The first permanent professional theater in England was built around 1576 and was called the Theater. Other theaters soon opened, including two called the Curtain and the Rose. Not only was Shakespeare working as a playwright and an actor for the Theater, he was also a stock holder.
Another theater soon opened and became one of the most famous of the London public playhouses. It was completed around 1599 and was called the Globe. It was perhaps the largest theater in England and derived its name “from the sign painted above its door, a picture of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders” (Kittredge). Shakespeare also owned stock in the Globe and performed as an actor in many of his own plays. The Globe was an enclosed theater without a roof. The spectators who stood or sat on the ground around the acting area were called “groundlings.” The wealthier playgoers sat in galleries surrounding the stage area. There was no curtain, and sunlight provided the lighting for the performances; therefore, the performances were held during the day. Because there were no sets or scene changes, Shakespeare’s characters wore extravagant costumes to provide the beauty and pageantry that was expected on the stage. Plays were usually fast-paced and colorful productions. The actors, as a rule, played more than one part in a play, and all of the women’s parts were portrayed by young boys.
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In this section:
- Shakespeare’s Language
- Shakespeare’s Sentences
- Shakespeare’s Words
- Shakespeare’s Wordplay
- Shakespeare’s Dramatic Verse
- Implied Stage Action
Shakespeare’s language can create a strong pang of intimidation, even fear, in a large number of modern-day readers. Fortunately, however, this need not be the case. All that is needed to master the art of reading Shakespeare is to practice the techniques of unraveling uncommonly-structured sentences and to become familiar with the poetic use of uncommon words. We must realize that during the 400-year span between Shakespeare’s time and our own, both the way we live and speak has changed. Although most of his vocabulary is in use today, some of it is obsolete, and what may be most confusing is that some of his words are used today, but with slightly different or totally different meanings. On the stage, actors readily dissolve these language stumbling blocks. They study Shakespeare’s dialogue and express it dramatically in word and in action so that its meaning is graphically enacted. If the reader studies Shakespeare’s lines as an actor does, looking up and...
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Form and Content (Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series, Supplement)
Romeo and Juliet is a five-act tragedy about the protagonists’ ill-fated love. By chance, Romeo, the son of Montague, learns of the annual Capulet party, and he allows his kinsman Benvolio to persuade him to attend, even though the Capulets are mortal enemies of the Montagues. Romeo hopes to see his disdainful love, Rosaline, while Benvolio hopes that Romeo will find another woman there.
At the party, Romeo indeed falls in love with another, Juliet, the only daughter of old Capulet. She also falls in love with him. After the ball, Romeo enters the Capulet garden, where he and Juliet converse in the famous balcony scene. She proposes to marry him, and, before they part, she tells him that in the morning she will send her nurse to learn his answer.
That morning, Romeo tells the nurse to instruct Juliet to meet him at Friar Lawrence’s monastery in the afternoon, and there they secretly marry. Before the lovers can consummate their marriage that night, however, Juliet’s cousin Tybalt meets Romeo and challenges him to a duel. Romeo, now related to Tybalt by marriage, refuses the challenge, but Romeo’s friend Mercutio accepts. As Romeo tries to separate the two combatants, Mercutio is slain. Romeo must now choose between the masculine code of revenge and the feminine code of love. He chooses the former and kills Tybalt in a fair fight. The Prince of Verona, who has ordered the Montagues and Capulets to avoid fighting on pain of...
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Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Capulets’ orchard. Walled orchard overlooked by Juliet’s window. A place where domestic comfort meets wild nature, the orchard is the place where the play’s star-crossed lovers pledge their troth, and through which Romeo enters Juliet’s chamber to consummate their secret marriage. There, too, the higher and lower aspects of love are contrasted: Juliet, above, representing true romance; and the lane by the wall, below, where Mercutio taunts Romeo with lewd jests.
Friar Laurence’s cell
Friar Laurence’s cell. Sacred place where the lovers repair from the cruel world to find solace and intimate counsel from their sympathetic priest. There the lovers privately confide in the friar their determination to commit suicide. There too the crucial elements of the tragedy’s plot are devised: plans for the secret marriage, the sleeping potion Juliet takes to avoid marrying Paris, and the miscarried letter to bring Romeo back from banishment in Mantua.
