Shakespeare/Romeo and Juliet/Parallel Curriculum

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The Core Curriculum The Curriculum of Connections The Curriculum of Practice The Curriculum of Identity
This is where most of your classwork will focus. To truly know the play, however, you need to move further into the other three ways of knowing.

Knowledge and understanding. Knowing the work.

  • Character development
  • Relationships
  • Themes: love, revenge, fate etc.
  • Language: imagery patterns- celestial imagery etc.; prose vs. pentameter; rhyme schemes; use of pronouns etc.
Connect the play with the society within which it is set (and within which Shakespeare was writing). Make use of your other knowledge

Defining in context:

  • How does the portrayal of love in the play differ from its portrayal in modern love stories?
  • Desire plays a major role in the play. Romeo and Juliet’s desire for each other is the most obvious example but Friar Lawrence’s desire for peace and Tybalt’s desire to protect his family from insult and injury are other examples. How is desire presented? What comments do you think Shakespeare makes about desire? Is desire treated differently in modern novels or films?
Shakespeare's practice as a writer
  • What is the motive of the writer? What is the writer's background? What influences impacted on the author growing up or later in life? How did commercial factors compromise/shape the work? What societal and cultural influences show through in the author’s work?
    • The Conventions of the Elizabethan stage (asides, soliloquies, no women allowed to be actors, no mention of God)
    • The taste’s of Shakespeare’s patrons (the Lords Chamberlain, James I)
    • The plays were written primarily so they could be performed, not read. How might this have changed the kind of language Shakespeare used? In his day he would have seen the plays as oral language, designed to be heard, not necessarily studied.
Connect the play with you as a person
  • How does this work affect your mood/thought/attitude?
  • Can you see any link/applications used today?
  • Have these issues got better? Worse? Not relevant? Are the examples the same nowadays?
  • How do you think the young lovers’ actions would be viewed by different people in an audience?
    • Teenagers
    • Parents
    • Grandparents
  • Do you think differences between the genders are presented in the play? Are the men different to the women?
  • Should Romeo and Juliet have sought their parents’ consent to marry? In many ways they are in the ‘no man’s land’ between childhood and adulthood. How does the play present these difficulties of permission and consent?