What is True Love? Discussion and Analysis of Theme in Act 1, scene 2.

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SWBAT determine a theme of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text by tracing Romeo's attitude and language concerning love in Act 1, scene 2.

Big Idea

Does Romeo love Rosaline? Let's look at his language and figure it out.

Getting Started

5 minutes

Today we will start the second scene of the play. Before we start reading, I will clarify a few things, so that students are ready. First, they should know that we have switched scenes and families: we are at the home of the Capulets and will meet a new character, Paris. Second, they should know that this scene begins as a continuation of the first scene: when Capulet enters, he is in mid-conversation about the fight and the Prince's threat. We will learn the rest as we read. 


This information isn't vital and most students would figure it out as we read, but the initial conversation pulls everyone together and helps start us for the day. Plus, the pre-reading clarification helps students focus on the content of the text, as opposed to confusing transitions. 

Reading Act I, scene ii

40 minutes

In this video, I explain my approach to the first page of the scene. 

Throughout the scene, we focus on:

Language (L.9-10.5):

  • Most of the lines are written in iambic pentameter. But the servingman's are written in prose. Before we even read this lines, I ask students what they notice when they look at his lines. Of course, they notice that it looks like a paragraph than a poem. The next question is why?


Characterization (RL.9-10.3):

  • Does Capulet seem like a good dad? What leads you to your opinion?
  • What details can we tell about Paris? Ladies, would you like to marry him?
  • Besides being hopeless romantic, what other aspects of Romeo's character are revealed?


These questions help make the text relevant. The characters are strikingly similar to us and we will find that the themes are also perennial.  

True Love? Or True Lust?

10 minutes

At the end of the scene, Benvolio tries to convince Romeo to go to the Capulet party because Rosaline will be there. His argument is that Romeo can compare her to all the other girls in Verona and see his "swan a crow." But Romeo argues that no woman in Verona could possibly compare to his true love. My question to my students is whether they can prove that it isn't true love. Why does Romeo like Rosaline? I will pose these questions to the class as a whole and ask that students use the specifics from the text to bolster their argument (RL.9-10.1).


This conversation sets us up for a later conversation, when Romeo meets Juliet and completely forgets about Rosaline. At that point in the play, we will ask how we know that Romeo loves Juliet? Is there a difference? We will focus on his language-- diction and structure-- to make our decisions (RL.9-10.2, RL.9-10.4 and RL.9-10.5).

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I will ask students to write 2 adjectives to describe Romeo in this scene, plus 2-3 adjectives to describe Capulet and Paris. This is an activity that we have utilized at the end of the last few classes. It is a quick way to make them think about and connect with these new characters. These notes will also help us quickly see changes in characters as we keep reading.


For homework, students will continue reading their choice book