Capulets’ tomb. Place where love and death conjoin in a double suicide on holy ground. Seeming to be dead, Juliet is placed in the tomb, there to awake and find that Romeo has dealt Paris a bloody death and poisoned himself, thinking she is dead. When his lips afford her none of the poison, she plunges his dagger into her bosom. Significantly, the play ends there, not with their deaths, but with the...
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Full Title: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Date of Composition: Mid-1590s
Setting: Verona and Mantua, Italy, during the fourteenth or fifteenth century
Main Characters: Romeo Montague, Juliet Capulet, Friar Laurence, Juliet’s nurse, Lord and Lady Capulet
- Flowers. One of the most famous lines in literature comes from Romeo and Juliet: “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (2.2.45-46). Here, flowers symbolize both beauty and love.
- Stars. Romeo and Juliet are the “star-cross’d lovers.” Stars in this play are symbols of fate. The fact that the lovers are “cross’d” bespeaks the tragedy that is to come.
- Darkness and Light. At the beginning of the play, Romeo is alone and depressed. His father says that his personal darkness is like “adding clouds to more clouds” (1.1.129). But later, his depression lifts when Romeo compares Juliet’s beauty to light, the ethereal quality that defines her: “But soft! What light from yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun” (2.2.2-3).
- Poison. Friar Laurence concocts a “poison” that will make Romeo appear dead. His plan backfires and the young lovers commit suicide. Poison is a symbol of the way good people can make bad choices.
- Love. Romantic love is the dominant theme in the play. The powerfulness and blindness of love is paramount to all concerned, and that is especially true for Romeo and Juliet.
- Us vs. Them. The young lovers’ refusal to conform is the other dominant theme. Although society presents many obstacles and reasons why Romeo and Juliet cannot be together, the pair pursues their own happiness.
- Fate. We know from the beginning that the lovers are doomed. As much as they may try to thwart...
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Act I, Scenes 1-2: Questions and Answers
1. What is the setting for the play?
2. What scene of conflict opens the action of the play?
3. Which character tries to stop the fighting among the servants?
4. Which character is aggressive and eager to fight?
5. What warning does the Prince give to anyone who breaks the peace again?
6. Who has asked for Juliet’s hand in marriage?
7. How old is Juliet?
8. In what state of mind is Romeo when we first see him in the play?
9. Explain how Romeo finds out about the Capulet ball.
10. How does Benvolio try to remedy Romeo’s love sickness?
1. The setting is a street scene in Verona, Italy.
2. The play opens with a conflict between the Capulet and Montague servants. Eventually, even the townspeople become involved.
3. Benvolio tries to stop the fighting among the servants.
4. Tybalt is aggressive and eager to fight. He challenges Benvolio to draw his sword.
5. The Prince decrees that if anyone breaks the peace again, he shall pay with his life.
6. Paris has asked for Juliet’s hand in marriage.
7. Juliet is thirteen years old.
8. As the play opens, Romeo’s state of mind can best be described as love-sick, in love with love, moody, and melancholy.
9. Romeo finds out about the Capulet ball when an illiterate...
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Act I, Scenes 3-5: Questions and Answers
1. Who is Susan?
2. When is Juliet’s birthday?
3. Why does Lady Capulet visit with Juliet? What questions does she ask her?
4. How do the Nurse and Lady Capulet feel about Paris?
5. Which character loves to talk?
6. Who is Queen Mab?
7. What premonition does Romeo have?
8. How did Lord Capulet force the young ladies to dance with him?
9. Who recognizes Romeo’s voice at the feast and becomes furious because he is allowed to stay?
10. Who first tells Romeo and Juliet who the other is?
1. Susan is the Nurse’s daughter who was born on the same day as Juliet; however, she died.
2. Juliet’s birthday is on Lammas Eve.
3. Lady Capulet visits with Juliet to ask her if she is ready for marriage. She asks Juliet to look at Paris at the feast that night.
