The Importance of Teaching Values in School Part V of V
By Jill Jenkins
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Since teenagers have a tendency to behave rashly without considering the consequences of their behavior, Romeo and Juliet is the perfect play to show the consequences of this impetuous behavior. The character, Romeo, is heart broke as he has been discarded by the love of his life, Rosaline at the beginning of the play. To relieve him of his grieving heart, his cousin, Benvolio, and his best friend, Mercutio, take him to the Capulet’s ball to look over other beauties. There, Romeo spots Juliet, the only daughter of his only enemy, and falls immediately in love with her. After chatting in her orchard all night, the two marry at noon the next day. Of course, he doesn’t really know her and he takes no time to think of the consequences. He doesn’t even sleep on it. This is bad news since he was awake the night before bemoaning his lost love to Rosaline. Coming home from the wedding, Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt insults Romeo. When Romeo refuses to fight him, Mercutio jumps in to defend his friend’s name, but is killed by Tybalt. Not considering murdering his wife’s cousin might put a damper on his wedding night, Romeo kills Tybalt. Even though the Prince has threatened death to anyone fighting in the street, Romeo is depressed when he learns his sentence is diminished to banishment and threatens to kill himself in Friar Lawrence’s cell where he is hiding, another rash act. Regardless, Juliet sends the nurse to invite Romeo to her bedroom before he rushes to Mantua.
The entire play not excluding his suicide is fraught with impassioned decision made without forethought. Discussions and writing assignments can help students understand the folly of such rash behavior. Again by using a graphic organizer like the one below, students will improve their comprehension of the play and the life skill.
All four of these pieces of literature will increase the students’ reading skills while teaching them important skills in establishing healthy, productive relationships. The same principles that apply to romantic love relationships apply to every human relationship. Establishing healthy relationships can help students develop into happy, healthy adults. Teaching complete pieces of literature allows students to understand the similarities and differences between relationships. Human being are complex so to fully understand relationships use multiple examples, discussions, analysis and comparisons that can only occur in a complete literary work
Term Projects connected with Romeo and Juliet:
Love Essay: Develop 10 to 15 good essay questions about love. Remember "yes-no questions do not provide you with much information. Make sure your questions are appropriate to ask the principal or your mother. Interview two people between the ages of 12-14, two people between the ages of 15-20, two people between the ages of 21-29, two people between the ages of 30-39, two people between the ages of 40-50 and two people between the ages of 51 to 80. Synthesize all of your information together into a coherent essay that includes one graph comparing the views of the different age groups.
- Create a Three-dimensional model of the Globe Theater. Label the areas.
Discussion Questions and Writing Assignments
- Memorize and perform either Romeo’s
famous soliloquy from ACT II “What light through yonder window breaks….”
Or Juliet’s from the same act: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo…”
or if you prefer ACT IV and Act V, choose Juliet’s soliloquy before she
takes the portion or Romeo’s before he takes the poison. Remember you must
memorize it, block it and wear a costume for full credit.
- Write and present a three to five
minute speech using a visual aide. Consider one for the following
topics: weapons used during the
period, clothing worn during the period, Shakespeare’s life, or games and
amusements during that time.
Find a partner and memorize and
perform a scene from Romeo and
Juliet. Your choices include the balcony scene, Juliet trying to
persuade the nurse to her what Romeo said, Friar Lawrence’s scene when he
tells Romeo that he will marry him to Juliet or when he tells him to stop
weeping and be a man, or the fight scene in ACT III. Remember to wear a costume, memorize it
block it and use props.
- Create a television news program that
discusses at least five events that occurred in the play and has at least
five commercials advertising items used during that time period. The presentation must be at least five
minutes long and may use up to three people.
- Friar Lawrence has just been accused of complicity in the death of Romeo and Juliet. Collect information on both sides of the argument and present one as either the prosecuting or the depending attorney.
- Juliet is your best friend. She has secretly told you of her marriage to Romeo and of Romeo's killing of her cousin, Tybalt. Write her a letter advising her what she should do.
- Romeo and Juliet commit suicide at the end of the play. Brainstorm other solutions to their problem.
- Identify communication problems in both households that lead to the problems with all of the characters.