2. The play beginswith a sonnet, spokenasprologue, where the private emotionof
the twolovers are explored in isolation and in relation totheir social context,
ideasof love, destiny and death.
The first actopens in Verona street and covers a wholeday, the first offivedays in
whose the play takesplace. Iscomposedof a seriesofdialoguesabout the courtly
love, linkedto the melancholy, holydevotion and idealizationof the
objectofdesire. Itendswith the scene of the masque and the metingof the
twomaincharacters: Romeo, the sonof Lord Montague, the head of a family
thatisgripped in a bloodyfeudwith the Capulets, and Juliet the daughterof Lord
Isconcentrates on the developmentof the relationshipbetween the twolovers.
Itendswith a ceremony: the secret weddingof the twocharacters, celebrated in
the chapelbyFriar Laurence.
3. THIRD ACT
The centralact; the longestonethat can bedivided in twoparts: the public
events, concentrated in the first scene , full ofactionanmovement, and the
private events .
The preparatoryactto the finaltragedy. The deviationof information creates a
divisionof the characters in twoparts, each living a different story. OnlyFiar
Lawrence and Juliet share both.
The first breaks the unityofplace, movingfrom Verona toMatua, where Romeo
hasgoneafter the banishmentfrom Verona forkillingTybalt, Juliet’scousin. In the
last scene Romeo findsJuliet’s sleeping body in the family
tombaftershehasdrunk a potion and hebelievesthatsheis dead.
Hedecidestokillhimself, thenJulietwakes up fromhersleep. Out offear and love
sheinsert a daggerintoherheartwith the famousline " Oh happy dagger”. The
deathof the coupleends the feudbetweentheirfamilies
4. Romeo, the young heir of the Montagues,
attends the great ball of the Capulets
and falls in love with Juliet, the
daughter of the house, at first sight.
Romeo turns out to be the prototype of
the platonic lover.
Love isoneof the mostimportantaspect
in Romeo and Juliet. In The
Masquewhehe first seesJuliet,
hecomparesherto the brilliant light of
the tourchesthat illuminate
Capulet’sgreat hall. Julietis the light
5. In the BalconyScene associates Juliet with the sunlight, the daylight
and the light emanating from angels. In turn, Juliet compares their
new found love to the lightning, mainly to reveal the speed at which
their romance is moving, but also to suggest that, as the lightning is
a break in the blackness sky, so their love is a flash in a dark world.
In the second act the darkness becomes one of the central images.
The final indication that darkness has triumphed over light comes
from the last act when Romeo finds his love lying in the tomb.
Romeo is the synonymous of lover and in the play he loves in a pure
and passionate way, but Romeo’s character is not just a lover he’s far
more complex. We can see that Romeo’s love matures during the
play, from the simple desire to and intense passion. Romeo lacks of
capacity of moderation: love compels him to risk his life entering
the garden just to see Juliet; desperation compels him to suicide
when he hears about Juliet’s death. Besides he’s clever, loyal and
unafraid of danger.
We meet Juliet as thirteen years old girls, obedient, sheltered and
not mature yet. We can understand from his indecision about
who she really loves, how childish she is at the beginning of the
play. She has no friend of her own so it’s not easy for her to talk
about sex. During the play she turns into adult and shows great
determination and strength. Even if she is deeply in love she
doesn’t follow Romeo blindly. She becomes a loyal, capable and
mature woman. When she wakes in the tomb and find Romeo
dead, she demonstrates much more courage than him.
7. “…Shakespearian scholar, A.C. Bradley, went so far as to neglect the play
entirely in his well-known collection of lectures on the great tragedies,
Romeo and Juliet is characterised by elements both of comedy and tragedy:
It begins as a comedy (the instant attraction of the two lovers, the
masked ball, the comic servants). It’s different from conventional
comedies because in the end knowledge is not for everybody, but
only for the characters who has suffered and, even then, not
It is a tragedy because of the role of chances; the heroes of the
play must fight against external forces that make their
relationships difficult, but unlike the great tragic heroes they lack
8. THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
CREATES THE TRAGIC FINALE
The lackofknowledge, whichnecessarilyderivesfrom bad
communication, is a maintheme. Romeo and Julietis a
tragedyofnotknowing and unawarness; itcannotbesummed up as the
tragedyofoldhator young love, since the
tragicfinaldestructionresultsfrom a pattern
whcichincluedeselementspf chance and the more
9. This is the famous Balcony Scene,
where the two lovers declare their
love to each other. While Romeo
praises Juliet’s beauty with images
in the style of the courtly tradition,
Juliet turns out to be an
Envious moon (line 4) the goddess
of virginity, Diana (the moon
personified), is envious of the fair
Juliet. Romeo implores Juliet not to
be in Diana’s service; thus, not to
10. Sick and green (line 8) some scholars read this passage as pale and
green (a common expression in the play) and claimed that it should
be referred to the uniform worn by Henry VIII’s court jester –white
and green. Thus, her vestal livery is the garb of a fool and therefore
this interpretation would also explain the reference to fools in the
The brightness of her cheek…it were not night (line 19-22) it is one of
the most glorious comparison of Juliet as light. We find the imagery
of Juliet’s eyes pouring forth brilliant cosmic beams of light that
burst through the clouds and fool the birds into believing it is day.
IMPORTANCE OF NAMES AND LANGUAGE
“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name,
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet”
Leaning out of the window, unaware that Romeo is below in the
orchard, she asks why Romeo must be Romeo –Why he must be a
Montague, the son of her family’s greatest enemy. She asks him to
deny his family for her love. She adds, however, that if he will not,
she will deny her family in order to be with him if he merely tells
her that he loves her.
11. `Tis but thy name that is my enemy…belonging to a man (line 27-
30)A major theme is the tension between social and family
identity. Juliet believes the feud between the houses is the result
of a superficial identity, based only on names, for this reason she
thinks this name can be denied and that her love overrides her
family’s hatred for the Montague name.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…take all myself (line
31-37) She says that if Romeo were not called Romeo or
Montague, he would still be the person she loves. Therefore she
reflects upon the relationship between a name and what it stands
JULIET’S TENDENCY TO REALISM
She shows a tendency to realism in her use of language. Though
she is set within the courtly love convention, she belongs to no
idealisation: she is a real woman. She’s aware of loving Romeo
and finds an obstacle in his name, therefore she reflects upon the
symbolical order of language and links to realty in order to face
and overcome it.
12. Both Romeo and Juliet struggle to maintain an imaginary world void of
time in the face of the harsh realities that surround them. From the
very beginning, the lovers are designated as star-cross’dreferring to
an astrologic belief associated with time. Stars were thought to
control the fates of humanity, and as time passed, stars would move
along their course in the sky, also charting the course of human lives
Romeo and Juliet fight time to make their love last forever. In the end,
the only way they seem to defeat time is through a death that makes
them immortal through art.
Time is also connected to the theme of light and dark. In
Shakespeare's day, plays were often performed at noon in broad
daylight. This forced the playwright to use words to create the
illusion of day and night in his plays. Shakespeare uses references to
the night and day, the stars, the moon, and the sun to create this
illusion. All in all, no fewer than 103 references to time are found in
the play, adding to the illusion of its passage.