Act II Review Questions

Romeo and Juliet Act II

Literary Response and Analysis Questions and Review for Test

Due at the Act II Test—2/7/14

Reading check

  1. What plans do Romeo and Juliet make in Scene 2?
  2. What fault does Friar Lawrence find in Romeo in Scene 3?
  3. We hear in Scene 4 that Tybalt is looking for Romeo. Why does he want Romeo?
  4. How does Mercutio feel about Tybalt?
  5. What part does the nurse play in Romeo and Juliet’s schemes?

Interpretations (2-3 complete sentences for each answer)

  1. An aside is a short speech, usually delivered to the audience but sometimes to another character, that others onstage are not supposed to hear. Whom is Romeo talking to in his aside in Scene 2, line 37? Why is the aside effective?
  2. This play in general and the balcony scene in particular are greatly admired for the beauty of the poetry. Pick one passage in Act II that especially appeals to you, and explain the poetic and literary devices involved. Is there rhyme, rhythm, or alliteration? What do the figures of speech mean? What senses do the images appeal to?
  3. The nurse is one of Shakespeare’s great comic characters. Do you think the nurse is a principled character, a person with a strong sense of right and wrong? Or does she seem to be easily corrupted, someone who will do whatever people want her to do? Find passages to support your answer.
  4. Though Act II is a happy act, Shakespeare at times reminds us that this is a tragedy (a play that ends unhappily). Point out lines that foreshadow, or give clues to the possible trouble ahead.
  5. The Friar agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet because he wants them to be happy, but he also has another motive. What is that motive? What does it reveal about his character?
  6. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something that a character does not know. Since the prologue told us how the play will end, we sense this irony when we hear the friar’s motive. What other moments of dramatic irony occur in this act?

Evaluation (half page)

  1. Romeo and Juliet’s families hate each other, for reasons that we aren’t told about. (The families themselves may even have forgotten.) Do you find the young lovers’ situation believable? Can you think of any parallels today, any real life Romeos and Juliets?

Creative Expression (half page written description and full page drawing…color is nice)

  1. Elizabethan playwrights created their scene designs mostly from words rather than scenery, props, and lighting that might be used today. Pick a scene from Act II, and decide how you would stage it. If there is a wall or balcony in your scene, where would you place it? Where would the characters stand? Would you add furniture, trees, or other props? Would you include a backdrop showing a city street, a garden, a forest, or a castle? How would you light your scene? Make a drawing of your design, and add any description necessary to make your ideas clear to the viewer.
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