Romeo and Juliet Activities: Themes (KS5)

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Here you can find resources designed around the 2019 Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Romeo and Juliet. Created for young people, students are able to follow along with the production online on the Globe's dedicated Romeo and Juliet microsite.

If students are new to the play, we suggest you start with these introductory Key Stage 3 Lesson Plans. If you would like to teach the play in greater detail, we recommend you use the advanced activities which can be found in the Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5 areas.

We will be updating this section week by week, so be sure to check back for more activities soon. 

Find and watch the interview with director Michael Oakley in which he discusses how time affects the story of Romeo and Juliet.

Michael speaks about how quickly the events of the play unfold. To help visualise this, create a timeline of the play: start with Sunday and run through to Thursday, breaking each day up into morning, afternoon, evening and night. Mark the key events of the play into each timeslot.

Now focus on the characters of the Friar and Capulet. Create a ‘role on the wall’ for each of these characters, looking at how their characteristics and actions shift over the course of the play with a focus on their speed. An interesting comparison can be made between Act I, scene 2 and Act III, scene 4 for Capulet, and Act II, scene 3 and Act IV, scene 1 for the Friar.

One academic has noted, ‘In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare almost appears to be saying that a lack of comic timing can turn to tragedy. In what...ways is this play a tragedy that flirts with comedy?’

Work in pairs to answer this question, focusing on:

  • Conventions of tragedy and comedy
  • What conventions of each genre Romeo and Juliet exhibits and lacks
  • The final scene of Romeo and Juliet, and how this links in to the above

Share your answers with the rest of the class.

Find and watch the interview with director Michael Oakley in which he discusses whether Romeo and Juliet is a love story.

Michael speaks about how Shakespeare would never ‘just’ do a love story, and how he therefore views the play through the prisms of love and hate.

Divide the class in half. Ask one half to create a freeze-frame that represents love within Romeo and Juliet. Ask the other to create one that represents hate within the play.

- Give both groups a short amount of time to come up with their poses.
- Then ask each group to show the other group their work. Ask questions of the group who are observing to tease out the similarities and differences between their portrayals.

Investigate the work of Saussure in relation to binary opposites.

- How can you relate this to Michael’s argument that, in Romeo and Juliet, love cannot exist without hate?
- How can you link this to the Friar’s speech in Act 2, Scene 3?
- Which other binary opposites can you identify within the play as a whole?
- To what extent do you agree with the idea of binary opposites?
Michael highlights how Romeo and Juliet were seen as the ‘archetypal couple’ in the nineteenth century.
- Work with fellow students to research how notions of what constitutes ‘ideal love’ have changed over the centuries, and across cultures.
- Create a large timeline to capture this on.
- Underneath this timeline, identify elements of the love between Romeo and Juliet that chimed with each epoch’s view of ideal love, e.g. the notion of sacrifice, shared loyalty, etc.
- What, if any, aspects of Romeo and Juliet’s love are still considered ideal in the modern world? Will Romeo and Juliet always remain relevant in discussions of ideal love?


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