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• Trace the Images of Light and Dark in the Play.
What are the images? What do they stand for? What is the relationship between light and dark, and the lovers? How does it change?
• The Images of Fire and Explosions in Romeo and Juliet.
Where do these images appear? What do they signify? How do they predict the ending of the play?
• Dreams and Premonitions.
Where do dreams and premonitions occur in the play? Who has them? How do they affect the action of the play? Are they always accurate?
• Love and Death.
Where are love and death tied together? Where are marriage and death linked? How does Juliet's childhood die when she gets married? How does Romeo and Juliet's love lead them to death?
• Paradoxes, or Opposites.
Which opposites are linked in the play? Where do characters talk about them? Is love stronger, or hate? Youth or age? etc.
• Innocence and Experience.
How do experienced adults fail innocent young people? How do Romeo and Juliet grow from innocent children to experienced adults?
• Juliet's Growth Through the Play.
Show how she changes from a girl to a woman; from innocent to experienced.
• Romeo's Growth Through the Play.
Show how he finds himself, and changes from a boy to a man.
• Contrast Between Romeo and Juliet.
Show the differences in their personalities in the balcony scene, and in how they handle later crises.
• How Romeo and Paris Compare Throughout the Play.
When do we see Paris? When do we see Romeo? When do they want the same things? How do they go about getting what they want? Why must Paris be a worthy rival? When do we expect Romeo and find Paris? What forces their final confrontation?
• Maturing vs. Static Characters.
Which characters change during the play? How do these changes affect the plot? Which characters don't change? How do they affect the plot by doing what we expect them to do?
• Different Views of Friar Lawrence.
Is he an ineffective bumbler? A wise counsellor? A person with strengths and weaknesses? Find evidence to support all three positions, and explain why you reach the conclusion you do.
• The Nurse: A Comic Character in a Tragic Play.
What traits of the Nurse are comic? How do they become tragic in the course of the play?
• Juliet's Isolation.
How do we see Juliet's growing sense of isolation? How does she actually become isolated from her family and friends?
• The Capulets' Views of Marriage.
How does Lord Capulet view marriage? What does he think Juliet is worth on the marriage market? What is Lady Capulet's view of her husband? Why would she think that Paris would be a good choice for Juliet? Is she sympathetic to Juliet during the play? What is Juliet's view of marriage? How do we know she takes it seriously?
• Explore the Nurse and Mercutio as Parallel Characters.
What relationships do they have to the lovers? What is their view of life and sex? What is so funny about them? Do they understand Romeo and Juliet? How does their comedy turn to tragedy?