The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Evaluate Key Characters and Their Development in 'Romeo and Juliet'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate the key characters in 'Romeo and Juliet', considering Shakespeare's use of language, structure and dramatic devices and how the characters reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

'Evaluate Key Characters and Their Development in 'Romeo and Juliet'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Eduqas, OCR, Pearson Edexcel, AQA

Curriculum topic:   Shakespeare

Curriculum subtopic:   Romeo and Juliet

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Romeo and Juliet on the balcony                          thought bubble

 

To what extent is Benvolio a peaceful character?  

How far would you agree that Mercutio is a hot-headed character?

How does Romeo change throughout the play?

Who is most to blame for the deaths in the play?

 

In the Literature exam, you may be asked to write about how a particular character is presented in an extract from 'Romeo and Juliet'.

 

You will also need to know the play well enough to write about how a character is presented in the play as a whole.

 

 

To achieve the highest marks in your exam response, you will need to offer a personal and perceptive interpretation.

 

This means that you need to:

- ask questions of the characters

- think about all of the different ways we might view them - positive and negative

- think about whether they change throughout the play

- try to evaluate how far we can say they possess a particular characteristic

 

Remember that you will also need to show a close analysis of the writer's techniques in presenting a particular character and relate your ideas to the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

In this activity, we will practise evaluating characters in this way and will consider their presentation in different parts of the play.

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples.  These quotations are for reference only.

At the beginning of the play, Romeo says to Benvolio "thou canst not teach me to forget", expressing how much he thinks he loves Rosaline and how nothing will make him forget her.

 

Then, at the Capulet feast, when Romeo first catches sight of Juliet, he says: "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" 

 

What does this suggest about Romeo's character?

He is changeable

He is loyal

He is unchangeable

Where else in the play do we see Romeo's changeable emotions?

 

When he is with Friar Laurence arranging his marriage to Juliet

When he is told of Juliet's death

When Tybalt kills Mercutio

Romeo meets Juliet at the Capulet ball and quickly appears to fall in love with her.

 

Later he goes to her orchard and we see the famous balcony scene play out.

 

Romeo and Juliet in the balcony scene

 

Which quotation below uses light/dark imagery to show how Romeo loves Juliet?

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon"

"See, how she leans a cheek upon her hand."

"O, speak again, bright angel!"

Juliet is quite different from Romeo in many respects.

 

Complete the passage below to evaluate her character further.

 

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon"

"See, how she leans a cheek upon her hand."

"O, speak again, bright angel!"

At the beginning of the play, Benvolio is presented as a more peaceful character when he says: "I do but keep the peace."

 

Where else in the play, do we see Benvolio trying to keep the peace?

When Tybalt seeks revenge on Romeo

At the Capulet feast

When Romeo is banished

Complete the passage below to analyse the character of Mercutio.

When Tybalt seeks revenge on Romeo

At the Capulet feast

When Romeo is banished

It is now time to have a go at a mini essay question.

 

In the exam you will presented with an extract from the play.

 

You will need to consider an aspect of this extract, perhaps a character or a theme.

 

For the highest marks you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques used and consider how key contextual factors are reflected in the extract.

 

 

Task:

Please open your text on Act 3, Scene 5, beginning "Enter Capulet and Nurse." and ending with Lady Capulet saying "You are too hot."

 

Question: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring father in this extract?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

How would you evaluate Shakespeare's presentation of Lady Capulet and Juliet's nurse, considering how they reflect key contextual factors?

 

Click on all accurate evaluations that also consider contextual factors.

Shakespeare presents the nurse in a maternal role to Juliet, showing her love and care

Shakespeare presents the nurse as more caring and affectionate than Juliet's own mother, telling Juliet that "Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed". This reflects how children were often brought up by wet nurses in Elizabethan society, building a much deeper relationship with their nurses than their own mothers

Shakespeare presents Lady Capulet as unaffectionate towards Juliet

Shakespeare reflects how the mother daughter relationship in wealthy Elizabethan families was often a more detached, formal relationship than we would expect now. Lady Capulet shows little affection for her daughter and shows that she views her marriage as a status symbol considering Paris as "valiant"

Shakespeare portrays Lady Capulet as angry at Juliet's lack of obedience of her father's wishes for her marriage to Paris, when she tells Juliet "Talk not to me." Shakespeare reflects the patriarchal Elizabethan society where wealthy daughters would have arranged marriages, organised by their fathers, and were expected to be dutiful and obey their father's wishes

Match the following quotations to the correct analytical comment of Shakespeare's use of language/structure/dramatic devices.

Column A

Column B

Shakespeare presents Mercutio using puns and word ...
"You are too hot."
Shakespeare uses dramatic irony in his portrayal o...
"Juliet is the sun."
Shakespeare presents Lord Capulet's temper through...
"Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a gra...
Shakespeare employs light and dark imagery to conv...
"Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, As one d...
Shakespeare uses the imagery of day/night to highl...
"And bring in cloudy night immediately. Spread thy...

It is now time to have a go at another part to the essay question.

 

In the exam, you will first be presented with an extract from the play.

