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Romeo and Juliet: Essay Topics

1) Discuss the character of Romeo and his infatuation with Rosaline. Does this weaken the credibility of the love he feels for Juliet?

2) Friar Laurence serves many dramatic purposes in the play. Examine the Friar and his role in Romeo and Juliet.

3) Mercutio is considered to be one of Shakespeare's great creations, yet he is killed relatively early in the play. What makes Mercutio so memorable a character?

4) Examine the role of women in Romeo and Juliet.

5) Romeo and Juliet are referred to as "star-cross'd lovers". Discuss the concept of predetermined destiny and how it relates to the play.

6) Discuss Juliet's soliloquy that opens Act 3, Scene 2, paying particular attention to its poetic merits and relevance to the overall play.

7) Many references are made to time in the play. Discuss the passage of time throughout Romeo and Juliet.

8) What sets Romeo and Juliet apart from Shakespeare's other great tragedies? In particular, what differentiates the young lovers from other Shakespearean heroes like Othello, Macbeth, and Hamlet?

9) Mercutio gives a wonderful monologue on Queen Mab in Act 1, Scene 4. Examine this passage and discuss its literary qualities. Of what significance is Mercutio's speech to the overall play?

10) Juliet's suitor Paris is compared throughout the play to Romeo. Examine carefully the similarities and differences between the two young men who love Juliet.


More Resources

 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

Research Your Topic

 Romeo and Juliet: Complete Text with Explanatory Notes and Guide
 The Dramatic Function of Mercutio's Queen Mab Speech
 What Is Accomplished in Act I?
 The Purpose of Romeo's witticisms in 2.1.

 Friar Laurence's First Soliloquy
 The Importance of Romeo and Rosaline
 Mercutio's Death and its Role in the Play

 Romeo and Juliet: Examination Questions and Answers
 Costume Design for a Production of Romeo and Juliet
 Themes in Romeo and Juliet
 Shakespeare on Fate

 The Five Stages of Plot Development in Romeo and Juliet
 Annotated Balcony Scene, Act 2
 Blank Verse and Rhyme in Romeo and Juliet

 Sources for Romeo and Juliet
 Romeo and Juliet Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Romeo and Juliet Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)

 Romeo and Juliet and the Rules of Dramatic Tragedy
 Romeo and Juliet: Teacher's Notes and Classroom Discussion

 How to Pronounce the Names in Romeo and Juliet
 Introduction to Romeo
 Introduction to Juliet

 Introduction to Mercutio
 Introduction to Friar Laurence
 Introduction to The Nurse

 Introduction to Paris
 Introduction to The Montagues and the Capulets
 Famous Quotations from Romeo and Juliet

 Stage History of Romeo and Juliet
 All About Queen Mab
 Why Shakespeare is so Important

 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama