Comparing Juxtapositions in Acts 1 and 2

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SWBAT analyze and compare themes by tracing juxtapositions within the first two acts of Romeo and Juliet.

Big Idea

Shakespeare, you're so tense! Why?

Reading Act 2 Scene 6

15 minutes

The last scene of Act 2 is quick. Romeo and Juliet meet secretly in Friar Lawrence's cell so they can marry. As we read (one student reads for each character), we will pause to focus on a few key sections of text, such as this one:

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. (


Here, Friar Lawrence gives solid advice to Romeo. If only he had listened to his own advice! We will focus on the images in his speech: the explosion and the sweetest honey that becomes disgusting in excess (RL.9-10.4). The images, when understood, explain what happens when someone does anything in excess, not just love someone too much, because it is something we can all relate to. Before transitioning, we will discuss this concept in terms of reality and ourselves. This conversation enriches the scene by making it relevant and therefore meaningful. 

Analyzing the Juxtapositions

20 minutes

We will spend the rest of class analyzing our reading thus far. We will work on this worksheet, which asks students to name specific juxtapositions in the text and create a thesis based on them (RL.9-10.2). It is a good opportunity for students to think about thesis and arguments without the teacher providing a specific prompt. In other words, this is an opportunity for students to think analytically and independently about a text.


We will only complete half of the worksheet today: Act 1 and 2. But we will return to it at the end of play and complete it, using the second half of the play as evidence. This format helps students, at the end of the play, see how Shakespeare set up tense moments in the beginning of the play so that the most intense moments at the end of the play are even more devastating, despite the fact that we already know the ending. 

Sharing Our Work

15 minutes

I expect that some students will struggle with the "thesis/argument" aspect of the worksheet, and although I will walk around guiding students, so I have planned time for students to share their thesis statements, after ample think time (SL.9-10.1). I will encourage all students to take notes and write statements that they hear and like, but didn't think of themselves. It's not "cheating" because this is a time to learn from each other and deepen knowledge. We will discuss each specific juxtaposition and their thesis statements before moving on to the next one. Take a look at at their statements about dramatic tension.


I will facilitate the conversation and encourage students to be specific in their statements. For instance, it is not enough to say that "the parents do not support their children" because that's merely a text based statement; instead it's more meaningful to think about what the lack of support says about the parents or what the disobedience says about the couple. I will encourage students to push each other to write more meaningful sentences (W.9-10.2a); they can pose questions, and offer textual support or help with diction (SL.9-10.3).  

Wrapping Up

10 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I will walk students through the homework expectations, which isn't about Romeo and Juliet, but about preparing to work on their book trailers.


This weekend, students will set up their school Google Drive account, which is where they will also save all the photos, music, and movie clips that they want to use in their book trailers. I already had the school librarian check their accounts to see if any where already active; most were inactive, so she reset all the passwords to the same thing to make it easy for my instruction. Once logged in, students will be prompted to change it. 


Students will create an English folder and subsequently a book trailer folder, which they will share with me. Students should also start finding the images they want to use in their trailers. I will quickly show students how to find Fair Use images through an Advanced Google Search and how to check the image size. Photos should be at least 640 x 480 jpg (W.9-10.6). Google Drive is the easiest way for students to keep track of their resources because they can open in at home and at school, and even on their phone. It will also make things easy in the end because students will simply share their projects with me through Google Drive and I can open them in class without lag/download time.


At the end of this project, students will hand it a few resources, including a list of sources, so they should take note of where they are getting their images.