4. The Nurse and Lady Capulet feel that Paris is a perfect match for Juliet and are in favor of the marriage.
5. Mercutio loves to talk and uses figurative language and many plays on words.
6. Queen Mab is the Queen of Fairies. She is responsible for what men dream.
7. Romeo has a premonition that something is about to happen that will shorten his life.
8. Lord Capulet threatens to tell everyone that any young lady who does not dance with him has corns on her feet....
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Act II, Scenes 1 and 2: Questions and Answers
1. Instead of returning home, where does Romeo go after the ball?
2. What is a soliloquy and how is it used in Scene 2?
3. By whose name does Mercutio call for Romeo?
4. How does Romeo learn of Juliet’s love for him?
5. What does Romeo say helped him climb over the high walls of the Capulet orchard and find Juliet’s window?
6. What do Romeo and Juliet exchange?
7. What do Romeo and Juliet plan to do the next day?
8. To what does Romeo compare Juliet’s beauty?
9. Who keeps interrupting the balcony scene?
10. Why does Juliet ask Romeo not to swear by the moon?
1. After the ball, Romeo goes over the wall and into the Capulet orchard.
2. A soliloquy is a dramatic monologue spoken aloud by a character to reveal his thoughts to the audience. Romeo uses a soliloquy to describe Juliet’s beauty as she stands on her balcony.
3. Mercutio keeps calling for Romeo in Rosaline’s name.
4. He overhears Juliet speaking of her love for him when she thinks she is alone.
5. Love, which gave him wings, helped him over the wall and made it possible for him to find her balcony.
6. Romeo and Juliet exchange vows of love.
7. Romeo and Juliet plan to be married the next day.
8. Romeo compares Juliet’s beauty to brightness, warmth,...
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Act II, Scenes 3 and 4: Questions and Answers
1. What is Friar Laurence’s special skill or area of knowledge?
2. With what does Friar Laurence compare the beneficial and poisonous parts of the plant?
3. About what does the Friar caution Romeo?
4. Why does the Friar agree to marry Romeo and Juliet?
5. Who has sent Romeo a challenge for a duel?
6. What excuse is Juliet to give for going to Friar Laurence’s cell?
7. Where are Romeo and Juliet to be married?
8. Who teases Romeo about Rosaline and his love-sickness?
9. Who teases the Nurse and causes her to become crass?
10. How does Romeo plan to get into Juliet’s window?
1. Friar Laurence’s special skill is in making medicines and potions from herbs.
2. Friar Laurence compares the beneficial and poisonous parts of a plant to the good and evil within a man.
3. Friar Laurence cautions Romeo about being too hasty.
4. The Friar believes that by marrying the two lovers, he will end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues.
5. Tybalt has sent Romeo a challenge for a duel. He is angry that Romeo came to the ball uninvited and was allowed to remain.
6. Juliet is going to get permission to go to Friar Laurence’s cell by saying that she needs to go to shrift, or confession.
7. Romeo and Juliet are to be married in Friar...
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Act II, Scenes 5 and 6: Questions and Answers
1. At what time did Juliet send the Nurse to see Romeo and find out the wedding plans?
2. How long has Juliet been waiting for the Nurse to return with the news from Romeo?
3. How does the Nurse react when she finally returns?
4. How does the Nurse feel about the marriage?
5. What is the Friar afraid of?
6. The friar warns Romeo again about something. What is it?
7. How much do the lovers say their love has grown?
8. How many people know of the marriage?
9. Where does the marriage take place?
10. What is another name for the Friar?
1. Juliet sent the Nurse at nine o’clock in the morning to find out the wedding news from Romeo.
2. Juliet has been waiting three hours for the Nurse to return with the news.
3. The Nurse teases Juliet by claiming to be tired from her journey and prolongs telling her the news.
4. The Nurse is in favor of the marriage and feels that Romeo is handsome as well as polite.
5. The Friar is afraid that both lovers are acting too hastily.
6. The Friar warns Romeo again about acting too hastily.
7. The lovers say that their love has grown to such an extent that it cannot be counted.
8. Four main characters know of the marriage. Romeo and Juliet, of course, are aware; but also the Nurse and Friar...
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Act III, Scenes 1 and 2: Questions and Answers
1. Who begs Mercutio to leave the streets of Verona because the Capulets might also be out on this extremely hot day?
2. Who comes to the public square looking for a fight with Romeo?
3. What does Mercutio call Tybalt?
4. How does Tybalt insult Romeo and try to get him to fight him?
5. Why won’t Romeo fight Tybalt?
6. Why does Mercutio fight Tybalt?
7. How is Mercutio killed?
8. Why does Romeo kill Tybalt?
9. Who tells the Prince about the murders?
10. What is Romeo’s punishment?
1. Benvolio tries to get Mercutio to leave the streets of Verona because he is trying to prevent another fight.
2. Tybalt comes to the public square hoping to incite a fight with Romeo.
3. Mercutio calls Tybalt “Good King of Cats.”
4. Tybalt insults Romeo by calling him a villain, hoping that this will cause him to fight.
5. Romeo will not fight Tybalt because now they are related by marriage. Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin.
6. Mercutio fights Tybalt because he is angry that Tybalt is insulting Romeo, his friend.
7. Mercutio is killed when Romeo comes between them and blocks his view of Tybalt. Tybalt reaches under Romeo’s arm and stabs Mercutio.
8. Romeo kills Tybalt because he feels that he must revenge his friend’s death. After...
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Act III, Scenes 3 and 4: Questions and Answers
1. What day is it in Scene 3?
2. Where did Romeo run to hide after the murder of Tybalt?
3. How does he react to the news that he is banished from Verona?
4. Who tells him that the Prince has banished him?
5. What upsets Romeo the most about being banished?
6. The Friar gives three reasons that Romeo should be happy. What were they?
7. What does the Nurse give to Romeo?
8. Where is Romeo to go before daybreak?
9. On what day does Lord Capulet plan for Juliet to be married to Paris?
10. Who is to tell Juliet the “good news” concerning her future marriage to Paris?
1. It is very late on Monday night in Scene 3.
2. After the murders, Romeo ran to hide in Friar Laurence’s cell.
3. Romeo would rather die than be banished from Verona.
4. The Friar tells him the news that he will not be killed but only banished.
5. The thought of not seeing or touching Juliet ever again bothers Romeo the most.
6. The Friar gives Romeo three reasons for being happy: Juliet is alive; he is alive, and he is only banished not killed.
7. The Nurse gives Juliet’s ring to Romeo.
8. Romeo must leave Juliet’s bed chamber before daybreak and go to Mantua.
9. Lord Capulet has arranged for Juliet to marry Paris on Thursday....
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Act III, Scene 5: Questions and Answers
1. On what day does Scene 5 take place?
2. What is significant about the lark and the nightingale?
3. What vision does Juliet have as Romeo is leaving?
4. Who comes to visit with Juliet early that morning?
5. What news does Lady Capulet give to Juliet?
6. What is Juliet’s reaction to the news that Lady Capulet gives her?
7. Who does Juliet turn to for help when her parents leave?
8. What advice does the Nurse give Juliet?
9. Why does Juliet tell the Nurse that she is going to see Friar Laurence?
10. If the Friar cannot furnish a solution for Juliet, what does she have the power to do?
1. Scene 5 takes place on day three, a Tuesday morning.
2. The lovers are trying to determine the time of night or early morning. Romeo must be out of the city before daylight. The nightingale sings at night, while the lark sings in the early part of the morning.
3. Juliet has a vision that she sees Romeo as one dead in the bottom of a tomb.
4. Juliet’s mother, Lady Capulet, comes to visit with her early that morning.
5. Lady Capulet brings Juliet the news that her father has consented for her to marry Paris on Thursday.
6. Juliet is upset and willfully says that she will not marry Paris. This is the first time she has been disobedient to her
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Act IV, Scenes 1-3: Questions and Answers
