Romeo and Juliet: Literature Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet: Literature Study Guide

Chronology of Events in Romeo and Juliet

  • Chronology of events (what happens on each day) (who dies in what order)
Act and Scene Day Times Timeline for Romeo and Juliet
Important Events
Act 1 Sunday Morning -Romeo loves Rosaline, but she does not love him back.

-Depressed, Romeo walks alone outside in the streets.

-Meanwhile, Benvolio tries to find out what happened to Romeo.
Act 1 Sunday Afternoon A fight starts between the Montagues and Capulets
Act 1 Sunday Evening -Lord Capulet wants to have a party for Juliet and Paris wants to impress her

-Mercutio and Benvolio persuade Romeo to come to the party . The Montagues disguise under masks.

– Romeo sees Juliet, and the two immediately fall in love with each other

-Later, Romeo tries to get to her, but Tybalt tries to kill Romeo (Capulet stops him); Montagues leave
Act 2 Sunday Night -The party finishes, Juliet expresses her love to Romeo on the famous balcony scene; Romeo secretly listens

-They learn they are from opposing families – Montagues and Capulets but decide to get married anyways
Act 2 Monday Morning -Juliet and Romeo make plans for wedding
Act 2 Monday Early Afternoon -Friar Laurence marries the two together Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet.

-Nurse provides ropes for Romeo to climb into Juliet’s balcony (famous balcony scene later on that night)
Act 3 Monday Late Afternoon -Romeo , Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt and friends of the Capulet

-Tybalt wants Romeo to fight, Romeo says no, Mercutio dies from fight with Tybalt
Act 3 Monday Early Evening -Romeo kills Tybalt for revenge
Act 3 Monday Night -Prince of Verona banishes Romeo from Verona.

-Juliet’s dad Capulet forces Juliet to marry Paris, but Juliet is reluctant

-Friar Laurence provides refuge for Romeo and makes a plan 
Act 3 Tuesday Dawn Famous balcony scene, Juliet and Romeo spent the night together in bed, but Romeo has to leave
Act 4 Tuesday Morning Juliet is sad after Romeo leaves and visits the Friar
Act 4 Tuesday Afternoon – Friar Laurence advises Juliet with plan of fake potion and faking her death to escape to Romeo
-Juliet knows that she will escape, so she just tells her dad Capulet that she will ‘marry’ Paris just to satisfy
-Father is so happy, moves the wedding up one day to Wednesday
Act 4 Tuesday Night -Juliet takes the sleeping potion and ‘dies’ earlier than planned
-Message to Romeo about the new plan has not reached Romeo yet!
Act 4 Wednesday Morning -Nurse finds out Juliet is dead
-Capulets find out
-Wedding becomes a funeral
Act 5 Wednesday -Romeo never got the message of the fake potion
-Romeo hears that Juliet died
-Romeo comes back to Verona to die with her (suicide)
Act 5 Thursday Late Evening -Romeo comes to the funeral; Paris and Romeo fight. Paris dies.

-Romeo does not know Juliet’s poison is only a sleeping pill, so he kills himself to be with her.

-Juliet wakes up, sees Romeo dead, and stabs herself to death. Prince comes and Capulets come to find everyone dead

-Montagues arrive, are told that Lady Montague is dead

-Friar confesses, says that he is guilty, tells all about what happened and the plans, and then excuses himself
Act 5 Friday Early Morning Everyone agrees to peace; feud between families resolved
Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene

Detailed Timeline Review of Events in Romeo and Juliet with Quotes and Page References [see Here]

Evaluate Capulet as a Father in Romeo and Juliet

  • Evaluate Capulet as a father
    • He really cares about his daughter because she is his only child
    • He wants what is best for her 
    • He wants her to stay happy and marry
    • At first he let her decide when and who she wants to marry but then after Tybalt’s death he could not see her sad and so made the decision for her

What chance happenings occur to change the Direction of the Play

  • What chance happenings occur to change the direction of the play?

-Romeo falls in love with Juliet

-Tybalt kills Mercutio, and Romeo kills Tybalt

-Juliet has been forced to marry Paris.

