Romeo and Juliet reloaded

The greatest love story ever told


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A diagram explaining Act 1, Scene 1 in ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Act 1 sc 1 map

Act 1 sc 1 map

 

This diagram is explained fully in ‘Romeo and Juliet: The Study Guide Edition’, clicking on it will enlarge it.

The blurb for ‘Romeo and Juliet’: The Study Guide Edition, available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.

“Clearly Francis Gilbert is a gifted and charismatic teacher,” Phillip Pullman, author of “Northern Lights”.

“An excellent teacher,” Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight.

Are you struggling to understand Shakespeare’s classic play ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Are you a teacher who needs a really good edition of the play which will enable students to understand the play’s complex language and cover all the key areas required to get a good grade in an examination or coursework?

This brilliant edition of Shakespeare’s great love story may be the answer to your prayers. Written by a teacher who has taught the text for more than twenty years in various secondary schools, this version is aimed at students who must analyse the text in depth or teachers wanting to deliver outstanding lessons on it. The book contains the complete text together with a parallel modern translation, which most students will be able to read independently or in small groups: the language is entirely appropriate for ages 11-18 years.

The text is broken up by exercises on every important section of the play, with fill-in-the-gaps tasks to check understanding, questions to aid in-depth analysis, creative response tasks and tips on acting out the play. The first section of the book is an up-to-date study guide which explains the plot, characters, language and imagery in detail, with visual diagrams and links to relevant websites. The final section of the book contains an exhaustive explanation of how to write top grade essays on the play, including sample A* answers as well as summaries of significant literary criticism. There are plenty of pointers to help students develop their own personal responses, including thought-provoking thematic questions.

This books covers the following areas in depth:

It checks basic understanding by providing fill-in-the-gaps exercises on every important part of the play.

It looks at why students should study Romeo and Juliet.

It examines Shakespeare’s story, looking at the structure & themes: love, hatred and the feud, fate and the use of time.

It discusses the contexts (the background) of the play: the different versions of the play, including Brooke’s poem upon which the play is based, Nashe’s ‘Have With You to Saffron Walden’ (1596)and ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream ‘.

It investigates the nature of Shakespearean tragedy, discussing the rules Aristotle set out for this genre.

It explores the world of Shakespeare’s theatre and The Globe, discussing social and political contexts.

It provides an overview of various productions of ‘Romeo and Juliet

It contains a detailed section on Shakespeare’s language, examining his imagery and grammar, exploring his use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

It contains a very helpful section on his use of rhythm and rhyme, setting exercises which will help students really understand this complex subject.

There is a long section on his use of characterisations, discussing all the main characters in depth.

As well as the play itself and a very accessible modern translation of it, there is a detailed summary of every act and scene.

There are a number of speaking and listening activities that are very easy to do and really aid understanding.

There is a readable account of the literary criticism of the play which looks at feminist, Marxist, cultural materialist and queer theory approaches to the text.

There is a detailed account of how to write a good essay on the play which includes a dissection of sub-standard essay and an example of an A* essay.

Finally, there is a section which helps students compare the play with filmed versions & performances.

 

 


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Romeo and Juliet quiz

Starter quiz:

1. Act 1, Scene 1: what caused the fight and what did the Prince threaten if someone started a fight again? Why is Romeo so troubled? How does Benvolio promise to help him?

2. Act 1, Scene 2: Why won’t Capulet let Paris marry his daughter?

3. Act 1, Scene 3: What does Lady Capulet tell Juliet? What does the Nurse joke about?

4. Act 1, Scene 4: What do we learn about Mercutio in this scene? What premonition does Romeo have?

5. Act 1, Scene 5: Why do Romeo and Juliet fall in love? Why is Tybalt so angry?

6. Act 2, Scene 1: How is Mercutio so rude in this scene?

7. Act 2, Scene 2: What happens on Juliet’s balcony? What do the two lovers promise to do?

8. Act 2, Scene 3: Why does Friar Lawrence agree to marry Romeo and Juliet? Why is he shocked?

9. Act 2, Scene 4: How is Mercutio so rude to the Nurse? What does Romeo tell the Nurse?

10. Act 2, Scene 5: What happens at the end of this act?

11. Act 3, Scene 1 Who dies in this scene and why?

12. Act 3, Scene 2 Why is the Nurse so upset?

13. Act 3, Scene 3 How does Friar Lawrence help Romeo and Juliet?

14. Act 3, Scene 4 Why does Capulet speed up the marriage?

15. Act 3, Scene 5 Who Juliet forced to marry and why?

16. Act 4, Scene 1 What plan does Friar Lawrence have to save Juliet?

17. Act 4, Scene 4 What fears does Juliet have of taking the potion?

18. Act 4, Scene 5 Why is everyone so sad?

19. Act 5, Scene 1 Why does Romeo buy poison?

20. Act 5, Scene 2 What happens to Friar John and why is this a terrible thing to happen?

21. Act 5, Scene 3 Who dies in this scene and why? Why do the families become friends? 

Now have a go at the Spark Notes quiz here and report your score to Mr Gilbert.


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Reading the modernised version of Romeo and Juliet

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by learning how playwrights create interesting characters through the use of dialogue; to develop your discussion and analytical skills. 

TASKS: Read my modernised version of Romeo and Juliet Act 1, doubling up roles where necessary. At the end of each scene prepare for a discussion in your books with each person taking a different role by making brief notes:

EXPLAINER: This person needs to write down what actually is happening in the play, and then QUESTION the others on what is happening.

CHARACTER TRACKER: This person notes down what the characters are like — their personalities, their behaviour — and works out what makes them interesting characters. They then get ready to QUESTION the group on what they think and will offer their views if the group is stuck.

LANGUAGE TRACKER: This person will note down the interesting language being used in the scene and discuss their views on the language with the group.

DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES TRACKER: This person will look at Shakespeare’s dramatic techniques and discuss how he creates suspense in the scene. They will need to look at the PACE of the scenes, the DRAMATIC ACTION, the DEVELOPMENT of the characters and the PLOT.

 

 

 

 


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How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

Learning Objectives: to develop your reading skills by understanding difficult language; to develop your powers of imagination by imagining how Act 1 might be filmed.

Before we look at filmed versions of the play, you need to understand WHAT IS HAPPENING in the play and develop your ability to understanding Shakespeare’s language.

Activities:

Read by yourself until the end of Act 1, Scene 1.

Then do FIVE MINUTES free writing, saying what you think the scene is about and what you think of it — or anything else you want to say.

Read in pairs Act 1, Scenes 2 and 3.

Now write down 5 QUESTIONS to ask about these scenes.

Read Act 1, Scenes 4 and 5 by yourself.

Now do 5 MINUTES free writing on how you think Act 1 might be filmed: what actors might play what roles, what music might be used, what settings might be used.

Now brainstorm the key points in answer to this question:

How does Shakespeare make Act 1 such a great opening to his play?

Here are two PowerPoints which are quite good at highlighting the main points of Act 1. Read through them and then write your own summary (synthesize and collate).


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The BBC Production of Romeo and Juliet with captions

What do you think of this interpretation of the play?

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 1, Scene 3

Act 1, Scene 4

Act 1, Scene 5

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 3

Act 3, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 5

Act 4, Scene 1