The study of Shakespeare is common in many high school curricula, and "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most popular of his plays. Because there is much written and researched about Shakespeare and his works, there are also many different projects and papers that can be done on the subject.
Students often must write essays to fulfil writing requirements, and Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" provides a writing opportunity. Write a literary analysis with a strong thesis. Possible topics include comparing the story to the youth of today, analysing each character and his role in the tragedy, discussing the theme of fate versus freewill and describing why Shakespeare's plays are considered timeless. Many other subjects can be discussed, and many authoritative references can be used.
Write a paper or do a presentation on the history of Shakespeare's time. Investigate Elizabethan England, the history of the Globe Theatre or research Shakespeare's life. Discuss how these historical factors influenced Shakespeare's work, particularly "Romeo and Juliet." Compare Shakespeare's language to the common language of today. Compare "Romeo and Juliet" to other plays and sonnets by Shakespeare.
Plot and Characters
Shakespeare's plays are meant to be read aloud and performed, and the characters each have their own voice and personality. Ask students to read the play aloud and use their voices to depict what they think the characters should sound like. Outline the plot in a format and talk about parts of plot, such as the exposition, climax and denouement. Discuss literary devices such as metaphor, alliteration, simile, hyperbole, pun and personification. Explain how Shakespeare uses these devices and how they may relate to the characters and plot. Investigate Shakespeare's use of the rhyming couplet at the end of scenes to highlight themes and events in the plot.
Students can have fun by rewriting Shakespeare's work. Shakespeare himself often borrowed ideas from other writers and stories. Students can write an alternative ending to the story. This activity works well after having completed a plot summary, so students understand which parts of the plot can be changed to dramatically alter the final resolution. Students may also make a video of their version of the story or put on a live play for the class. Students may also make a farce or parody of the play. Write a song based on the play or compose a newspaper with articles pertaining to events in the play. Create a storyboard or comic strip.
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