Fated to be Family: Analyzing the Capulet Family in Act 1, Scene 3
Lesson 5 of 10
Objective: SWBAT analyze how complex characters interact with each other by reading and responding to Act 1, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet
Do you believe in Fate?
Before transitioning into the next scene, we will review the last scene by journaling. I will write this question on the board: Do you believe in fate? Before writing independently, we will discuss the definition of "fate," and I will write their comments on the board. Then we will write for 10 minutes (W.9-10.10). They should explain their belief and why they feel that way (W.9-10.2); an analogy or life example would help.
I expect a fairly even split in the class, with almost half believing in fate and half who believe solely in free will. We will have a short debate about how people came to their conclusions (SL.9-10.1). Then we will transition back to the text. In the last scene we read, Capulet's servingman accidentally gave Romeo the invitation to the Capulet party and invited him to "crush a cup of wine, if he not be of the house of Montague." I will ask, was that fate? (RL.9-10.1)
Shakespeare wants us to ask these questions. It really doesn't matter what the answer is, it just matters that we're thinking about it and considering the counter-argument. Shakespeare wants to make us uncomfortable and question our own preconceived notions. I'm trying to do the same. I want students to know why they believe or don't believe in fate, and I want them to defend their opinion, citing this play.
Time to Meet Juliet
We get to meet Juliet for the first time in Act 1, scene 3, but she doesn't say much. The Nurse monopolizes most of the conversation. Nonetheless, we get a good first impression of Juliet's character. Throughout our reading, we will focus on:
- The nurse is funny! Of course, the students don't get that right away. She talks on and on, recalling embarrassing situations from Juliet's childhood, never recognizing that Lady Capulet is uncomfortable and even upset. Although I don't go into detail about everything the Nurse describes, I give them enough so that they get a good sense of her character, and that by the time she says, "women grow by men," they understand the pun.
- Lady Capulet wants to talk to her daughter about Paris' proposal, but ultimately she wants to convince Juliet to like him. She compares Paris to a book, saying that he is practically perfect; the book just lacks a "cover," a wife. We will discuss why this is an effective analogy and what it reveals about Lady Capulet's idea of love and marriage.
- Lady Capulet enters the scene and sends out the Nurse, only to call her right back when she faces her own daughter face to face. They clearly have a strained relationship.
- The Nurse and Juliet, on the other hand, seem very comfortable together (it's helpful to explain the concept of a wet nurse to students).
In the last few minutes of class, I will ask students to write 3 adjectives to describe Juliet, the Nurse, and Lady Capulet in this scene. Here is a selection of their responses. We did this same exercise yesterday, when we met Romeo. They will keep this notes in their books, so that they can go back to them at any point.