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Romeo & Juliet Act 4 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.

In this lesson, we will have a look at main points and study questions from Act 4 of William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet,' divided into sections by theme. Some of the more complex questions will also include a brief explanation in order to better aid in their discussion.

Background

In Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet, the secret wedding of Romeo and Juliet is in danger of being discovered. This leads to a drastic plan by Friar Laurence, which Juliet accepts and undertakes. All these events only serve to set up the heartbreaking final act of the play.

Marriage Plans

  • Why is Friar Laurence unwilling to marry Paris and Juliet? How does he explain his unwillingness?
  • How does Paris explain the rush to have a wedding?
  • How does Paris misunderstand Juliet when she talks to him about love?

The Friar's Plan

  • Juliet asks Friar Laurence for help to get out of marrying Paris. What doe she threaten to do if he is unwilling to help her?
  • Discuss Friar Laurence's plan to help Juliet. Why does he believe Juliet will accept this plan? Does she accept?

Friar Laurence decides to use Juliet's constant threats of suicide to get her to go along with his clever but risky plan. Being familiar with poison potion and such, Friar Laurence concocts a portion which makes Juliet appear dead, without actually killing her. This way, she can get out of marrying Paris.

Friar Laurence tells Juliet that if she is willing to kill herself for Romeo, she should be willing to almost kill herself for him. It works, and Juliet agrees. Is this a good plan? Or a desperate one?

The Plan In Action

  • How does Juliet make her father, Capulet, happy about everything?
  • What does Capulet do to the wedding plans? How does this force Juliet's hand? How does it change the play?

Capulet moves the wedding up to Wednesday, ironically, to cheer Juliet up. This forces Juliet to make a decision whether or not to take Friar Laurence's potion, since neither the Friar nor Romeo know about this change.

It is a big moment for Juliet, a teenager, to have to make a grown up decision. Discuss this with your students. Have they ever had to quickly make an important, adult decision?

  • Up to this point, Juliet has been prone to drama and rash decisions. How does she now show her maturity and independence?

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