How does one write topic sentences explaining how Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a story or revolt, using the points family, religion, and other characters' rebellion?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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A topic sentence is the first sentence of any paragraph. It is sort of like a mini-thesis for the paragraph in that it states precisely what you intend to argue or prove in the paragraph; the topic sentence should especially relate to your thesis. In order to write your topic sentences for these paragraphs, you must first figure out exactly what it means to revolt and exactly how Shakespeare portrays the theme of revolt through family, religion, and character rebellion. To revolt means to break away from or to fight against an authority. There are many different ways in which the characters revolt in Romeo and Juliet: The two families revolt against society through their feud; characters like Tybalt and Mercutio revolt against the law by breaking Prince Escalus's ordinance; Romeo and Juliet revolt against their own family members through siding with the enemy; and even characters revolt against their own religion through breaking religious laws. In order to write your topic sentences, all you have to do is first figure out what points of revolt you want to talk about. It will also be much easier for you if you talk about revolt as a general theme in the play and use the points of revolt as examples proving the theme. Since we are limited to space, below is an idea to help get you started.

One thing you can argue is that the two families revolt against society through their feud. Their feud not only harms the members of their own households, it also causes great destruction for all of Verona because even Verona citizens take sides on the families' issues. Since even the citizens feel compelled to take sides, the fighting the feud causes does not remain within just the two families, it causes whole-city riots, as we learn from Prince Escalus's lines:

Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets. (I.i.85-87)

Since the feud destroys all of society, we can say that the two families are revolting against the normal, organized structure of society. Hence, one idea for a topic sentence relating the revolt against society as an example proving the theme of revolt could be,

  • One way in which Shakespeare illustrates the theme of revolt is through pointing out that the Montagues and Capulets are revolting against society.

From there, you would continue to discuss how a disruption of peace and social stability is a revolt against society and social norms.

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