Romeo and Juliet Writing Prompts
1. What is your overall impression of Shakespeare's time period, his life, his work? Do you enjoy/anticipate or dread Shakespeare? Explain.
2. Describe exactly what gives you troubles in reading Shakespeare. How do you cope with it?
3. What have you learned from the Modeled Reading? How has it changed the way you approach the reading of literature with difficult language like Romeo and Juliet or Frankenstein? If it didn't change your approach, describe how you approach it and how you developed that skill.
4. Look over the Mab Speech again and respond.
5. Discuss the Queen Mab Speech: What is it about? How is it developed? What do you think is Mercutio’s point? What do you think is Shakespeare’s point? What is Shakespeare’s tone and how do you know? What is the significance or this speech in terms of the entire play – if any?
6. Define love in as many ways as you want. Use examples to support your definition. Or, write a poem. However you want to do it is fine.
7. What is your favorite scene in the play? Why?
8. Think about both Romeo and Juliet in terms of what qualities they represent. Conjecture: what might Shakespeare be saying about these qualities? Conclude by discussing which of those qualities you see in yourself. Are you more a Romeo or a Juliet? If you want, you can do this with any two characters from the play.
9. Tragic characters are a mix of both good and evil. For most people, the name Romeo brings to mind thoughts of young love. Romeo, however, is more than a lover. Discuss how Romeo is a mixture of desirable and undesirable qualities.
10. At the beginning of the play, we find Romeo in love with love. When he meets Juliet, however, he is convinced that he loves her, not merely the abstract emotion. Juliet, also, believes she loves Romeo, the person. How do we know that Juliet is indeed in love with Romeo, and not merely experiencing her first infatuation?
11. Most of the characters in Romeo and Juliet fall into one of two generations. How do the behaviors, values, and decisions of one generation impact upon the other? Include at least four characters in your discussion.
12. Loyalty is often an admired value in a friend, relative, or mentor. On the other hand, the lack of loyalty can lead to conflict. Choose one or more characters in Romeo and Juliet and discuss how loyalty (or the lack thereof) is a driving force in their lives.
13. On the surface, the nurse and the friar seem very different: she is bawdy, he is pious. Upon closer examination, however, the characters are similar – they both help Romeo and Juliet. Analyze the motivations of both the nurse and the friar in their attempts to help the young lovers and discuss the rightness or wrongness of their decisions.
14. Examine the relationship among Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio. What traits and philosophies of life does each represent? Conclude by discussing what Shakespeare might have been saying these different approaches to life.
15. From the beginning of the play, we are told that Romeo and Juliet are victims of fate, star-crossed lovers whose deaths are unavoidable. Do you agree? Use the situations of the play to prove or disprove this theory of doom. In the process, reveal your philosophy of life in terms of the idea of fate.
16. Assert your own definition/description of the type of ideal romantic love Romeo and Juliet think they have. Then, use text from the play as positive or negative examples to support your definition/description.
17. While most of us cannot imagine getting married in our early teens like Romeo and Juliet, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this play is its beautiful portrayal of romance, love, and marriage. With that as your inspiration, write an expository, descriptive, or narrative essay in which you imagine the person you will marry, how you will fall in love, what your wedding will be like, and how your lives together will play out.
18. Perhaps, like Mercutio, you are skeptical about all this dreaming and love and romance stuff. If that’s the case, express your cynical attitude towards love and romance using examples from the play and your life as your illustrative proof.
19. Shakespeare uses beautiful running imagery – motifs – to paint an intricate picture of love and tragedy in this play. Trace his use of any motif you like throughout the play. Don’t forget to include some discussion of the impact that particularly motif has on how we interpret or experience the play.
20. At the technical climax of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo shouts to the heavens, I am fortune’s fool! Is he really? Analyze the web of circumstances and decisions leading up to Romeo’s exclamation and come to a conclusion as to whether he is really fortune’s fool or just a fool.
21. What is your greatest weakness – the tragic or fatal flaw – that always brings you down? Where did it come from? How do you cope with it? Use examples to explore this concept fully.
22. Do you believe in love at first sight? Explain, including your description of what makes two people instantly attracted to each other (even if you don’t call that love).
23. Shakespeare uses a masterful mix of the tragic and the humorous in Romeo and Juliet, creating a powerful and ironic juxtaposition of the silly and the serious. Explore his use of that humor in the face of doom and come to a conclusion as to why Shakespeare wrote his play that way.
24. Explore your relationships with adults. Consider issues such as communication, trust, power, conflict, and advice.
25. Fate is defeated; destiny, duped! Romeo and Juliet have somehow survived. Write a short narrative or descriptive essay exploring their lives five years hence.
26. After the demise of our young lovers, Montague and Capulet seem to have come to the end of the feud and the beginning of a lasting peace. Indeed, it would be structurally predictable that Shakespeare would end his play with a balanced resolution. However, you may not agree that it is all so tidy. Describe the future of Verona once the shock of the lovers’ deaths has worn off.
27. As the play comes to an end, the Prince states that, Some shall be pardoned and some punished, implying that there will be some blame placed in this sad episode. Assert your arguments for who shall be pardoned and who shall be punished.
28. If you’ve ever been in love or thought that you were in love, describe the experience. If you haven’t, describe how you imagine it will be.
29. In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person. – Margaret Anderson