-Juliet drinks the vial of sedatives from Friar Lawrence

-Romeo hears about Juliet’s “death”

-Romeo buys poison

-Romeo kills Paris, then kills himself

-Juliet kills herself

  • Foreshadowing Elements of evil in Act 1:  Prince’s Speech line 60-78, Romeo’s speech 83-90, Tybalt line 72-75, Juliet lines 121-124

Why are the Elements of Humor Necessary in Romeo and Juliet?

  • Why are the elements of humor necessary?
    • The audience already know what is going to happen, so Shakespeare uses comedic relief to loosen up the mood and let people enjoy some moments like in act 4 the talk between the servant and the musicians.  
    • The elements of humor were necessary to ease the mood. The use of comedic relief is to calm the readers down, and release tension from the play.
  • How does the “party” advance the plot?
    • The party advances the plot because it is where the two lovers meet and their fate closes (determined to die). 
    • It also introduces the conflict 

Label the Major Characters in Romeo and Juliet Dynamic, Static, Flat, Round – WHY?

  • Label the major character Dynamic, Static, Flat, Round – WHY?

Juliet = dynamic, round because she died and matured as a woman

Romeo = dynamic, round because he changed perspectives the most and had the most mood swings and died at the end. The readers interpret Romeo in various different ways, and he is characterized in many perspectives.

Lady Capulet = Static, flat, she is not characterized much and we only know one trait about her(and that is she is incompetent as a mother). In the end, she has not changed at all.

Lord Capulet = dynamic, flat(in a way), because he changed his opinions about Juliet several times, but this may be repeated so much that this has become a typical disposition of him. If so, he is flat.

Friar Lawrence = static, flat, he hasn’t changed throughout the story(opinions,status, etc), and not much is revealed about HIS character.

Mercutio = dynamic, round. Mercutio dies in the end, so he experiences an extreme change. Mercutio is characterized gratuitously throughout various scenes, mostly as a comedic and ill-tempered man.

Tybalt = dynamic, round. Tybalt is a very round character, for he appeared many times in the play, and through his actions, he was characterized thoroughly as a temperamental and violent man but also a good fighter. Tybalt is dynamic because he died.

Paris = dynamic, flat.

Lady Montague = dynamic, flat.


Which Characters Act as a Foil to One another?

  • Which characters act as a FOIL to one another?
    • For an example of Dramatic Foil in Romeo & Juliet, the character Tybalt can be refered to as a Dramatic Foil for Benvolio. Through Tybalt’s pugnacious attitude, we see the peaceful manner of Benvolio.
    • The friar and Romeo are dramatic foil. The friar is sneaky and old, and he is slow and thinks everything Romeo does is wrong. Romeo is the opposite of the friar and he is characterized as lively and ready to take risks, unlike the friar who just tries to fix problems.
    • Mercutio and Romeo are dramatic foil. Mercutio is a character who hates love and says dreams are something Queen Mab gives to people based on what they are (ex.lawyers dream about law). Romeo says that love is a beautiful thing and he actually believes in dreams.  
Tybalt vs Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet

How is almost the entire play affected by Tybalt’s Attitude?

  • How is almost the entire play affected by Tybalt’s attitude?
    • Tyablt’s attitude affected entire play because it is what caused Romeo to get banished and Lord Capulet to change his mind and make the marrigae with paris immediately. because of that juliet plan to pretend her death but when romeo saw her he kill himself, and paris and juliet die because she saw romeo die. this all happens because of tybalt’s attitude. 
    • Tybalts is against the Montagues and doesn’t like them. Tybalts arrogant attitude and willingness to go against the laws and the demands of the prince. Tybalt is fearless and loves to fight. He tries to  create fights when there is peace and calm. This attitude changed the play because it led to Romeo’s banishment, which caused the Friar to make new plans to help Romeo and Juliet be together. This then changes the whole course of the play. If Tybalt’s attitude were different, Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have to hide as much to be together

Describe Shakespeare’s social commentary on Money

  • Describe Shakespeare’s social commentary on: Money – money is poison (Romeo’s Speech act 5) Nature of Humans (Friar’s speech act 2) Hate (Prince’s speeches Act 1 and Act 5)
  • What influence does true love have over the characters? (Do not just focus on R&J) –  (Love= love of friends, love of family, love of fighting etc.)
  • How does Shakespeare reflect/define the affects of the impulsiveness of youth and the idea that young adults think they know everything?
    • Romeo and Juliet rushed into marriage secretly… look where it got them….
  • How does time factor into the story? (Time of day, days of their love, rashness of actions, time=age)

Using the characterization learned about Tybalt evaluate whether his thrust to kill Mercutio was an accident or on purpose?

