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Shakespeare's Plays

Shakespeare's Plays

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Published by sweetyjo
the comedies, problem plays, and some historical plays of William Shakespeare with the analysis
the comedies, problem plays, and some historical plays of William Shakespeare with the analysis

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Published by: sweetyjo on Mar 30, 2009
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TITLE/INFLUENCESSETTINGCHARACTERSPLOTTHEMES/SYMBOLS/MOTIFSROMEO ANDJULIET
Romeo and Juliet 
belongs to a traditionof tragicromances stretching back toantiquity. Its plot isbased on an Italiantale, translated intoverse as 
byArthur Brookein1562, and retold inprose in
 byWilliam  Painter in 1582.Shakespeareborrowed heavilyfrom both, butdevelopedsupportingcharacters,particularlyMercutio andParis,in order toexpand the plot.Romeo and Julietborrows from atradition of tragiclove stories datingback to antiquity.One of these isPyramus andThisbe, from Ovid'sMetamorphoses,
SETTINGS
(
TIME
)
Renaissance(fourteenth or fifteenthcentury)
SETTINGS
(
PLACE
)
· Verona and Mantua(cities in northern Italy)
Romeo
- The son andheir of Montague andLady Montague. A youngman of about sixteen,Romeo is handsome,intelligent, and sensitive.
Juliet
- A beautifulthirteen-year-old girl andthe daughter of Capuletand Lady Capulet.
Friar Lawrence
- AFranciscan friar, friend toboth Romeo and Juliet.He is kind, civic-minded,a proponent omoderation, and alwaysready with a plan.
Mercutio
- A kinsman tothe Prince, and Romeo’sclose friend.
The Nurse
- Juliet’snurse, the woman whobreast-fed Juliet whenshe was a baby and hascared for Juliet her entirelife.
Tybalt
- A Capulet,Juliet’s cousin on hemother’s side. He is vain,fashionable, andsupremely aware of courtesy and the lack of it.In the streets of Verona another brawl breaksout between the servants of the feuding noblefamilies of Capulet and Montague. Benvolio, aMontague, tries to stop the fighting, but isembroiled when the rash Capulet, Tybalt,arrives on the scene. After citizens outraged bythe constant violence beat back the warringfactions, Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona,attempts to prevent any further conflictsbetween the families by decreeing death for anyindividual who disturbs the peace in the future. Romeo, the son of Montague, runs into hiscousin Benvolio, who had earlier seen Romeomoping in a grove of sycamores. After someprodding by Benvolio, Romeo confides that he isin love with Rosaline, a woman who does notreturn his affections. Benvolio counsels him toforget this woman and find another, morebeautiful one, but Romeo remains despondent. Meanwhile, Paris, a kinsman of the Prince,seeks Juliet’s hand in marriage. Her father Capulet, though happy at the match, asks Paristo wait two years, since Juliet is not yet evenfourteen. Capulet dispatches a servant with alist of people to invite to a masquerade andfeast he traditionally holds. He invites Paris tothe feast, hoping that Paris will begin to winJuliet’s heart. Romeo and Benvolio, still discussing Rosaline,encounter the Capulet servant bearing the list of invitations. Benvolio suggests that they attend,since that will allow Romeo to compare hisbeloved to other beautiful women of Verona.Romeo agrees to go with Benvolio to the feast,but only because Rosaline, whose name he
ThemesThe Forcefulness of Love
(The play focuseson romantic love,specifically theintense passion thatsprings up at firstsight betweenRomeo and Juliet.In Romeo andJuliet, love is aviolent, ecstatic,overpowering forcethat supersedes allother values,loyalties, andemotions).
Love as a Cause oViolence
(Love, in
Romeo and Juliet,
is a grand passion,and as such it isblinding; it canoverwhelm aperson aspowerfully andcompletely as hatecan).
The Individual versusSociety
(Much of 
Romeo and Julie
involves the lovers’struggles againstpublic and social
 
