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LANGUAGE

• Use of Poetry in Romeo and Juliet.

What forms of poetry appear? Why do they appear when they do? How do poems help form dialogue? What tradition does this poetry come from? How does this tie in with the themes of the play?

• Language and Character.

How does Shakespeare use language to tell us about peoples' personalities? How do different characters talk? What can we tell about them from the way they talk? How does Romeo's language change as he changes? How does it change according to his mood?

• Puns and Double Meanings.

Who uses puns and double meanings in the play? What is the difference between the servants' puns and Mercutio's? In what scenes are the puns and double-meanings light-hearted? When do they become serious attempts to cover up the truth?

THEMES

• Friar Lawrence's Speech as Statement of Theme.

Look at his speech at the beginning of Act II, scene iii. How do his paradoxes point up the play's themes? How does he illustrate the precarious balance of good and evil?



STRUCTURE

• The Breakdown of Comedy and Tragedy.

Show how two acts follow the conventions of comedy, and three follow the conventions of tragedy. What causes the change?

• Condensed vs. Stretched Time.

How does the "condensed time"- the five days of rushed action-affect the plot? How does time seem longer to Romeo and Juliet? How do these perceptions of time intersect and contrast each other?

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