•  Act I

    Act I, scene 1

    1. Tone is the overall feeling or effect, created by a writer’s use of words. (ex. serious, humorous, satiric, solemn, objective) 

    What tone does Shakespeare use in his Prologue to Act I? Choose words, phrases or sentences that clearly indicate this atmosphere?

    2. Characterization:  The method a writer uses to reveal the personality of a character in a literary work. Characters are revealed in four ways:

    ·         through what the characters reveal about their thoughts through long speeches to the audience    

    called soliloquies (a moment when a character is alone and speaks his or her thoughts aloud).

    ·         through what the characters say to other characters in dialogue

    ·         through what other characters say about them

    ·         through what they do, their actions


    Describe each of the following characters.

    Lord Montague
    Lady Montague:
    Lord Capulet:
    Lady Capulet:


    3.      What do you think Shakespeare’s purpose was in the beginning of the play with the quarrel among the servants rather than the clash between Benvolio and Tybalt?

    4. Literary Foil: a character who serves as contrast or challenge to another

    Contrast Benvolio and Tybalt

    How do Lady Capulet and Lady Montague’s attitudes differ from their husbands’?


    5.      What threats does Prince Escalus make against his “Rebellious subjects, enemies of peace”?

    6.      What is Romeo’s mood in the first scene and what caused it?

    7.      Oxymorona combination of contradictory terms. 

    Identify several of the contradictory terms Romeo uses when describing love. Why do you think he does this?

    8.      How, according to Benvolio, might Romeo alter his mood?

    Act I, scene 2

    1.      Who is Paris and what proposal does he make in his talk with Capulet?

    2.      What is Capulet’s reaction to that proposal?

    3.      What was Shakespeare’s purpose in having the Capulets plan a party?

    4.      Quote the argument Benvolio uses to persuade Romeo to attend the party.

    5.      What reason does Romeo give for deciding to go to the party at the end of this scene?

    Act I, scene 3:

    1.      What subject does Lady Capulet want to discuss with Juliet?

    2.      Their conversation is postponed for a considerable time. What adjectives and phrases would you use to describe Juliet’s nurse?


    3.      What is Juliet’s attitude toward marrying Paris?

    4.      How do Lord and Lady Capulet differ in their approach to Juliet concerning Paris?

    5.      Metaphor: A metaphor makes a direct comparison between two different terms without the use of the words like or as. A metaphor connects the idea or image in your writing to something new and unexpected and creates a powerful picture for your readers. 


    Extended metaphor: The metaphor serves as the unifying element throughout a series of sentences.

    List the words Lady Capulet uses to compare Paris to a book.

    6.      What is Juliet’s response to her mother’s request concerning Paris?

    Act 1, scene 4

    1.      Although Mercutio and Romeo are close friends, they differ in their attitudes toward life. In what way is Mercutio a dramatic foil for Romeo?

    Pun: A pun is a play on words that have more than one meaning. For example, in the opening scene of the play, the servants use moved to mean provoked or stirred up and to mean to change location. Back can mean to support someone, as in a cause, or it can be part of a human or animal near the spine.

    Explain the pun in Mercutio’s line, “That dreamers often lie.”

    2.      What is the purpose of Mercutio’s long Queen Mab speech?

    3.      How does Romeo’s speech at the end of scene 4 echo back to the Prologue?


    Act 1, scene 5

    1.      What is the general atmosphere as this scene opens?

     2.      How does Romeo describe Juliet when he first sees her?

     3.      Why is Tybalt outraged at Romeo’s presence at the party?

     4.      Describe Romeo and Juliet’s actions with each other as they first meet.

     5.      Quote lines spoken by both Romeo and Juliet that describe their feelings once they discover the other’s identity.

     Based on what we know from Act I, what words and phrases would you use to describe:

     Juliet Capulet:

    Romeo Montague:

    Act II Study Guide
    Romeo and Juliet                                                                   
    Study Guide Questions:  Act II


    Act II, scene 1


    1.      Describe the format Shakespeare uses in his Prologue.  Describe the length, the rhyme scheme, and rhythm he uses.

    2.      Why does Romeo want to hide from Benvolio and Mercutio?

    3.      As Romeo gives his opening speech in Act II, scene 1, he refers to himself as “dull earth” and says he must find his “center out.”  What does he mean?

     Act II, scene 2


    1.      What coincidence occurs at the beginning of this scene?
    2.       How has Romeo’s attitude toward life changed since he has met Juliet?

    3.      What images of light does Romeo use in describing Juliet in scene ii?

    4.      When Juliet says the line “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” she is not aware that Romeo is present.  Paraphrase and explain what she is asking in this question.

