Analyzing the Aftermath: Juliet Questions her Husband's Character

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Objective

SWBAT analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme by focusing on Juliet's changes in Act 3, scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.

Big Idea

Romeo killed Tybalt. Should Juliet forgive him?

Lazy Sonnets

10 minutes

Students are coming in with Lazy Sonnets (assigned at the end of this lesson) based on Act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet. We will share their sonnets at the beginning of class (SL.9-10.1). The presentations will prepare us to read the next scene, which is especially important because between the test, watching sections of the movies, and our Book Trailers, we haven't specifically done close reading and analysis of the Romeo and Juliet text in several days. Moreover, the presentations provide an outlet, wherein students can show their creativity. Take a look at a few of the masterpieces: example 1, example 2, and a quick movie with several examples.

Reading Act 3, Scene 2

40 minutes

As a transition from the Lazy Sonnets to the next scene in the play, I will ask students to use adjectives to describe scene 1. I expect words like tense and violent. I will explain that the next scene begins serenely, a clear contrast to the last scene. Juliet is waiting for Romeo to arrive and is oblivious to what has just occurred (alas, no cell phones, no twitter). I will ask students to focus on the language throughout the scene. Here's a sample of what we will focus on as we read:

 

Juliet's language echoes Romeo's (RL.9-10.4)

  • She also uses light and dark imagery in her description of Romeo. She wants to cut him up into little pieces and float him in the sky as stars; therefore, he is the light in the darkness, just as Juliet is for Romeo.
  • When Juliet finally learns that Romeo murdered her cousin Tybalt, she describes her feelings in a series of oxymorons, saying "Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical!/ Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!/ Despisèd substance of divinest show,/Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st./A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!" Her confusion echoes Romeo's confusion about love in the first act, when he too spouted a series of oxymorons (L.9-10.5a). 

 

Cryptic Messages

  • The Nurse brings Juliet the news of the fight, but she is so upset that the message is unclear and confuses Juliet, who originally thinks that Romeo was killed. Bad communication plays a role in the demise of the couple; this scene hints at what's to come (RL.9-10.2).

 

Loyalty

  • After her initial shock, Juliet defends Romeo, saying that if Romeo did not kill Tybalt, Tybalt surely would have killed Romeo. Her response demonstrates the strength of her love and her character (RL.9-10.3).

 

Wrapping Up

10 minutes

At the end of class, we will have a brief discussion about Juliet's reaction to the news. She has sent the Nurse to Friar Lawrence's cell to give Romeo a ring, signifying her love and commitment to him. Is that the right thing to do?