Saturday, March 6, 2010

Romeo and Juliet disucussion

Here's the start of the discussion - this is going to last a few days. That way everyone can get a chance to participate. Here are the questions again:

1. What effect does the accelerated time scheme have on the play’s development? Is it plausible that a love story of this magnitude could take place so quickly? Does the play seem to take place over as little time as it actually occupies?

2. Compare and contrast the characters of Romeo and Juliet. How do they develop throughout the play? What makes them fall in love with one another?

3. Compare and contrast the characters of Tybalt and Mercutio. Why does Mercutio hate Tybalt?

4. Apart from clashing with Tybalt, what role does Mercutio play in the story? Is he merely a colorful supporting character and brilliant source of comic relief, or does he serve a more serious purpose?

5. How does Shakespeare treat death in Romeo and Juliet? Frame your answer in terms of legal, moral, familial, and personal issues. Bearing these issues in mind, compare the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Mercutio, and Mercutio and Tybalt.

Sorry I couldn't get this going until now. I hope it's not too late.


  1. Hard questions. Let us discuss number one and two to begin...?
    As far as if it's plausible for the love story to happen so quickly, if that means, "How in the heck could two kids who have never seen each other before fall desperately in love so that they'd kill themselves because of it?"...that's tough. we've all probably had crushes before. So we all know what it's like to "like" someone. Whether any of us have loved to the magnitude of Romeo and Juliet, I do not know. I mean, we all know how it is to see a reeeeaally cute guy/girl at the other side of the room, and maybe for a split second we think we are in love. Maybe. But it seems that Romeo was absolutely CERTAIN he was going to marry that hot Capulet girl over there, no matter what, and that nothing else could ever make him happy.
    Gee whiz, is that just a guy who has an dramatic imagination, or was the love at first site? Is it even possible for love at first site to be so dramatic?...
    What do you think?

  2. Interesting. I am not sure. I mean, everyone always assumes the Romeo and Juliet thing was love at first sight. But their lives ended so quickly, and we never see what would have happened afterward. It could have been just another childish crush. Romeo's been known to have them before -- remember that other girl he was "in love with" before? He thought SHE was the one.
    So summing it up, I think they very well could have been in crush mode, but died before they got a chance to get out of it.

  3. Hey, good point. Thanks for joining me.
    For discussion's sake, here's something that may be contrary to that way of thinking...
    Friar Lawrence supported Romeo and Juliet by marrying them in secret. He is a man of God. He would not casually let these kids perform the blessed sacrament of matrimony, much less support them, right? So, does that mean he thought the couple were truly in love? He sure did help them. So did Juliet's nurse. But she wasn't a friar; she was a woman who knew Juliet from birth and wanted her to have whatever she wanted, so it's a bit different, perhaps...

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  5. Ok, I am going to wait a while and see if anyone else wants to comment before we move to the next question.
    You are encouraged to speak up and let us know what you think!! Even if you've nothing to say, you can simply say that you agree/disagree with what we are saying.

  6. Thanks for starting it up Lady A. Don't worry about the time. I'm sure everyone will put in a good word as soon as they can.
    As to Lady A and Lady Catherine's first point, I think it is very likely that they thought they were deeply in love and if they had lived longer, those sentiments may or may not have changed. Who knows? I think young love can entirely be that dramatic, speaking from experience.

    For Lady A's second point, Friar Lawrence did support the two. We don't know why. Although he was a holy man, perhaps he had sentiments towards one side of the fued? Or neither side, but just wanted an even larger rift between the families, and thought marrying the two would help that? Every other character was on one side or the other, so, why shouldn't he have a hand in the confusion? On the other hand, maybe he saw their marriage as a possible route towards reconciliation between the families. That can go for the nurse as well. So, other than recognizing true love, maybe they both thought that this marriage would have a larger effect than the immediate one- that is the two being married against family wishes.

    As a note, wasn't Friar Lawrence a friend of Romeo's since he had been a child? If so, perhaps he wanted whatever Romeo did, and likewise, the nurse for Juliet. In that case, maybe they had no other gain in the end other than to see their favorites be happy. Personally, I don't think Shakespeare would have characters who didn't have at least two motives.

  7. Good points. I agree. Some things about Shakespeare's plays and their characters' motives will always remain a mystery, of course. It makes them fun and interesting to talk about.