    5.      What fears does Juliet have for Romeo once she discovers his presence?


    Act II, scene 2 continued


    6.      What does Juliet’s speech (lines 90-111) (89-110) reveal about her feelings?

    7.      When Romeo begins to swear the truth of his love to Juliet by the moon she stops him and says, “swear not by the moon.”  Why does she object to him using this image?

    8.      What promise does Juliet make to Romeo toward the end of the balcony scene?

    9.      An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory terms.  In Act I we heard Romeo combining terms such as brawling love, loving hate, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health.  What is the oxymoron in Juliet’s parting speech to Romeo?

    “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,

    That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

    Act II, scene 3:


    1.      Interpret the lines Friar Laurence says at the beginning of scene iii. 

    “The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb,

    What is her burying grave, that is her womb;” 

    2.      Choose three adjectives that you think would describe Friar Laurence.  Explain your choices with examples of his character. 

    3.      When Romeo tells Friar Laurence that he’s in love with Juliet, how does the friar react?  Why?

    4.      Why does the friar finally agree to Romeo’s proposal to be married to Juliet?

    5.      What warning does the friar give to Romeo?


    Act II, scene 4:


    1.      What threat is introduced in this scene?

    2.      What examples of humor can you find in this scene?  Examine the words and actions of characters such as Mercutio and the Nurse, and refer to specific lines or incidents to describe the humor.

    3.      What steps does the nurse have to take to carry out Romeo’s instructions?

    4.  What does the Nurse reveal about Juliet’s feelings toward Paris in lines 202-210 (166-172)?


    Act II, scene 5:


    1.      What adjectives would you choose to describe Juliet at the beginning of scene 5?  Give examples to support your choices.

    2.      How does Juliet treat the Nurse in scene 5?  Are her actions justified?  Explain your opinion.



    Act II, scene 6:


    1.      Why do you think Shakespeare has his characters discussing sorrow, death, violent delights and violent ends at the beginning of scene 6?

    2.      Do you think the feelings Romeo and Juliet have for each other are true love or infatuation?  Explain.

    3.      Juliet is thirteen years old and Romeo is not much older.  In what way is their love typical of adolescence, and in what way is it not?


    Act III Study Guide

    Act III, scene 1


    1.      Who renews the quarreling and feuding between the Montagues and Capulets?

     2.      Which character attempts to serve as peacemaker during this quarrel?

     3.      Why is he unsuccessful? 

    4.      Why does Romeo assume personal responsibility for avenging Mercutio’s death? 

    5.      In your opinion, should Romeo have left Tybalt’s punishment to Prince Escalus?  Give reasons for your answer. 

    6.      The confrontation is made worse because all three characters are acting on incomplete knowledge.  Explain the misunderstanding on the part of Tybalt, Mercutio, and Romeo.



    Act III, scene 2:


    1.      What are Juliet’s first reactions to the tragic news brought to her by the nurse?

    2.      How do we know, that despite everything, Juliet will remain true to Romeo?  Find a quote from the scene that tells us her true feelings.



    Act III, scene 3:


    1.      How do Romeo and Juliet differ in their reactions to their misfortune?

    2.      What arguments does the Friar use to convince Romeo that his despair is not justified?

    3.      What plan does the Friar suggest for Romeo?


    Act III, scene 4:


    1.      What is Lord Capulet’s motive for his hasty arrangement for Juliet’s marriage to Paris?

    2.      How has Lord Capulet’s attitude toward this marriage changed?


    Act III, scene 5:

     1.      What does Romeo mean in line 36?

     2.      What literary term describes Juliet’s speech in lines 54-58? 

     3.      In lines 60-64, who is Juliet talking to?  How does this relate to the theme of fate vs. decisions in the play?

     4.      What is Lord Capulet’s reaction to Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris?
    5.      What is Lady Capulet’s attitude toward Juliet’s defiance?

     6.      What is the Nurse’s advice to Juliet?

     7.      What is Juliet’s response to the advice?

     8.      What does Juliet plan to do at the end of Act III?
    9.      Based on the scenes with her parents, how has Juliet changed in Act III?
    10.   On what note of foreboding does Act III end?

     Act IV 

    Romeo & Juliet:  Study Questions Act IV


    Dramatic Irony is a contradiction between what a character thinks or says and what the audience or reader knows to be true.  For example, in Act III, scene 4, Lord Capulet decides that the way to ensure Juliet’s future happiness is to have her marry Paris.  He does not know what we know or what Juliet knows– that she is already married.  Such dramatic irony adds suspense and involves us emotionally in the action.  At the end of this study guide, list three examples of dramatic irony from this act. 


