Familial Tensions in Act 3, Scene 5 and How They Relate to Life

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SWBAT analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text and interact with each other by comparing the Capulets to real tensions in families.

Big Idea

Who's the adult here: Juliet or her father?

Getting Started

15 minutes

For homework, students were asked to translate two pages of Act 3, scene 5, from lines 59-115. I will begin by quickly checking their homework for completion and effort. To save time, I quickly walk around the room, but I don't read everything they wrote. I decide beforehand which lines/ sections of the assignment are most important (and probably among the most difficult) and I focus on that part. It saves time and quickly shows me what they truly understand. It's also incredibly easy to know if they used the internet because they would all have the exact same thing written.


Before we continue reading the scene, I plan to review some key lines from their homework. In this section, Juliet is careful about her words, so as not to raise suspicions about her recent behavior or her true feelings about Romeo, even as her mother insults him. Therefore, her wording can be interpreted in two ways. When Juliet says, "Oh, how my heart abhors/ To hear him named, and cannot come to him," her mother thinks that Juliet wants to see Romeo so she can poison him, but we know that it is what she means. I'm not sure that every student will understand this when they translate at home. 


Journal Writing

10 minutes

To prepare students for Capulet's entrance into the scene, I will ask that they journal briefly about their own parents (W.9-10.10). What happens when you do something you're not supposed to do? Who's the disciplinarian? Who's the pushover? Do you get lectured, grounded, chastised (to use one of our most recent vocabulary words)? I will give students a few minutes to write in response to any of these thought-provoking questions. I won't collect their work, since some of it might be personal, but before we begin reading, I will ask general questions about what happens when they blatantly disobey their parents. I'm sure that a conversation with teenagers on breaking rules will flow naturally.

Capulet's Decision

20 minutes

When Capulet hears that he will not make Juliet a "joyful bride," we see a different side of him. At first he asks a serious of questions, showing that he does not understand how his daughter could disobey her kind father. Then when she tells him herself that she does not plan on marrying Paris, he berates her with a series of insults and gives her an ultimatum: either she willingly goes to church on Thursday, or he will drag her there himself. This is not the same man who told Paris that Juliet had to make the decision herself, probably because he always assumed that she would agree with anything her father said (RL.9-10.3). I hope to have an animated student read from Capulet, so they we can hear the angry in his voice, which will make it easier to discuss.


We also see a change in Juliet. We will focus on these lines and discuss the ways in which Juliet has developed (RL.9-10.3). These changes help students evaluate the authenticity of the couple's love, or more accurately, they offer fodder for the discussion: Does her new independence prove that she has matured and is responsible or that she is blinded by a good-looking guy into acting badly? A close-reading of her language starts the conversation (RL.9-10.4).

Returning to Our Journals

10 minutes

Teenagers, more than anyone, understand the tensions that arise when parents think they know their children, but fail to see the ways in which they have grown up. Of course, teenagers often have a short-sided view on these situations, since they are the ones pushing boundaries. Nonetheless, they have a lot to say on this subject. I will ask that they return to their journal entries and reflect on the pages we have read:


What do you think of Capulet now? Is he cruel, a hot-head, or is he a good father? He's trying to do something good for his daughter, even if she doesn't want him to, so who is really at fault here? (W.9-10.10)


I want students to write first, since some need that extra think time before speaking, but then I hope to have enough time to hear some of their ideas and reflections aloud (SL.9-10.1).

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

I will assign homework in the last few minutes of class. Students will translate the first two pages of the next scene. I will explain that we will start tomorrow's class by acting out these lines, which they should think about while completing their homework. In other words, they need to think about the emotion behind the lines, not just what each word means. This prep time will help us tomorrow, because it means that we can get right to the heart of the scene.