  • Using the characterization learned about Tybalt evaluate whether his thrust to kill Mercutio was an accident or on purpose?
    • It was on purpose because knowing he has a high temper and want for revenge with Romeo auidence can tell that the only way for him to get Romeo to fight was to make him angry and he did that by killing Mercutio under Romeo’s hand. This makes Romeo feel guilty because he thinks that it was his fault that Mercutio died so he wanted revenge.
  • What is the theme about MAN/HUMAN NATURE revealed in Friar’s speech in the beginning of Act 2?
    • The theme about man/ human nature is that a person has both a good and bad side and sometimes one can get overcome by there bad side or there good side. 
Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene VI

What is the CAUSE of each EFFECT in the play Romeo and Juliet? (Focus on actions, fate, chance, AND emotions of the characters)

  • What is the CAUSE of each EFFECT in play? (Focus on actions, fate, chance AND emotions of the characters)
    • EFFECT: Romeo goes to the banquet and falls in love with the daughter of his enemy  CAUSE: This event happens because of Romeo’s actions.  He chooses to go the banquet although he knows it is dangerous.   Ultimately it was his fate to fall in love with Juliet and because he is young and rash with his love he falls in love quickly.   The actions of the servant also cause this event. It is by chance that Romeo finds out about the party because the servant asks him to read the invitation.
    • Romeo and Juliet marry secretly instead of asking their parents permission

CAUSE: They marry secretly because their families are sworn enemies, and the thought of these individuals even meeting would have caused outrage in households. The conflict between families is unknown to begin the poem, but the feud has caused this effect.

  • Mercutio is killed by Tybalt

→  CAUSE: Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, because Romeo step sin between the two men, blinding Mercutio and Tybalt’s sparring, forcing them to jab violently, into the unknown. This random jabbing/stabbing, accidentally killed Mercutio. The fight initially began, because Tybalt, upon seeing Romeo at the party wanted to fight him. However, because Lord Capulet prohibited this occurrence, he was forced to seek revenge alternatively. He then sent Romeo a notice for battle, and Mercutio responded, thinking Romeo couldn’t handle the “Prince of Cats” (Tybalt), when he was fluttered in his love drama.

  • Romeo kills Tybalt
    • This causes Romeo to be banished
  • Lord Capulet agrees to let Paris marry Juliet
    • This made the plan for Juliet and Romeo to be together change. They had to make a new plan to work around the marrige. Juliet had to prevent the marrige and wanted to be with Romeo. This led to the Friar’s new plan with the potion and due to problems with the plan, Romeo and Juliet died.
  • Juliet drinks the potion
    • Juliet drank the potion, changing the marriage to the funeral and causing grief for the nurse, Capulet, Lady Capulet and Paris. 
  • Friar John never arrives at Mantua with the important letter
    • This means Romeo didn’t find out that Juliet’s death was fake
  • Romeo kills Paris
    • Romeo then realizes that Paris loved Juliet
  • Romeo drinks the poison
    • This happens right before Juliet wakes up
  • Friar Laurence arrives too late to save Romeo and does not save Juliet
    • Friar Lawrence urges Juliet to leave, but Juliet chooses to stay
  • Juliet stabs herself
    • This makes the Friar get caught, due to him waiting for her and leads to Montague making a statue of Juliet to honor her.

Subjects and Theme Statements in Romeo and Juliet

  • Subjects and Theme Statements:
    • LOVE: Love reveals one’s deepest feelings yet clouds one’s judgement
    • REVENGE: Revenge is the seed for more death and destruction and ultimately does not pay off
    • FATE: Fate dictates our paths in life and can be altered
    • SUICIDE:   Suicide is a final solution to reparable life solutions
    • INNOCENCE:  Innocence cannot be retained with knowledge, experience & truth
    • HATE: Hate is one of the most powerful emotions and if not controlled can cause destruction of self and others

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