 

Following your response to this extract, you will then need to consider the play as a whole.

 

You will need to consider an aspect of this extract, perhaps a character or a theme.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques used and consider how key contextual factors are reflected in the extract.

 

In the last mini essay response you considered: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring father in this extract?

 

Now consider the play as a whole: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring and aggressive man in other parts of the play?

 

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

  • Question 1

At the beginning of the play, Romeo says to Benvolio "thou canst not teach me to forget", expressing how much he thinks he loves Rosaline and how nothing will make him forget her.

 

Then, at the Capulet feast, when Romeo first catches sight of Juliet, he says: "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" 

 

What does this suggest about Romeo's character?

CORRECT ANSWER
He is changeable
EDDIE SAYS
Romeo changes his mind very quickly! One minute he's mourning his unrequited love for Rosaline, telling Benvolio that nothing will make him forget her. Next minute, almost the first girl he sees catches his eye! Shakespeare perhaps suggests that Romeo is a fickle character in this way. His emotions are changeable. Indeed, the way Romeo talks about Rosaline in such a poetic way, perhaps suggests he just likes the idea of being in love. However, his relationship with Juliet seems genuine. He does after all go to extreme lengths to be able to be with her. Shakespeare certainly presents Romeo as a passionate character who wears his heart on his sleeve.
  • Question 2

Where else in the play do we see Romeo's changeable emotions?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
When Tybalt kills Mercutio
EDDIE SAYS
Did you choose the third option? Here we see another turning point for Romeo. Initially, Romeo refuses to fight with Tybalt. Of course, at this stage, the other characters don't know about Romeo and Juliet's relationship. Romeo talks in riddles about why he doesn't want to fight Tybalt, knowing that Tybalt is Juliet's cousin. However, when Tybalt kills Mercutio, we see a distinct change in Romeo. His calm, submissive behaviour turns into anger and he vows to avenge Mercutio's death. Romeo says he will act will "fire-eyed fury". Remember in the exam, you will need to find related parts of the text to the extract you've been given. In question one we looked at how Romeo is changeable and in this question we've considered another part of the text where we see a change in him. This is an important skill in the exam!
  • Question 3

Romeo meets Juliet at the Capulet ball and quickly appears to fall in love with her.

 

Later he goes to her orchard and we see the famous balcony scene play out.

 

Romeo and Juliet in the balcony scene

 

Which quotation below uses light/dark imagery to show how Romeo loves Juliet?

CORRECT ANSWER
"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon"
EDDIE SAYS
The first option depicts Juliet as the sun against the night sky - here Shakespeare uses light/dark imagery in Romeo's soliloquy to portray his love for Juliet. Remember that before this, Romeo had felt depressed at his unrequited love for Rosaline. His mood was dark. In Act 2, Scene 2, the balcony scene, Romeo uses lots of light/dark imagery to express how beautiful he finds Juliet and how much he's fallen for her. If we consider the connotations of "sun" we might think about it's warmth, it's power in keeping the Earth alive and it's ability to make things grow. All of these things reflect Romeo's very strong feelings for Juliet - she has brought him back to life from his depression and is giving him strength again! She has lit up his dark world!
  • Question 4

Juliet is quite different from Romeo in many respects.

 

Complete the passage below to evaluate her character further.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage fill all of the spaces? Considering how characters are similar or different is another good way to show evaluation. Juliet certainly loves Romeo as he loves her but she isn't quite as emotional as Romeo. She's able to use her head a little more, and keep control of her emotions. Indeed, in her later soliloquies, we often see her working through her inner conflict carefully and rationally.
  • Question 5

At the beginning of the play, Benvolio is presented as a more peaceful character when he says: "I do but keep the peace."

 

Where else in the play, do we see Benvolio trying to keep the peace?

CORRECT ANSWER
When Tybalt seeks revenge on Romeo
EDDIE SAYS
Benvolio tries to keep the peace when Tybalt tries to start fighting with Romeo. In fact, Benvolio tries to get the Montagues to move off the streets before this as he senses that the day is "hot", Shakespeare's symbolism for the rising tensions between the Capulets and Montagues. He also tries to get Mercutio to "retire", worried about a public brawl, after having been warned by the Prince about disturbing the peace. Benvolio contrasts Mercutio in this way; he is more worried about the consequences of not heeding the Prince's warning.
  • Question 6

Complete the passage below to analyse the character of Mercutio.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to fill all of the spaces? Mercutio is a complex character. On the one hand, he's witty and jokey but he's also deeply bitter about the world he sees around him. Shakespeare presents him as a loyal friend, very much representative of the value placed on family loyalty in Elizabethan England, and ultimately, it's this loyalty that leads to his death. He is angered by the way Romeo backs away from the fight, not knowing about Romeo's relationship with Juliet, and is determined to take this on himself. His clever word play is used to tease Tybalt, whose quick temper won't allow him to step back either. Shakespeare presents these men as stereotypical Elizabethan men in this scene - hot headed and quick to turn to violence.
  • Question 7

It is now time to have a go at a mini essay question.

 

In the exam you will presented with an extract from the play.

 

You will need to consider an aspect of this extract, perhaps a character or a theme.