  8. Well, it you have anything to add, even if we are past the question, go ahead and tell.
    For now, we shall move on.

    Second question: Compare and contrast the characters of Romeo and Juliet. How do they develop throughout the play? What makes them fall in love with one another?

    I haven't read the play for a long time, so I don't remember details of how he wrote it and stuff like that. I would say what makes Romeo fall in love with Juliet at the beginning was perhaps good looks and youthfulness; the air about her. Romeo observes Juliet for a while before he talks to her, and he obviously noticed the way she danced, spoke, or whatever and found it attractive. Same from Juliet's point of view. I think part of the reason she fell in love with him so fast, though, may have been because he was obviously head over heels for her...craaaazy about her. Most girls like that. And we assume that Romeo was handsome. He also has a very energetic and enthusiastic way about him. He's outgoing and charming. Juliet probably liked that too. Any girl would, I think. But then there is the "love at first sight" element, and it was definitely that too...lots of reasons, I suppose, most of which are probably typical of what youth find attractive.
    If you want to say anything about the beginning part of the question (how the characters develop - not just R&J, but all the characters) that's great. I don't have time right now, as I have to go clean my room...

  9. Ok, we shall continue this tomorrow. Talk to you all then!

  10. Hey guys, also: IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT, SPEAK UP ABOUT IT!! We do NOT have to go by these questions; they just help get us going sometimes. The ONLY rule is that what we talk about has to be about Romeo & Juliet! So let's discuss what we find interesting as well.

  11. Calm down Lady A. I'm sure people have just been busy. I'll be back on later.

  12. Calm down? Um..I am not worked up. I just want people to know we can talk about stuff other than the you have a problem?

  13. I don't, thank you. I just thought you might.

  14. I don't really have much to say about the second question because I haven't read it in a while either.

  15. Hey there. I have a thought really pertaining to the 1st and 2nd questions at the same time. I think considering the timing and placement of the story, maybe Juliet would have other motives for marrying Romeo. Being of a marriagable age, maybe her dad was lining up obnoxious guys for her to date, and she didn't realy like that idea. So she saw Romeo, who was obviously crazy about her, and she thought that he would be better than some old fogey with money. Another idea is that maybe she was rebellious and felt that marrying Romeo would be the perfect way to be kicked out of her crazy family. Maybe she resented the restraining homelife that she had and felt that Romeo would offer her a fresh world of freedom. He was probably cute enough to a girl as whimsical as Juliet, so another option is that her sense got away from her and she blindly made a fatal decision because of the offer of passionate love from him. Maybe, after they kissed for the first time on the balcony, she decided that she would put up with hell just to live with him forever and had no other thought besides that. Same for Romeo maybe. After all, he was crazy about Rosalind, so maybe Juliet's kiss was just better. I don't know. It was just a thought.

  16. Haha, very good points. I do like to believe that R&J actually did really like each other, though, rather than just Juliet putting up with Romeo because he wasn't obnoxious. Perhaps I like to think that because I am a whimsical girl like Juliet; I don't know! But I do. Anyway. Thanks for writing.

  17. Just curious, has anyone seen a movie version of this play?

  18. So I guess what I was saying was maybe Juliet thought of Romeo as the ideal guy because she picked him herself, and he, likewise, decided she was a better catch than Rosalind.

    That sounds so unromantic, but I'm not really a sentimental guy. That's just how I tick.

  19. Haha, well, it takes all kinds, and we appreciate your point of view!
    Compare and contrast the characters of Tybalt and Mercutio. Why does Mercutio hate Tybalt?

    Did I already post that question? Oh well, there it is.

  20. Well, I don't really remember this story very well. I probably should have re-read it. :-/ I think Mercutio hates Tybalt because he has a high, respected position and is valued in the house of Capulet. I don't think Mercutio is considered noble in the Montague family, although Romeo does seem to go to his for advice. I think he might also hate him because he is respectable and Mercutio is not. I don't remember any other details, so maybe there is something deeper than that.

  21. Ya, I haven't read it in a while, so I can't answer that in detail either....

  22. I think the falling in love part of the story could definitely have happened that quickly, but the rest, i.e the banishment, deaths is not very beliveable. In other words, yeah I believe in love at first sight. Death three days later for most of the characters is just too far.

