Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Questions

Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

This lesson includes a series of important questions from Act 1 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. These will be divided by theme, and some of the more complex questions will include possible discussion points.

Background

One of the most popular of Shakespeare's tragedies, Romeo and Juliet is a story of teenage love in the face of familial conflict. As such, it is filled with important themes and points which invite further discussion. Let us have a look at some such points from Act 1 of the play.

Time and Place

  • Where does the play take place? Why is that important in the context of the play? And why is it believed to take place in the 16th century?

There are a few possible reasons why Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet in the romantic Italian city of Verona. The main idea has to do with religion. As The Church of England turned Protestant, it became more publicly acceptable for a play including vices such as lust, suicide, and murder, to be set in a Catholic country. The second reason, is that Shakespeare based the play on a story that was originally Italian, and therefore decided to pay tribute to the original by setting it in its country of inception. Thirdly, Italy has a history of feuding political families, and would therefore make the perfect setting for Romeo and Juliet.

  • How does the compressed timeline affect the play? Does it make the play feel rushed? Or does it add to the immediacy of the action?

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