1. Why is Paris at Friar Laurence’s cell?
2. What reason does Paris give the Friar for the hasty marriage?
3. How long will the sleeping potion take effect?
4. Where will Juliet be put after her family believes that she is dead?
5. Who will be waiting in the tomb when Juliet awakens from the sleeping potion?
6. Who is supervising the preparations for the wedding?
7. What change does Lord Capulet make in the wedding plans?
8. If the potion does not work, what does Juliet plan to do?
9. What vision makes her have the strength to go ahead and drink the potion?
10. How will Romeo know about the plans?
1. Paris is arranging his wedding with Friar Laurence.
2. The marriage is hasty in order to stop Juliet’s tears over Tybalt’s death.
3. The sleeping potion will last for 42 hours.
4. After her parents think she is dead, Juliet will be placed in the Capulet vault with her deceased ancestors.
5. When Juliet awakens from the sleeping potion, Romeo will be waiting for her in the tomb.
6. Lord Capulet is supervising the wedding preparations.
7. Lord Capulet moves the wedding from Thursday to Wednesday.
8. If the potion does not work, she plans to kill herself with the dagger that she lays beside her.
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Act IV, Scenes 4 and 5: Questions and Answers
1. Scene 4 takes place at what time in the morning?
2. Scene 4 takes place on what day?
3. How do the Capulets know that Paris is approaching?
4. Who is sent to wake up Juliet?
5. What does the Nurse find?
6. Who tries to console the Capulets by saying that Juliet is better off in heaven?
7. How do the wedding preparations change after they find Juliet?
8. How does the County Paris react to the death of Juliet?
9. How does Lord Capulet know that she is dead?
10. How does the act end?
1. Scene 4 takes place at three in the morning.
2. Scene 4 takes place early on Wednesday morning.
3. The Capulets know that Paris is coming because they can hear the music of his musicians.
4. The Nurse is sent to wake up Juliet.
5. The Nurse finds Juliet “dead” in her bed chamber.
6. The Friar tries to console the Capulets by assuring them that Juliet is in heaven.
7. The wedding preparations change dramatically. The wedding music becomes funeral dirges. The wedding flowers become funeral flowers, and the happiness associated with a wedding becomes sadness.
8. Paris is devastated by the news that Juliet is dead. He says, “Beguiled, divorced, wronged, spited, slain! / Most detestable Death, by thee beguiled, / By cruel, cruel thee...
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Act V, Scenes 1 and 2: Questions and Answers
1. Where does Scene 1 take place?
2. What was Romeo’s dream?
3. Who brings Romeo the news that Juliet is dead?
4. Why does Romeo go to the Apothecary?
5. How much does Romeo pay for the poison?
6. Why does the Apothecary hesitate in selling Romeo the poison?
7. What persuades the Apothecary to go ahead and sell Romeo the poison?
8. Who does Friar Laurence entrust with the important letter to Romeo?
9. Why is the letter not delivered to Romeo?
10. How long will it be before Juliet wakes up?
1. Scene 1 takes place in Mantua where Romeo has been banished.
2. Romeo dreams that Juliet finds him dead and brings him back to life as an emperor with her kisses.
3. Balthasar, Romeo’s servant, brings him the news that Juliet is dead and was buried in the Capulet tomb.
4. Romeo goes to the Apothecary to buy poison.
5. Romeo pays 40 ducats for the poison.
6. The Apothecary hesitates in selling Romeo the poison because it is against the law in Mantua to sell the substance.
7. Because of his extreme poverty, the Apothecary consents to sell Romeo the poison.
8. Friar Laurence entrusts the important letter to Friar John to deliver to Romeo. This letter explains to Romeo about Juliet’s pretended death and tells him to be at the...
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Act V, Scene 3: Questions and Answers
1. Why is Paris at Juliet’s tomb?
2. What is Paris’ last request?
3. Why does Paris think Romeo has come to the Capulet tomb?
4. Who kills Paris?
5. If Romeo had not been so hasty in drinking the poison, what would he have noticed about Juliet?
6. Name the people who have died in this scene.
7. Where does Friar Laurence want to take Juliet?
8. How does Juliet kill herself?
9. Who is suspected the most as a murderer and why?
10. What four accounts does the Prince hear?
1. Paris has come to Juliet’s tomb to bring flowers and weep.
2. As he dies, Paris’ last request is to lie beside Juliet.
3.Paris believes that Romeo has come to the tomb to do damage to the bodies of Tybalt and Juliet.
4. Romeo kills Paris.
5. If Romeo had not been so hasty in drinking the poison, he would have understood why Juliet’s lips and cheeks were crimson. She was beginning to wake up from the potion.