  23. Hey, could I change the question? I read a very interesting book about Shakespearean plays (it gives cool inside information), and it had a section on R&J. Something I found interesting:
    Apparently, at the time Romeo and Juliet fell in love, the huge fight between both families was actually beginning to end. In a decade or so, no one would have remembered it. So the marriage of a Montague and Capulet might even have been encouraged, in order to bring peace to the two families. BUT, Juliet was good friends with her cousin, Tybalt, who was an absolute hot head. He enjoyed fighting with Montagues. If you were to talk to him, he would have told you the brawl was still very alive and passionate. Juliet did talk to him and often. So she was under that impression.
    Romeo knew the truth; that there was still bad blood, but that the argument was soon going to end. But when he heard Juliet speak the opposite, being the dramatic and whimsical fellow he was, thought it rather romantic the whole "star crossed lovers" thing. He thought it would be exciting to follow along! So he did follow along. They went about their marriage in a disgraceful fashion, and that's why it ended. In short, the marriage could have worked, if it wasn't for Romeo's childishness.
    That's what the book said (and it is a good source, btw), and I thought that fascinating and very sad.

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  25. Interesting... somehow I have the feeling Shakespear would have something to say to that... very interesting.

  26. I have not yet read act V of the story, but I pretty much kow what happens. I must say I do find the story a bit boring. I agree with basically everything you guys have said. I think it is a silly little romance that they took way too far. I do not believe in love at first sight. They hardly knew each other. How could they possibly wish to marry each other after a couple of short encounters. I think the story to be ridiculous and I have no desire to finish it.
    I find it interesting that Shakespeare would write such a play. He is such a reknown author. And christian too. Perhaps I am being too critical and there is some intellectual meaning to the story. If so, please enlighten me. We will be reading it in my english class at school so perhaps my teacher will give me some insight on the story.
    As for the questions, I don't really know how to answer.
    ~Rosie Cotton

  27. I think you should at least finish the story. Give it a chance. I won't say that you shouldn't think that it's stupid or ridiculous because in one sense, it is. I think you have to adopt the emotion of the story in order to understand or even enjoy it more. For instance, in order to enjoy Highschool Musical, you really have to not think about how nonsensical and immature it is. You just have to dance around and just be crazy for a bit. Bad example, I know, but it sort of says what I mean.

  28. Haha.... who would have thought I'd be using Highschool Musical as an analogy.

  29. I agree. It is a very bad example indeed. But I think I understand what you mean. So are you saying that I must be in a romantic mood while I read? If you are, I still do not think I shall have any interest in th book. Why would you want to adopt the emotion of a frivolous crush? I think there are much better things to read. Such as books by Tolkien and Chesterton.
    It seems I just am not real interested in romance novels. I can see how some other people like them, though. Also there is the fact that Shakespeares dialog is a bit difficult to understand. I will finish it, though.

  30. Well, Rosie, since you are a sensible person, it totally makes sense you feel that way. You made it through act IV, so you did give it a chance. That's good.
    One thing I don't agree with is that you said one of the reasons you are surprised Shakespeare wrote a silly play like that was because he was Christian. Just because you are Christian, it doesn't mean you can't like silly love stories...I am very Christian, and I can be pretty silly sometimes! You see where I'm coming from?
    Anyway, I think you can get something intellectual of this play. Just depends on how you look at it. Same with most of Shakespeare's comedies.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rosie Cotton!

  31. If anyone has an answer for #4 and/or #5, that's great. Especially #5; that's an interesting question.
    Pretty soon we are going to wrap up, but there's still time to talk.

  32. No, I rather think my point was that everything you read or watch does not necessarily have to be intellectual or even make sense. While it is great to have things that are solid and food for thought, I think it is very important to enjoy things that don't require any brain power. Don't get me wrong, Romeo and Juliet is NOT light by any means.

    I think you will be very diappointed if you approach entertainment with too much of an expectation. Sometimes, things are just meant to be for fun. Other things aren't and that's when you should get disappointed.

    If you don't really agree with the theory of Romeo and Juliet, maybe try to enjoy it as a story.

    I personally think that Romeo and Juliet can be examined extensively and many themes and lessons can be found. Tonight, I'm way too tired to even try, and honestly I don't think I'm smart enough to say what I mean. :)

    Hey, don't be offended though. I promise everything I said was not to be mean!

  33. Hi. Well, I think we are ready to wrap up. I'll be posting on a book this week. Thanks for talking! This discussion has been a real success!