Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.

Topic #1
Impetuosity is a tragic flaw that affects character and action. This flaw within a character will ultimately cause the death of the protagonist. Write an essay in which hasty decisions or actions result in the final tragedy of the play.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Impetuosity is a tragic flaw present in the characters of Romeo, Juliet, Lord Capulet, and Friar Laurence.
II. Impetuosity of Romeo
A. Love
1. Instant love for Juliet
2. Decision to marry
3. Preference to death rather than be parted from Juliet
B. Relationship with others
1. Reaction after he is banished
2. Kills Tybalt
3. Kills Paris
4. Purchase of poison from the apothecary

III. Impetuosity of Juliet
A. Love
1. Instant love for Romeo
2. Decision to marry
3. Her death
B. Relationship to others
1. Reactions after learning that she is to marry Paris
2. Her attitude toward her parents

IV. Impetuosity of Lord Capulet
A. Decision to give consent for Juliet to marry Paris
B. Reaction when Juliet refuses to marry Paris
C. Decision to move the date up one day

V. Impetuosity of Friar Laurence
A. Willingness to marry Romeo and Juliet
B. Sending Friar John with the letter to Romeo instead of Balthasar
C. Leaving Juliet in the tomb after she awoke

VI. Conclusion: Romeo, Juliet, Lord Capulet, and Friar Laurence all acted hastily at some point in the play which contributed to the final destruction of Romeo and Juliet.

Topic #2
Because the entire play represents only five days in the lives of Romeo and Juliet, the time line is an important element. Write an essay explaining the happenings on each of these days and explain how these influenced the outcome of the play.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Important situations occur in each of these five days of the protagonists’ lives that influence the outcome of the play.

II. Day One—Sunday
A. The quarrel among the Capulet and Montague servants
1. Tybalt fights Benvolio
2. Prince issues warning
B. Romeo’s romantic nature
1. His infatuation for Rosaline
2. His love for Juliet is established
C. Paris asks to marry Juliet
D. Lord Capulet’s ball
1. Romeo and Juliet meet
2. Tybalt’s anger is ignited against Romeo

III. Day Two—Monday
A. Romeo incorporates Friar Laurence’s help
B. The Nurse meets with Romeo to get the wedding plans
C. Romeo and Juliet are married
D. The fights on the streets of Verona
1. Tybalt kills Mercutio
2. Romeo kills Tybalt
E. Romeo is banished
F. Friar Laurence devises a plan for Romeo and Juliet
G. Paris is granted permission to marry Juliet...

(The entire section is 1247 words.)