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How can I create a thesis statement for an essay on Romeo and Juliet with the topic of...

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macjlseagul | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM via web

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How can I create a thesis statement for an essay on Romeo and Juliet with the topic of darkness?

Darkness is thoughout the play  -- it describes Romeo at the beginning  when he is depressed, and it becomes positive when Romeo and Juliet meet in the dark.

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shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM (Answer #1)

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There are, I think, two things for you to be aware of:

  1. Creating an Introduction to your essay, with thesis statement on the topic of darkness; and
  2. Good examples of the use of darkness as a theme throughout the play.

Enotes has great tips on creating all kinds of essays and creating a good Introduction.  I've linked that page below, but here are a few of the important things to consider as you create your Introduction:

  • You should collect your supporting examples on darkness from the play before you begin writing (I'll give you some suggestions on places to look below.).
  • Once you have done your research, compose your thesis statement (I'll give you an example below.).
  • Think of a creative way to kick off your essay -- A quote or a question related to your topic of darkness would both be good beginnings.

As for examples, look at all the scenes that are clearly set at night -- Act I, scenes iv and v; Act II, scenes i and ii; and Act V, scene iii.  You should also look at scenes in which night is a topic -- Act III, scene ii (in which Juliet calls upon "night") and Act III, scene v (in which Romeo and Juliet argue about whether day has yet broken or not).  You will also find many references to "darkness" in the play.

Once you have found examples relating to your topic, you must narrow down how you would like to consider darkness as it is used in the play for your essay.  Do you want to relate (as you suggest above) darkness as a metaphor for depression or secrecy?  If you decide that you'll examine how darkness operates in this way, you might create a thesis such as this:

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare often alludes to the image of darkness, relating it, through characters, time of day, and scene structures, to depression and secrecy.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a thesis statement you should use.  Rather, you should use it as a model for creating your own, based upon the supporting evidence you gather and the specific point you would like to make.

For more on creating an Introduction (and thesis statement) and darkness in the play, please follow the links below.

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:13 PM (Answer #2)

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You've got some good examples above of the darkness that is present in the play. What you want to do is figure out what impact darkness has on the characters. Why is the darkness important? What does it mean? For instance, you say that it becomes positive when Romeo and Juliet meet in the dark. In the balcony scene, they talk to each other, but the darkness prevents them from fully getting to know each other and understand each other. It also lends itself to the idea that they are going to have to keep their families in the dark in terms of their "relationship." Looking at the end, you see that they are in the tomb where Juliet is "laid to rest." Romeo doesn't know she's not dead, so he kills himself. All of this might lead back to knowledge. Darkness shades the characters from knowing what is happening and what they need to do to be together. Look for darkness in the families and their relationships and you've got a great start to whatever paper you need to write!

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