1.1. General characteristics of the work
2.1. General characteristics of the plot
II. The Main Part
1. 2. Critical overview on the play
2. 2. Peculiarities of significant scenes (subjects and themes)
3. 2. “Romeo and Juliet” and their main characters
4. 2. Character relationship of Romeo and Juliet with Mercutio and Nurse
5. 2. The language of the play
6. 2. Peculiarities of stagecraft
7. 2. Contrasting the film and the play
8. 2. Comparing A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet (Lesson Plan)
1.3. Studying Romeo and Juliet - criteria for assessment
1.1 General characteristics of the work
Before making the investigation in our qualification work we should give some notions on its organization structure.
1. Theme of qualification work.
The theme of my qualification work sounds as following: “Romeo and Juliet: the immortal tragedy of William Shakespeare” I have chosen this theme as in my opinion it is this tragedy which is the most famous and of the best educational value among the works of Shakespeare.
2. Actuality of the theme.
Actual character is based on the thesis that "Romeo and Juliet" does not only teach us all the best features of human character but also shows us the worst which we possess. All these both good and evil we still have. One more actual character is in linguistic features: more than 500 new English words were introduced by the Avon Bard in this tragedy in their peculiar diverse manner.
3. The tasks and aims of the work.
Before the beginning of writing our qualification work we set the following tasks and aims before ourselves:
1. To investigate the peculiarities of the play and their difference from other works of Shakespeare.
2. To analyze the moral value of the play.
3. To show the ways how the heroes are related to each other by finding out oppositions and correspondences.
4. To analyze some popular scenes in the play.
4. The novelty of the work.
We consider that the novelty of the work is revealed in new materials of the linguists which were published in the Internet. One more novelty is the analysis of modern screen adaptations of the play made by famous directors Franco Zeffirelli and James Cameron.
5. Practical significance of the work.
In our opinion the practical significance of our work is hard to be overvalued. This work reflects modern trends in linguistics and we hope it would serve as a good manual for those who wants to master modern English language by classical language of William Shakespeare.
6. Ways of scientific investigation used within the work.
The main method for compiling our work is the method of comparative analysis translation method and the method of statistical research.
7. Fields of amplification.
The present work might find a good way of implying in the following spheres:
1. In High Schools and scientific circles of linguistic kind it can be successfully used by teachers and philologists as modern material for writing research works dealing with William Shakespeare
2. It can be used by teachers of schools lyceums and colleges by teachers of English as a practical manual for teaching english literature.
3. It can be useful for everyone who wants to enlarge his/her knowledge in English.
8. Linguists worked with the theme.
As the base for our qualification work we used the works of a distinguished Russian linguists Dmitry Urnov and modern Russian philologist Ilya Gililov.
8. Content of the work.
The present qualification work consists of four parts: introduction the main part conclusion and bibliography. It also includes the appendix where some interesting Internet materials tables schemes and illustrative thematic materials were gathered. Within the introduction part which includes two items we gave the brief description of our qualification work (the first item) and gave general notion of the theme and the tragedy. The main part of our qualification work includes several items. There we discussed such problems as subject and themes of the play analysis some peculiar scenes and relations of the main characters. We also compared the language of tragedy with the corresponding language of Shakespearean comedies having performed such comparison as methodic ellaboration for the lesson plan. In the conclusion to our qualification work we tried to draw some results from the scientific investigations made within the main part of our qualification work. In bibliography part we mentioned more than 20 sources of which were used while compiling the present work. It includes linguistic books and articles dealing with the theme a number of used dictionaries and encyclopedias and also some internet sources. Appendices to our work include some interesting information on Shakespeare and his works.
2.1 General characteristics of the plot
This play starts with a lovely sonnet an unusual beginning given that sonnets were meant to be from a lover to his beloved. The sonnet is also a very structured form of prose lending itself to order. Shakespeare cleverly contrasts this orderly sonnet with the immediate disorder of the first scene. The sonnet degenerates into a bunch of quarreling servants who soon provoke a fight between the houses of Montegue and Capulet.
This scene is wrought with sexual overtones with the various servants speaking of raping the enemies women. The sexual wordplay will continue throughout the play becoming extremely bawdy and at times offensive yet also underlying the love affair between Romeo and Juliet.
The disorder within the play is evidenced by inverted circumstances. Servants start the quarrel but soon draw the noblemen into the brawl. The young men enter the fight but soon the old men try to deny their age and fight as well. The fact that this whole scene takes place in broad daylight undermines the security that is supposed to exist during the day. Thus the play deals with conflicting images: servants leading noblemen old age pretending to be youth day overtaking night.
The Nurse speaks of Juliet falling as a child when she relates a story to Lady Capulet. This story indirectly pertains to the rise and fall ofthe characters. Since this is a tragedy the influence of wheel's fortune cannot be overlooked. Indeed Juliet's role in the play does parallel the wheel of fortune with her rise to the balcony and her fall to the vault.
The Nurse also foreshadows "An I might live to see thee married once" (1.3.63). Naturally she does not expect this to be realized in so short a time but indeed she does live to only see Juliet married once.