    Act IV, scene 1


    1.      Why does Paris call on Friar Laurence?

    2.      What is Juliet’s reason for visiting the Friar?

    3.      What would Juliet rather do than marry Paris?  Give 3 examples:






    4.      What are the steps to the Friar’s plan?  Be specific











    5.      What is Juliet’s reaction to the plan?

    Act IV, scene 2


    1.      In carrying out the Friar’s instructions, what actions does Juliet go through to deceive her parents?

    2.      What is Lord Capulet’s reaction to Juliet since her return from Friar Laurence?


    Act IV, scene 3


    1.      What reason does Juliet give the Nurse when she says she wants to be alone ”tonight?” 

    2.      What questions and doubts go through Juliet’s mind just before she drinks from the vial?














    3.      What alternate plan has Juliet made if the potion does not work?

    4.      Do you think the Friar’s scheme is too complicated to work out?  Explain your reasons.

    5.      Do you think Juliet’s decision to take the potion is courageous or foolish?  Explain your reasons.



    Act IV, scene 4


    1.      How is the mood/tone of this scene different from the preceding scene?

    2.      Why do you think Shakespeare changed the mood here? 


    Act IV, scene 5


    1.      How does scene 5 indicate that an important step in the Friar’s plan has worked out just as he had hoped it would? 

    2.      What does Lord Capulet mean when he says:

    “Death lies upon her like an untimely frost

    Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.”


    3.      How does each of the following characters react to Juliet’s “death?”


    Nurse –
    Lord Capulet –
    Lady Capulet –  

    Paris –  

    Friar –


    4.      Preparations had already been made for the wedding.  How is each of the following transformed?

    “All things that we ordained festival

    Turn from their office to black funeral –“


    instruments to_____________________

    wedding cheer to ______________________________

    solemn hymns to _____________________________

    bridal flowers to___________________________


    5.      What is the mood at the end of Act IV?

     6.      List 3 examples of dramatic irony found in Act IV.






    Act V
    Romeo and Juliet                                                                   
    Study Guide Questions:  Act V


    Act V, scene 1:


    1.      What is Romeo’s mood at the beginning of scene 1?

    2.      What causes Romeo’s mood to change quickly?

    3.      What does Romeo say that suggests the role of fate in bringing about the tragedy?

    4.      How does Romeo convince the Apothecary to supply him with the poison? 

    5.      What does Romeo mean when he hands the Apothecary the money and says:

    6.      Why do you think Romeo acts so impulsively?




    Act V, scene 2:


    1.      What prevented Friar John from delivering Friar Laurence’s letter to Romeo?

     2.      Explain the irony of Romeo’s indifferent comment, “No matter,” when Balthasar tells him he has brought no letters from Friar Laurence in scene 1.


    Act V, scene 3:


    1.       Why does Paris go to Juliet’s tomb?

    2.       Do you think Paris’ sorrow is genuine?  Why or why not?

    3.      What mistaken idea do both Paris and Romeo have about Juliet?

    4.      How did they each get that idea?

    5.      What is the purpose of the letter that Romeo gives to Balthasar?

    6.      What reason does Romeo give for breaking into the tomb?

    7.      Do you think Balthasar believes Romeo’s reason?  Does Balthasar fear Romeo’s threat to “tear thee joint by joint” if he catches him spying?  Explain.

    8.      Why does Paris feel justified to kill Romeo?








    9.      How does Romeo try to persuade Paris to leave?  What other scene in the play does this one remind you of?

    10.  Why is Romeo’s intention to “cram [the tomb] with more food” especially tragic?

     11.  What two tragic discoveries does Friar Laurence make when he enters the tomb?

    12.  What does he urge Juliet to do when she awakens?

    13.  Why does Friar Laurence leave the tomb?  Should he be blamed for leaving?  Explain. 

    14.  When Romeo describes Juliet in the tomb, what clues about her appearance might have led him to realize she was still alive?  Quote the lines that support this theory.








    15.  How does Juliet first attempt to end her life and join her husband in death? 

    16.  How does she eventually achieve her goal? 

    17.  How might the outcome have been different if the characters had come to the churchyard in a different order?

    18.  Why does Shakespeare have Friar Laurence review for the Prince everything that has happened? 

    19.  Explain what the Prince means by these lines:


    “See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,

    That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!

    And I, for winking at your discords too,

    Have lost a brace of kinsmen.  All are punished.”


    20.  How at last do old Montague and Capulet show that they have learned the price of hatred between their families?


    “For never was a story of more woe

    Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”