which containsparallels toShakespeare's story:the lovers' parentsdespise each other,and Pyramus falselybelieves his loveThisbe is dead.TheEphesiaca oXenophon oEphesus, written inthe 3rd century, alsocontains severalsimilarities to theplay, including theseparation of thelovers, and a potionwhich induces adeathlike sleep.
Capulet
- The patriarchof the Capulet family,father of Juliet, husbandof Lady Capulet, andenemy, for unexplainedreasons, of Montague.
Lady Capulet
- Juliet’smother, Capulet’s wife.
Montague
- Romeo’sfather, the patriarch of theMontague clan and bitter enemy of Capulet.
LadyMontague
- Romeo’smother, Montague’s wife.
Paris
- A kinsman of thePrince, and the suitor of Juliet most preferred byCapulet.
Benvolio
- Montague’snephew, Romeo’s cousinand thoughtful friend.
Prince Escalus
- ThePrince of Verona. Akinsman of Mercutio andParis.
Friar John
- AFranciscan friar chargedby Friar Lawrence withtaking the news of Juliet’sfalse death to Romeo inMantua.
Balthasar 
- Romeo’sdedicated servant, whoreads on the list, will be there. In Capulet’s household, young Juliet talks withher mother, Lady Capulet, and her nurse aboutthe possibility of marrying Paris. Juliet has notyet considered marriage, but agrees to look atParis during the feast to see if she thinks shecould fall in love with him. The feast begins. A melancholy Romeo followsBenvolio and their witty friend Mercutio toCapulet’s house. Once inside, Romeo seesJuliet from a distance and instantly falls in lovewith her; he forgets about Rosaline completely.As Romeo watches Juliet, entranced, a youngCapulet, Tybalt, recognizes him, and is enragedthat a Montague would sneak into a Capuletfeast. He prepares to attack, but Capulet holdshim back. Soon, Romeo speaks to Juliet, andthe two experience a profound attraction. Theykiss, not even knowing each other’s names.When he finds out from Juliet’s nurse that she isthe daughter of Capulet—his family’s enemy—he becomes distraught. When Juliet learns thatthe young man she has just kissed is the son of Montague, she grows equally upset. As Mercutio and Benvolio leave the Capuletestate, Romeo leaps over the orchard wall intothe garden, unable to leave Juliet behind. Fromhis hiding place, he sees Juliet in a windowabove the orchard and hears her speak hisname. He calls out to her, and they exchangevows of love. Romeo hurries to see his friend and confessor Friar Lawrence, who, though shocked at thesudden turn of Romeo’s heart, agrees to marrythe young lovers in secret since he sees in their love the possibility of ending the age-old feudbetween Capulet and Montague. The followingday, Romeo and Juliet meet at Friar Lawrence’scell and are married. The Nurse, who is privy toinstitutions thateither explicitly or implicitly opposethe existence of their love. Suchstructures rangefrom the concrete tothe abstract:families and theplacement ofamilial power in thefather; law and thedesire for publicorder; religion; andthe socialimportance placedon masculinehonor).
The Inevitability of Fate
(The mechanism of fate works in all of the eventssurrounding thelovers: the feudbetween theifamilies; the horribleseries of accidentsthat ruin FriaLawrence’sseemingly well-intentioned plans atthe end of the play;and the tragictiming of Romeo’ssuicide and Juliet’sawakening. Theseevents are not merecoincidences, butrather manifestations of 
 
brings Romeo the newsof Juliet’s death, unawarethat her death is a ruse.
Sampson &Gregory
- Two servantsof the house of Capulet,who, like their master,hate the Montagues.
Abram
- Montague’sservant, who fights withSampson and Gregory inthe first scene of the play.
The Apothecary
- Anapothecary in Mantua.
Peter 
- A Capulet servantwho invites guests toCapulets feast andescorts the Nurse to meetwith Romeo.
Rosaline
- The womanwith whom Romeo isinfatuated at thebeginning of the play.the secret, procures a ladder, which Romeo willuse to climb into Juliet’s window for theiwedding night. The next day, Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt—Juliet’s cousin—who, still enraged thatRomeo attended Capulet’s feast, haschallenged Romeo to a duel. Romeo appears.Now Tybalt’s kinsman by marriage, Romeobegs the Capulet to hold off the duel until heunderstands why Romeo does not want to fight.Disgusted with this plea for peace, Mercutiosays that he will fight Tybalt himself. The twobegin to duel. Romeo tries to stop them byleaping between the combatants. Tybalt stabsMercutio under Romeo’s arm, and Mercutiodies. Romeo, in a rage, kills Tybalt. Romeo fleesfrom the scene. Soon after, the Prince declareshim forever banished from Verona for his crime.Friar Lawrence arranges for Romeo to spendhis wedding night with Juliet before he has toleave for Mantua the following morning. In her room, Juliet awaits the arrival of her newhusband. The Nurse enters, and, after someconfusion, tells Juliet that Romeo has killedTybalt. Distraught, Juliet suddenly finds herself married to a man who has killed her kinsman.But she resettles herself, and realizes that her duty belongs with her love: to Romeo. Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s room that night, andat last they consummate their marriage and their love. Morning comes, and the lovers bidfarewell, unsure when they will see each other again. Juliet learns that her father, affected bythe recent events, now intends for her to marryParis in just three days. Unsure of how toproceed—unable to reveal to her parents thatshe is married to Romeo, but unwilling to marryParis now that she is Romeo’s wife—Juliet asksher Nurse for advice. She counsels Juliet toproceed as if Romeo were dead and to marryfate that help bringabout theunavoidableoutcome of theyoung loversdeaths).
Motifs
Light/Dark ImageryOpposite Points of View
 SymbolsPoison
(Poison is notintrinsically evil, butis instead a naturalsubstance madelethal by humanhands).
Thumb-biting
(The thumb-biting, as anessentiallymeaninglessgesture, representsthe foolishness of the entireCapulet/Montaguefeud and thestupidity of violencein general).
Queen Mab 

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Wow I think its great how you've broken down all the Shakespeare plays into a simple-to-read format. Would you be able to do the same for some of his Shakespeare love poems? I write about them at http://www.shakespearelovepoems.com
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