Romeo & Juliet Discussion 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 will include discussion questions from William Shakespeare's ''Romeo and Juliet''. These questions will be separated by theme. And, in order to better facilitate meaningful discussions, some of these questions will be briefly expanded.


The many themes within Romeo and Juliet invite much discussion. Love, hate, youth, politics, and religion are chief among the topics in the play that not only make for great discussions, but can also lead to some very useful historical research. Let us examine some of these discussion questions and topics.

Time and Place

  • Discuss the setting of Romeo and Juliet. Why Italy and not England? Why Verona and not Rome or Milan?

For this topic, your discussion should include a look at the religious variations in Renaissance era Europe. Shakespeare's use of Catholic tenets and imagery quite possibly made it impossible for him to set the play in Protestant England.

Furthermore, the politics of the time, especially Italy, are also likely to have played a role in his choice. Here, a discussion of Italian politics of the Renaissance era will be useful, in order to better understand the reasons behind feuding families, such as the Capulets and Montagues.

Lastly, discuss the origins of the play itself. Shakespeare's first tragic play, Romeo and Juliet was based on an older poem titled The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet which was based on two real lovers who died for each other. There were said to have lived in Verona in the year 1303.

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