 

For the highest marks you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques used and consider how key contextual factors are reflected in the extract.

 

 

Task:

Please open your text on Act 3, Scene 5, beginning "Enter Capulet and Nurse." and ending with Lady Capulet saying "You are too hot."

 

Question: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring father in this extract?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: When we consider Lord Capulet's behaviour towards his daughter in this extract by today's standards, we have to judge him as uncaring. He certainly doesn't take Juliet's wishes about her own marriage into consideration and appears shocked through the sheer number of questions he lists such as "doth she not give us thanks?" In addition to this, his language towards her is abusive in insults such as "You tallow-face" and his anger towards her is close to becoming physically abusive when he tells her he will "drag" her to the wedding if she will not come willingly. All of these factors contribute to an evaluation of Lord Capulet as an uncaring father. However, his exclamation "You disobedient wretch!", although abusive, helps us to understand Lord Capulet's motives a little further. If we consider the context of the patriarchal Elizabethan society than Shakespeare reflects in 'Romeo and Juliet', we can see how Juliet's disobedience is the source of Lord Capulet's anger. Daughters at this time, were considered the property of their fathers, and were expected to be submissive and obey their father's wishes. Juliet is not willing to conform to this limiting gender expectation of her at this point and Lord Capulet does not know how to handle this. His confusion, therefore, is expressed as anger. Perhaps, then, we cannot judge Lord Capulet as an uncaring father based on this evidence alone, as his motives for his insults are more understandable when considering the context.
  • Question 8

How would you evaluate Shakespeare's presentation of Lady Capulet and Juliet's nurse, considering how they reflect key contextual factors?

 

Click on all accurate evaluations that also consider contextual factors.

CORRECT ANSWER
Shakespeare presents the nurse as more caring and affectionate than Juliet's own mother, telling Juliet that "Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed". This reflects how children were often brought up by wet nurses in Elizabethan society, building a much deeper relationship with their nurses than their own mothers
Shakespeare reflects how the mother daughter relationship in wealthy Elizabethan families was often a more detached, formal relationship than we would expect now. Lady Capulet shows little affection for her daughter and shows that she views her marriage as a status symbol considering Paris as "valiant"
Shakespeare portrays Lady Capulet as angry at Juliet's lack of obedience of her father's wishes for her marriage to Paris, when she tells Juliet "Talk not to me." Shakespeare reflects the patriarchal Elizabethan society where wealthy daughters would have arranged marriages, organised by their fathers, and were expected to be dutiful and obey their father's wishes
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? The three marked answers are the evaluative comments that link to context. Whilst the other explanations are correct, they don't make this link to the context of Elizabethan society. The more than you can link your ideas about the text to some of the key contextual factors surrounding the play, the more marks you will be awarded. If we're to evaluate the characterisation of Lady Capulet and the Nurse, it's important to consider what was the norm for wealthy Elizabethan families at the time Shakespeare was writing. Whilst it may seem a little strange to us now that Lady Capulet doesn't show her daughter more affection, this relationship is very typical of wealthy families at this time.
  • Question 9

Match the following quotations to the correct analytical comment of Shakespeare's use of language/structure/dramatic devices.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Shakespeare presents Mercutio usi...
"Ask for me to-morrow, and you sh...
Shakespeare uses dramatic irony i...
"Methinks I see thee, now thou ar...
Shakespeare presents Lord Capulet...
"You are too hot."
Shakespeare employs light and dar...
"Juliet is the sun."
Shakespeare uses the imagery of d...
"And bring in cloudy night immedi...
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Remember that for the highest marks in the exam, it's important to analyse the writer's techniques in the extract you're given and the other parts of the text you choose to write about. For the top marks, make these relevant! The examiner doesn't want to see just device spotting, i.e. 'This is a noun'. They want to see you analysing the techniques that add something to the overall meaning. The techniques explored above are examples of useful analysis - dramatic irony, wordplay and imagery are all important devices used in 'Romeo and Juliet'.
  • Question 10

It is now time to have a go at another part to the essay question.

 

In the exam, you will first be presented with an extract from the play.

 

Following your response to this extract, you will then need to consider the play as a whole.

 

You will need to consider an aspect of this extract, perhaps a character or a theme.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques used and consider how key contextual factors are reflected in the extract.

 

In the last mini essay response you considered: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring father in this extract?

 

Now consider the play as a whole: To what extent is Lord Capulet presented as an uncaring and aggressive man in other parts of the play?

 

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: Rather than being presented as aggressive, Shakespeare presents Lord Capulet as a peaceful character when Tybalt expresses his anger at the "villain" Romeo attending the Capulet feast. We certainly see Lord Capulet's power and dominance in his imperative to Tybalt "He shall be endured.", reflecting his superior position in the hierarchy of this family. However, his previous aggression for the Montagues from his "ancient grudge" with the family appears to have subsided in this scene. Lord Capulet's more gentle approach appears to be motivated by the importance of not causing a "mutiny" among his guests, showing the importance of public perception and reputation for a respected family leader such as Lord Capulet in Elizabethan society.
Try it ---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.