If you haven’t tried out our techniques of using ‘Parts and Cues’ and ‘Highlit Text’ to explore a Shakespeare character, then you’ll find it helpful to read the detailed explanation we give for the character Hamlet (click on Let’s Explore Hamlet).
You can explore any Shakespearean character in a play published by Players-Shakespeare.com in a similar way. Here we help you explore Romeo, Juliet’s lover. Don’t forget to read his lines out loud so that you can feel what Romeo is feeling.
Romeo is a young male, son of Montague, the head of one of the leading families in Verona. At the start of the play, Romeo is in love with Rosaline, who does not return his affection. At a party given by Capulet, the head of another leading family of Verona, Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her. Juliet returns his affection. The Montagues and the Capulets are enemies, which causes the young lovers more than a little trouble.
Although Romeo and Juliet are in love with eachother, they are very different in character, and those differences are interesting to explore. Let’s start with Romeo:
- A1S1 starts with a fight between the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo is not present at the fight, but enters the scene after the fight is over. He has quite a few speeches with Benvolio about being in love, and about the fight. When you read those speeches, what do you feel about them? Here’s a link to Romeo’s lines in Parts and Cues format and here’s one to the scene in Highlit Text mode.
- In A1S4, Romeo is on the way to the party with some friends. Does he feel like you might expect someone to feel, going to a party? Here’s a link to his’ lines in A1S4 in Parts and Cues format. Once you’ve explored those lines, you can switch to Highlit Text mode, and see his lines in the context of the whole scene.
- In the next scene (A1S5) Romeo meets Juliet and falls in love with her. Juliet is equally smitten. Tybalt spots that Romeo – a Montague – has come to the Capulet’s party and wants to fight with him, but is prevented by Capulet. When Romeo and Juliet meet, the scene is verry much a dialogue so perhaps it’s best to read the scene in Highlight Text mode.
- A2S2 is the famous balcony scene. Both Romeo and Juliet have big speeches in this scene, and it is worth exploring both characters’ speeches separately. So here are Romeo’s lines in Parts and Cues. Read them, and try and feel what Romeo is expressing through those lines. Then do the same with Juliet’s lines. What differences in the characters of Romeo and Juliet does this scene reveal? Personally, I find Juliet far more interesting than Romeo, but why do you think that might be so?
- In A3S1, the focus moves away from the love of Romeo and Juliet to the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets. They meet in the street, and Tybalt kills Mercutio. In revenge and rage, Romeo then kills Tybalt. Read the scene in Parts and Cues mode to see how Romeo’s feelings change after the death of Mercutio, and then change to Highlight text mode to get the context of the whole scene.
- The Balcony scene is mirrored by A3S5, where Romeo and Juliet, newly married, after spending the night together, say goodbye, because Romeo must leave Verona to escape punishment for the murder of Tybalt. Explore Romeo’s lines in Parts and Cues mode and then explore Juliet’s. How do the two lovers react differently to the dawn? And then, why don’t you compare the Balcony scene with this one, to see the difference in emotions between lovers meeting, and lovers parting?
- Of course, there are more scenes in which Romeo appears, both earlier in the play, and later, but you can explore them yourself by viewing Romeo’s lines in Parts and Cues, starting at A1S1, and selecting all the scenes in the play to see in which scenes he speaks, and what his lines are. Have fun, and don’t forget to read these lines out loud!.
When you read the scenes above, out loud, you may well see things differently from what I’ve outlined above, but you should come to a clearer view of what you think about Romeo’s character and the emotions he feels in each scene.