Romeo compares Juliet to "a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear" (1.5.43) when he first sees her. This play on the comparison of dark and light shows up frequently in subsequent scenes. It is a central part of their love that important love scenes take place in the dark away from the disorder of the day. Thus Romeo loves Juliet at night but kills Tybalt during the day. It especially shows up in the first act in the way Romeo shuts out the daylight while he is pining for Rosaline.
In the fifth scene the lover's share a sonnet which uses imagery of saints and pilgrims. This relates to the fact that Romeo means Pilgrim in Italian. It is also a sacriligeous sonnet for Juliet becomes a saint to be kissed and Romeo a holy traveler.
The foreshadowing so common in all of Shakespeare's plays comes from Juliet near the end of the first act. She states
Juliet: If he be married
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.
This will be related over and over again from her Nurse and later even from Lady Capulet.
One of the remarkable aspects of the play is the transformation of both Romeo and Juliet after they fall in love. Juliet first comes across as a young innocent girl who obeys her parents commands. However by the last scene she is devious and highly focused. Thus she asks her nurse about three separate men at the party saving Romeo for last so as not to arouse suspicion. Romeo will undergo a similar transformation in the second act resulting in Mercutio commenting that he has become sociable.
There is a strange biblical reference which comes from Benvolio in the very first scene when he attempts to halt the fight. He remarks
Benvolio: Put up your swords.
You know not what you do"
This is the same phrase used by Jesus when he stops his apostles from fighting the Roman guards during his arrest. It seems to preordain Juliet's demise namely her three day "death" followed by a resurrection which still ultimately ends in death.
The interaction and conflict of night and day is raised to new levels within the second act. Benvolio in reference to Romeo's passion. states that:
Benvolio: Blind is his love
and best befits the dark"
And when Romeo finally sees Juliet again he wonders
Benvolio: But soft what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and Juliet is the sun.
Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon"
Romeo then invokes the darkness as a form of protection from harm
Romeo: I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes" (2.1.117).
This conflict will not end until the disorder of the day eventually overcomes the passionate nights and destroys the lives of both lovers. It is worthwhile to note the difference between Juliet and Rosaline. Juliet is compared to the sun and is one of the most giving characters in the play.
Juliet: My bounty is as boundless as the sea
My love as deep. The more I give thee
The more I have for both are infinite"
Rosaline by contrast is said to be keeping all her beauty to herself to die with her. This comparison is made even more evident when Romeo describes Rosaline as a Diana (the goddess of the moon) and says to Juliet
Romeo: Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon" (2.1.46).
The balcony scene is more than a great lovers' meeting place. It is in fact the same as if Romeo had entered into a private Eden. He has climbed over a large wall to enter the garden which can be viewed as a sanctuary of virginity. Thus he has invaded the only place which Juliet deems private seeing as her room is constantly watched by the Nurse or her mother. One of the interesting things which Shakespeare frequently has his characters do is swear to themselves. For instance when Romeo tries to swear by the moon Juliet remarks that the moon waxes and wanes and is too variable. Instead she says
Juliet:Or if thou wilt swear by thy gracious self (2.1.155).
Shakespeare often has characters encouraged to be true to themselves first as a sign that only then can they be true to others..
Again note the change in Juliet's behavior. Whereas she used to obey the authority of her nurse she now disappears twice and twice defies authority and reappears. This is a sure sign of her emerging independence and is a crucial factor in understanding her decision to marry Romeo and defy her parents.
There is a strong conflict between the uses of silver and gold throughout the action.
Juliet: How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night" (2.1.210)
…"Lady by yonder blessed moon I vow
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops"
Silver is often invoked as a symbol of love and beauty. Gold on the other hand is often used ironically and as a sign of greed or desire. Rosaline is thus described as being immune to showers of gold which almost seem to be a bribe. When Romeo is banished he comments that banishment is a "golden axe " meaning that death would have been better and that banishment is merely a euphemism for the same thing. And finally the erection of the statues of gold at the end is even more a sign of the fact that neither Capulet nor Montegue has really learned anything from the loss of their children. One of the central issues is the difference between youth and old age. Friar Laurence acts as Romeo's confidant and the Nurse advises for Juliet. However both have advice that seems strangely out of place given the circumstances of the play. For instance Friar Laurence says to Romeo "Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast" (2.2.94). He also advises Romeo to "Therefore love moderately" (2.5.9). The insanity of this plea to love "moderately" is made (5.1.6). The use of dreams is meant to foreshadow but also heightens the dramatic elements of the tragedy by irrevocably sealing the character's fate.
When Romeo goes to the Apothecary to buy his poison it is as if he were buying the poison from Death himself. Note the description of the Apothecary
Romeo: Meagre were his looks.
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones
He is clearly an image of Death. Romeo pays him in gold saying "There is thy gold - worse poison to men's souls" (5.1.79). This description of gold ties into the conflict between gold and silver. It is gold that underlies the family feuding even after the death of both Romeo and Juliet when Capulet and Montegue try to outbid each other in the size of their golden statues. Thus for Romeo gold really is a form of poison since it has helped to kill him.
The analysis of the first act pointed out some of the numberous sexual references throughout the play.