ENG1D – Dempsey
ENG1D - Romeo and Juliet Formal Essay
Directions: You will be completing a formal literary essay on the play Romeo and Juliet. Choose one of the prompts found below. Begin by prewriting—brainstorming, creating an idea web, outlining or listing ideas.
Note: keep in mind that this is a LITERARY ANALYSIS paper. In other words, your evidence and examples need to include a number of direct quotes from the play.
1. Discuss the relationships between parents and children in Romeo and Juliet. How do Romeo and Juliet interact with their parents? Are they rebellious in the modern sense? How do their parents feel about them?
2. Analyze the characters of the Nurse and Friar Laurence as mentors to the young people in the play. Do these two people do the “right thing” in their relationships with Romeo and Juliet?
3. How does Shakespeare treat death in Romeo and Juliet? Frame your answer in terms of legal, moral, familial, and personal issues. Bearing these issues in mind, compare the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio, and Mercutio and Tybalt.
4. "A tragedy must reflect a range of experience and base itself on a system of values which are felt by its audience to be real." Does Romeo and Juliet achieve this? Or is it an ancient story on which we reflect with sorrow and nothing more?
5. In the Prologue, Romeo and Juliet are described as "star-crossed lovers" and reference is made to their "death-marked love". They themselves speak like this. Do you think that Shakespeare wants to create the impression that their death is brought about by a cruel overwhelming Fate, by sheer accident or by their own willfulness — or by some or all of these?
6. 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.
7. How does the idea of identity contribute to the story of Romeo and Juliet? Consider family affiliation, gender, social class and age in your response.
8. How does the suicidal impulse that both Romeo and Juliet exhibit relate to the overall theme topic of young love? Does Shakespeare seem to consider a self-destructive tendency inextricably connected with love, or is it a separate issue? Why do you think so?
9. Shakespeare was the master of figurative language. Consider how the use of metaphor, simile, hyperbole and/or personification contributes to the meaning of one of the play’s longer speeches. Analyze the speech and explain its figurative language.
You will be given 1 period in advance of this evaluation to prepare an outline, formulate ideas and mark pages for pertinent quotations from the text. You will have 2 periods in which to complete the evaluation.