Romeo and Juliet Questions


  1. The Prologue gives information to the reader/viewer. What does it say about the plot and the length of the play?

Act 1, Scene 1

  1. Why do Tybalt and Benvolio fight?
  2. Several examples of puns are found in this scene. Locate at least 3 puns.
  3. To what does the expression “purple fountains” refer?
  4. Prince Escalus foreshadows what will happen if the street brawls between the Montagues and the Capulets occur again. Quote and explain this statement.
  5. Quote and explain the example of personification involving the sun.
  6. Why is Romeo unhappy? Quote a line to support your answer.
  7. What solution does Benvolio suggest to Romeo?

Act 1, Scene 2

  1. Capulet, Juliet’s father, gives her age and a plan for Paris. Quote these two pieces of information.
  2. Explain the humor in the servant’s speech. Explain why he asks Romeo to read the names.
  3. Romeo also reads aloud the invitation. What does Benvolio suggest to Romeo? Why?

Act 1, Scene 3

  1. How does Juliet react to her mother’s idea of marriage? What does Juliet agree to do about Paris’s wooing her?

Act 1, Scene 4

  1. One piece of information about the setting – the time of day – is given by Romeo. Quote the clue, and give the time of day.
  2. Romeo says it is not a good idea to go to the feast because of a dream he had. Quote an example of foreshadowing.
  3. Romeo’s uneasiness is very different from what Mercutio talks about. What is Mercutio describing, and what does this comment say about him.

Act 1, Scene 5

  1. Since the guests are masked, how does Tybalt recognize Romeo?
  2. How does Tybalt react to Romeo’s presence? Also, tell what Tybalt’s uncle decides and what Tybalt does as a result.
  3. How do Romeo and Juliet feel about each other? How do they feel after they learn that each is from an enemy family?

Act 2, Prologue

  1. Explain the main ideas of this prologue.

Act 2, Scenes 1 and 2

  1. Quote and restate the metaphor describing Juliet.
  2. In her soliloquy, why does Juliet say, “O, be some other name”?
  3. After Romeo appears, what is Juliet embarrassed about?
  4. When Juliet speaks about “light love” or her light behavior, what specifically does she mean by the word “light”?
  5. Juliet says, “… I have no joy of this contract tonight. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden.” Nonetheless, what arrangement does she make with Romeo?

Three Character Studies

Although Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, that fact is not immediately apparent. The first two acts contain quite a bit of humor, some provided by the servants, as you have already noted, but much stemming from the speeches of Juliet’s nurse and Romeo’s friend Mercutio. Of course, their humor differs as much as their character and their station in life. The nurse’s humor is bawdy , filled with crude sexual references. Mercutio can be bawdy, but his humor is generally more clever and imaginative, and is filled with plays on words. Aside from their humor, both the nurse and Mercutio are memorable in two other ways. Let’s examine their speeches now to see what is revealed about their characters.

  1. First, reread Act 1, Scene 3, lines 75-78, the nurse’s praise of Paris. Now, in Act 2 scene 5, lines 38-58, see her comments on Romeo. What do you conclude about the nurse as a judge of character? What do you conclude about her constancy?
  2. In Act 1, Scene 3, you met the nurse for the first time. Reread her speeches prompted by Lady Capulet’s simple statement that Juliet is “not fourteen” yet. What characteristic of the nurse do these speeches illustrate?
  3. What indication do you have that the nurse is sincerely fond of Juliet?
  4. Do you think the nurse is completely loyal to her employers, the Capulets? Explain.
  5. Now look first at Mercutio’s speech, Act 1, Scene 4, beginning with line 53, and his speech in the same scene, beginning with line 96. How do these speeches show him as an imaginative, well-educated man of the world?
  6. Reread Mercutio’s speeches. Act 2, Scene 1, and his speeches, Act 2, Scene 4, lines 13-17, 39-48, and 92-97. Would you say that he regards falling in love with the same seriousness that Romeo does?
  7. Mercutio’s comments to and about the nurse are disrespectful (Act 2, Scene 4). What judgment do you think he has made about her character?
  8. Friar Lawrence is a holy man, a wise man, and a practical man. Reread his opening speech, Act 2, Scene 3, as he is about to go gather herbs. In lines 9-10 he states a paradox (an apparent contradiction which actually reveals a truth). WHat is the idea he expresses?
  9. Now look at lines 17-18 in the same speech and restate the idea.
  10. From his comments to Romeo in this scene and from his closing comment in Scene 4, what indications are there that he is a practical man with a good understanding of human nature?
  11. What advice to Romeo (that Friar Lawrence repeats more than once) is in this brief speech: “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast”?

