the document below (or create your own), and use one for each of the five acts of the play. Keep them in your files as your teachers will be checking them week by week!
As we go through the play you will answer questions to make sure that you are following all the plot developments. Click below to access the questions for each act so that you can prepare in advance.
In your notebooks, make sure you have a solid bank of useful quotes that illustrate each main character. These will be discussed in class.
We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet, and that the story is a tragedy. But have you noticed how much comedy there is? Romeo and Juliet are strong characters with a quick appreciation of humour; Romeo’s friends Benvolio and Mercutio never stop joking with each other, and their word play is quick-witted and intelligent, often revolving around sexual puns and imagery. Even Friar Lawrence and the Nurse have a sense of humour.
We will look at an example of this in Act II. When we have done this, split into groups and try the following activity.
Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio are teenagers for whom sex is something new and exciting, and also a great source of humour. They are very quick with sexual word-play, and appreciate this skill in others. If they were alive now they would be exchanging playlists with each other, and these lists would be full of…well, what?
In your group, put a playlist of about 10 songs together that you think would appeal to what you know of the personalities of these characters. Be prepared to share it with the rest of the class.
Watch Veracross for dates.
Whose fault is it?
Is anyone to blame for what happened? Or is it Fate (to which several of the characters refer during the course of the play). Here’s a brief summary of the ways in which we could lay blame. Put the cards in order from the most blameworthy to the least.
There will be three types of assessment for this play. They are below, along with assessment critieria.
It’s an important skill to be able to put yourself into a work of fiction; it shows the extent to which you have understood the work, and also your involvement with it. Below is a list of creative writing tasks. You will choose one to complete. You will have some class time in which to do this, but most of the work will be done in your own time.
Commentary (Close Reading)
This is another important skill that you will need to develop in the coming years. See below to find useful information and a practice task. You will have a final assessed commentary when we have completed the play.
Here is another short extract, chosen for its literary devices.
See below to find instructions for constructing your performance of a scene from the play.
Watch Veracross for dates of all assignments.
Of the many film versions of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, this, from 1996, is the most outstanding.