so then in my acting part of the assessment, which character shall i choose to play who was not responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
Can you suggest a character and why and what exactly I can say when speaking to the class?
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Since just about everybody in Verona is in some way responsible, this is an interesting assignment.
Obviously both families are responsible since it is an ancient family feud. Gregory tells us in the opening scene, "The quarrel is between our masters and us their men."
A case could be made for Benvolio since he always tries to stop the fights. He is a peacemaker. He does suggest that they crash the Capulet's party so he can show Romeo other beautiful young ladies. He does not, however, suggest that Romeo fall in love with Juliet.
Another character who does not seem to be directly affected by the feud is Mercutio. He is Romeo's friend but does not seem to care much about the feud. He is the jester of the group. He is always good for a laugh. He doesn't seem to care about much other than making jokes, most of them sexual. One could say that he is a lover not a fighter. It is however, his death that caused Romeo to be banished.
Other than these two characters, everybody else is involved to a greater or lesser degree in the tragedy of these two young lovers.
A true friend, Mercutio's death at the fated hands of Romeo seems all the more tragic as one considers his love for Romeo [this would be a good part to reenact]. At the beginning of Act II, for instance, Mercutio calls and calls for Romeo, entreating him to come out of hiding--"my invocation/Is fair and honest...."
Then, in Act III Mercutio become angry with Tybalt mainly out of defense for his friendship with Romeo, without consideration for the family feud.
I think this presentation would be interesting if told from the perspective of Paris. It seems as if his main fault was in wanting to marry Juliet. Up until the point where she met Romeo, she seem accepting of this. In addition, it never seems as if anyone of the Capulets told him she was having doubts, so he was never in a position to back down or release her from the engagement. Yet, he too lost something when she died.
Rats! I was also going to suggest Paris, since he's more of an innocent victim of the feud and the subsequent deaths than just about anyone in the story. The poor guy doesn't say much, so I'm not sure what speech you'd quote, but there are a few lines he speaks first with Capulet and then with Juliet as the marriage deal is sealed, so to speak. He also has an altercation with Romeo at the tomb right before he dies. Good luck with this interesting assignment!
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