SparkNotes: Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, scene 5, page 2When Romeo and Juliet meet they speak just fourteen lines before their first kiss. These fourteen lines make up a shared sonnet, with a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. A sonnet is a perfect, idealized poetic form often used to write about love. The use of the sonnet, however, also serves a second, darker purpose. The shared sonnet between Romeo and Juliet therefore creates a formal link between their love and their destiny. With a single sonnet, Shakespeare finds a means of expressing perfect love and linking it to a tragic fate.
"By The Book"
Wikimedia Commons. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet presents "star-cross'd" lovers whose plight has become the subject of many of today's novels, plays, films, and television dramas. Explore with your students the techniques that Shakespeare uses to capture the magic of the couple's first meeting and to make that meeting so memorable. This lesson plan complements the study of plot and characterization in Romeo and Juliet in its focus on lyrical form and convention that heighten the impact of the action on the stage. Students look first at the sonnet in which Romeo and Juliet meet, analyzing the imagery to gain insight into the way Shakespeare's use of love sonnet conventions characterizes the moment and the relationship between the lovers. Then students act the passage to notice Shakespeare's stage managing of this moment and to consider what perspective his making the lovers almost literally "kiss by the book" lends to our perception of their characters. Finally, students enact the scene in which this moment occurs in order to notice how Shakespeare's juxtaposition of poetic forms, ranging from the almost-prose of Capulet and the Nurse to the melodramatic style of Tybalt, further highlights the sonnet of the lovers.
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Activity 1. Analyzing the Text
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