Analyzing the Party Scene Reveals Changes in Romeo and Juliet

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SWBAT analyze how complex characters interact with each other and advance the plot by reading Act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet and analyzing how the protagonists react to each other.

Big Idea

Love at First Sight: Is it possible?

Getting Started: Is Queen Mab Good or Bad?

15 minutes

At the beginning of class, we will discuss the homework, which was to determine whether Queen Mab is good or bad, citing evidence from the text to support their conclusions.  To start, I will quickly circulate and make sure that everyone has a paragraph, and thus can participate effectively in the discussion. I will let students who think that Queen Mab is good start the conversation. I ask that together, they should try to cite all the good/funny/silly things she does. Then I will ask the opposing side to do the same: cite all the bad/malevolent/mean things she does. Which side outweighs the other? (SL.9-10.1)


I'm not actually looking to "prove" one side or the other in this discussion. Each will have valid arguments. And that's the point. Queen Mab is at once charming and harmful. She can be good, bringing dreams of the things we want, but she can also use those desire against us and taunt us with them (RL.9-10.2).


This conversation will start a longer conversation about duality of nature and the importance of balance, which Friar Lawrence will speak about specifically.

Romeo and Juliet Meet

35 minutes

The party scene. My students have been pushing me to read quicker, just to get to this scene. I hope that it lives up to their expectations! As we read, we will focus on:


Light imagery (RL.9-10.4)

  • When Romeo sees Juliet across the room, he waxes poetic about how she is the light in the darkness, she is "a snowy dove trooping with crows." In an instant, his heart, broken by Rosaline, recovers. He asks, "Did my heart love til now?"
  • Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet meet only at night. Therefore, she is the light that guides him in the darkness.


Religious imagery (RL.9-10.4)

  • The first words that Romeo says to Juliet proclaim him as a sinner who needs spiritual cleansing. He declares that his unworthy hand "profanes" hers. The students probably don't know this word, but they will recognize the word "profanity." From there, we will work to figure out what Romeo implies with this statement.
  • Throughout that first encounter, he refers to Juliet as a "holy shrine," thus declaring her as his religion.
  • This video shows how students interpret the "holy palmer's kiss."


Love Poetry (RL.9-10.5)

  • When Romeo spots Juliet across the room, he speaks in rhyming couplets, but like he does when he speaks on Roseline in the first scene. But when he actually speaks to Juliet, the quality of the poetry becomes more mature; together their lines form a sonnet. It seems that Juliet elevates his language.
  • Analyzing the language combined with the imagery may help us answer the question about whether their love is true or merely a crush.


Character Development (RL.9-10.3)

  • When Romeo meets Juliet, his melancholy dissipates.
  • When Juliet meets Romeo, she sheds her former obedience.
  • All the other elements of our focus help us understand more about the protagonists and how they change when they meet.


Most of the time, we read while sitting down, but today the two students reading for Romeo and Juliet will stand in the front of the room to demonstrate the "holy palmer's kiss." Because I know this is coming, when we are selecting roles at the beginning of class, I will make sure that these two readers are two students who are comfortable with one another, since this can be an awkward moment otherwise. 

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

For homework, students will continue reading their choice book.