6. Paris, Lady Montague, Romeo, and Juliet have all died in this scene.
7. When Juliet wakes up, Friar Laurence is there and wants to take her to a “sisterhood of holy nuns.”
8. Juliet kills herself with Romeo’s dagger.
9. Friar Laurence is suspected the most because he is carrying tools for digging and opening tombs....
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Critics and readers have proposed three main ways to interpret Shakespeare's arrangement of the events and circumstances in Romeo and Juliet. (The deliberate construction of the play so that its action seems to lead inevitably to the "catastrophe" of the young lovers' deaths, is known as Shakespeare's "tragic design.") One method is to regard Romeo and Juliet as helpless victims of the arbitrary operation of fate. Numerous tricks of chance in the play support this theory; for example, Romeo's failed attempt to stop the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt and Friar John's inability to leave Verona due to the plague. References to "fortune" and the "stars" throughout the play, particularly the description of Romeo and Juliet in the Prologue to Act I as "star-crossed lovers," also uphold this argument. This emphasis on fortune as a guiding force that determines one's destiny was probably not lost on Elizabethan audiences, who would have been familiar with and likely endorsed this conviction. A second perspective is that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of Providence or divine will. Proponents of this interpretation maintain that the seemingly coincidental or accidental events in the play are in fact initiated by God to punish, and ultimately reconcile, the feuding families. God finally achieves this reconciliation by using the deaths of the lovers as a moral example for the others. A third reading of Shakespeare's tragic design holds that the lovers' own...
(The entire section is 1084 words.)
One of the most prominent features of Romeo and Juliet is the love the two title characters have for one another. In a number of ways the lovers' passion for each other demonstrates the practice of "courtly love." Identifying some of the aspects of courtly love can also highlight the similarities between the relationship between Romeo and Juliet and modern youthful romantic relationships. Courtly love flourished during the Middle Ages and influenced Renaissance literature. Traditionally, the system of courtly love defined a code of behavior for lovers. Under this system, love is seen as illicit, sensual, and marked by emotional suffering and anguish. Typically, the lover falls in love at first sight and remains in agony until he is sure his love is returned. Then, he is inspired to perform great deeds to demonstrate the depth of his love. Additionally, the lovers vow their faithfulness to each other and promise to keep their love a secret. The love between Romeo and Juliet follows this pattern. The two fall in love at first sight, they meet secretly and promise to conceal their relationship, and they vow their everlasting faithfulness to each other. Modern teenagers in love similarly may feel the need to meet secretly, to hide their relationships from their parents, and may often feel that their parents do not or would not understand the depth of their feelings toward their girlfriends or boyfriends.
An additional hurdle faced by lovers in...
(The entire section is 624 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
*If available, books are linked to Amazon.com
Brown, John Russell. Discovering Shakespeare: A New Guide to the Plays. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.
Campell, Lily B. Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes: Slaves of Passion. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973.
Craig, Hardin, Ed. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1961.
Erickson, Peter. Patriarchal Structures in Shakespeare's Drama. Berekely, CA: University of California Press, 1985.
Evans, Bertrand. Shakespeare's Tragic Practice. Oxford: Clarendon Press,1979.
McLeish, Kenneth. Longman's Guide to Shakespeare's Characters. Harlow: Longman House, 1985.
Granville-Barker, Harley. Prefaces to Shakespeare. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965/1978.
Kittredge, George Lyman, Ed. The Kittredge-Players Edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. New York: Grolier, 1936.
Pitt, Angela. Shakespeare's Women. London: David & Charles, 1981.
Prentice Hall Literature: Gold. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1989.
Ribner, Irving. Patterns in Shakespearian Tragedy. London: Methuen, 1960.
Seward, James H. Tragic Vision in "Romeo and Juliet". Washington, DC: Consortium Press, 1973.
Stauffer, Donald A. "The School of Love: `Romeo and Juliet'," Shakespeare the Tragedies: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Alfred Harbage. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1964, pp.28-33.
Toor, David. A Life of Shakespeare. New York: Kenilworth Press, 1976.
Van Doren, Mark. Shakespeare. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1939.
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Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Battenhouse, Roy W. Shakespearean Tragedy: Its Art and Its Christian Premises. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969. Argues that in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare shows a mistrust of carnal love, which leads the protagonists to suicide and damnation; the suicides in the tomb at the end of the play are an inversion of the Easter story.
Cartwright, Kent. Shakespearean Tragedy and Its Double: The Rhythms of Audience Response. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991. Examines how audiences respond to Shakespeare’s tragedies. Shows how an audience of Romeo and Juliet usually identifies strongly with the lovers, although the play compels detachment.
Evans, Robert. The Osier Cage; Rhetorical Devices in “Romeo and Juliet.” Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1966. Explores the style of Romeo and Juliet, particularly Shakespeare’s use of opposites such as love and violence, darkness and light, and appearance and reality.
Watts, Cedric. Romeo and Juliet. Boston: Twayne, 1991. One of the best starting places. Contains information on the history of the play and discusses its themes, sources, and characters.
Wells, Stanley, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University...
(The entire section is 211 words.)