Romeo and Juliet Questions

1.  Sc. 1, Lines 1–11: Why does Shakespeare open this scene with Romeo in a joyful mood?

2.  Sc. 1, Lines 12–32: Why must Romeo repeat his request for news of Juliet twice? What does Balthasar’s response suggest that he is doing? How did Balthasar come by this news? Note the description of Romeo as “pale and wild.” What might be foreshadowed by these details?

3.  Sc. 1, Lines 34–57: Explain what Romeo means in line 34. Does he consider his options or plunge immediately into action? Is his approach consistent with the way he has acted in the past? Explain. What does Romeo want from the apothecary? Explain what Romeo thinks will motivate the apothecary to help him.

4.  Sc. 1, Lines 66–71: Explain how Romeo uses irony to persuade the apothecary to sell him what he needs.

5.  Sc. 1, Lines 75–86: Why does Romeo refer to the poison as a “cordial”?

6.  Sc. 2, Lines 1–20: Why did Friar John fail to deliver the letter? How does Friar John’s news affect Friar Laurence? Why?

7.  Sc. 2, Lines 23–29: Explain the irony of Friar Laurence’s fear of what might happen as a result of Friar John’s news.

8.  Sc. 3, Lines 1–11: What can you infer about the reason that Paris is in the graveyard? What does this motive reveal about his character?

9.  Sc. 3, Lines 22–39: Explain the two reasons that Romeo states for entering the tomb. What is the third reason that he implies? Is Balthasar convinced by Romeo’s explanation? Why or why not?

10.  Sc. 3, Lines 49–70: Explain Paris’s perception of Romeo and his presence at the graveyard. For what does Paris blame Romeo?

11.  Sc. 3, Lines 61–63: What does Romeo mean in these lines when he says, “I beseech thee, youth,/ Put not another sin upon my head/ By urging me to fury”? What qualities do his words in this speech show?

12.  Sc. 3, Lines 88–120: What part of the speech reminds the audience what they know about Juliet’s death? Recall the specifications that Romeo gave the apothecary for what kind of poison he wanted. What is the irony of Romeo having received what he requested? Why are Romeo’s last words also ironic?

13.  Sc. 3, Lines 128–136: Infer Friar Laurence’s feelings as he approaches the vault.

14.  Sc. 3, Lines 148–154: What does the friar want Juliet to do and why?

15.  Sc. 3, Lines 155–159: Why is the friar so anxious to leave the vault? How might his hasty departure reflect his state of mind?

16.  Sc. 3, Lines 174–205: Summarize how the feud between the two families determined the outcome of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. Who else suffered as a result of this hostility between the families?

17.  Sc. 3, Lines 198–201: The onlookers describe this scene as one of hate. In what ironic sense is it a scene of love?

18.  Sc. 3, Lines 210–227: Why does the friar step forward to explain the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

19.  Sc. 3, Lines 265–272: How does the friar redeem himself at the end of his speech? What does Prince Escalus say that shows his reaction to the friar’s words?

20.  Sc. 3, Lines 291–304: How does the outcome of the play relate to the friar’s earlier observations about nature? Cite evidence from the friar’s speech in Act II to support your response.

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