Act 3, Scene 1

  1. Which of the young men is the peacemaker in this scene? How does he connect the weather to people’s feelings?
  2. When Tybalt asks Romeo to draw his sword, he says, “Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries / That thou has done me.” What “injuries” is he talking about?
  3. Quote Romeo’s response.
  4. How does Mercutio become involved in this fight? What happens to Mercutio?
  5. This serious scene includes a pun by Mercutio about death. Quote and explain the pun.
  6. Why does Montague say that Romeo should be pardoned for killing Tybalt?
  7. Give the Prince’s response to the killing.

Act 3, Scene 2

  1. When the nurse approaches Juliet in the orchard to speak with her, what does Juliet think at first?
  2. Why does Juliet disagree with statements by the nurse?
  3. Juliet has mixed emotions about Tybalt’s death and about Romeo, but what bothers her the most?

Act 3, Scene 3

  1. Quote statements by Romeo that indicate he shares Juliet’s feelings about his exile.
  2. When the Friar protests that being exiled is a merciful sentence, how does Romeo respond?
  3. Romeo carries his reference to flies into a pun. Quote and explain the pun.
  4. How is Romeo finally comforted?

Act 3, Scene 4

  1. Report Capulet’s instructions to his wife.

Act 3, Scene 5

  1. Quote the lines that indicate it is morning. Also, tell why Juliet says the birdsong was a nightingale’s.
  2. How does Romeo convince Juliet that he should leave?
  3. Quote lines that foreshadow Romeo’s death.
  4. List the metaphors by which Capulet describes Juliet’s sobbing.
  5. Locate clues to Capulets feelings when Juliet refuses to marry Paris.
  6. Juliet says, “Thou has comforted me marvellous much.” To whom is she speaking, what is her tone, and why does she say this?
  7. Why is Juliet going to see the Friar? What else may she be planning?
  8. Does Juliet plan to confide in the nurse? Quote lines to support your answer.

Act 4, Scene 1

  1. Why is Paris talking to the Friar?
  2. If the Friar cannot help her, what has Juliet decided to do?
  3. To show that she is fearless, what are some of the things Juliet says she would endure to remain Romeo’s pure wife?
  4. Briefly state the Friar’s solution and plan.
  5. Tell why the Friar is willing to become involved in solving the marriage problems Juliet encounters.

Act 4, Scene 2

  1. What causes Capulet to say, “My heart is wondrous light”?

Act 4, Scene 3

  1. Quote a line from Juliet’s soliloquy which foreshadows her death.
  2. List three of Juliet’s fears as she considers taking the potion.
  3. How do Juliet’s fears contrast with her previous attitude? (Act 4, Scene 1).
  4. Report Juliet’s final action of this scene.

Act 4, Scene 4

  1. Tell how the actions of this scene are in direct contrast to the seriousness of the previous scene.

Act 4, Scene 5

  1. Capulet says, “Ha! let me see her. Out alas! she’s cold.” Tell how his statement shows that the Friar’s plan is working.

Act 5, Scene 1

  1. What is the setting for this scene?
  2. Give Romeo’s reason for going to an apothecary, and tell what he buys.

Act 5, Scene 2

  1. How do these two incidents – Balthasar’s information and John’s quarantine – affect Romeo?
  2. The Friar’s closing speech in this scene is informative. Report three important points.

Act 5, Scene 3

  1. Who is hidden in the graveyard when Romeo arrives? Why?
  2. How does Balthasar disobey Romeo?
  3. Why does Romeo kill Paris?
  4. Quote the lines that indicate Juliet will awaken soon after Romeo’s arrival.
  5. This clue does not sway Romeo from his original purpose. What does he do?
  6. After Juliet discovers Romeo, she refuses a plan of the Friar. What is it? What does she do instead?
  7. What other death is reported by Montague?
  8. What purpose does the letter from Romeo serve?
  9. Quote at least two statements that show the feud is over.

Online Resources

Romeo and Juliet Audio from Gutenberg