The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Presentation of Themes in 'Romeo and Juliet'

In this worksheet, students will consider how themes are presented through the writer's use of language, structure and dramatic devices and how they help reflect the context in which Shakespeare was writing.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Presentation of Themes 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

       dagger      Romeo and Juliet laying dead on the floor

 

In the exam, you might be asked to comment on the presentation of a theme or idea in an extract from the play and then consider this theme or idea in the play as a whole.

 

It is important that you know the key parts of the text where these themes are presented and also how they develop and change across the course of the play.

 

For the highest marks in the exam, you need to:

 

- Show an excellent understanding of the relationship between the themes in the play and the context in which it was written.

- Analyse the writer's use of language, structure and dramatic devices, considering their effect on the audience.

 

Have a go at the following activity which will help you to evaluate the effectiveness of the themes in the play.

 

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

Shakespeare explores the theme of love in the play.

 

Romeo and Juliet's love ends with their death. To what extent does Shakespeare suggest that their love is hopeless and destructive?

 

Click on the most accurate evaluation below.

 

Shakespeare suggests that Romeo and Juliet's love is hopeless by highlighting in the prologue that their fate was always to die. Shakespeare reminds us of their ultimate fate throughout the play to highlight that their love is pointless.

Although Shakespeare highlights that Romeo and Juliet's ultimate fate is to die, meaning that their love is doomed, he also shows how love is important in the way it brings the Capulets and Montagues together at the end of the play and ends their feud.

Shakespeare explores how love and hate can exist together.

 

Complete the passage below to explore these themes further.

Shakespeare suggests that Romeo and Juliet's love is hopeless by highlighting in the prologue that their fate was always to die. Shakespeare reminds us of their ultimate fate throughout the play to highlight that their love is pointless.

Although Shakespeare highlights that Romeo and Juliet's ultimate fate is to die, meaning that their love is doomed, he also shows how love is important in the way it brings the Capulets and Montagues together at the end of the play and ends their feud.

The prologue sets up the idea of fate.

 

Where is dramatic irony created in the play as a result of this?

 

Romeo and Juliet laying dead on the floor

 

Click on all accurate answers below.

"beauty's ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there."

"Yon light is not day-light, I know it"

"I dreamt my lady came and found me dead"

"Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb"

How far would you agree that Shakespeare conforms to the Elizabethan gender stereotypes?

Shakespeare presents characters who represent the gender stereotypes of Elizabethan society. His female characters are weak and submissive and his male characters are dominant and powerful, representing the partriarchal Elizabethan society

Whilst Shakespeare presents some Elizabethan gender stereotypes such as Lady Capulet, he also shows how some characters subvert these stereotypes and shows how masculine and feminine attributes are not soley found in either sex

Where do we see Shakespeare challenge Elizabethan gender stereotypes?

 

Evaluate the quotations below by deciding whether they conform to or challenge Elizabethan gender stereotypes.

 Conforms to Elizabethan gender stereotypesChallenges Elizabethan gender stereotypes
Sampson 'women being the weaker vessels'
Friar Laurence 'Thy tears are womanish'
Romeo 'I'll be new baptized'
Juliet 'I will not marry yet'
Lord Capulet 'I think she will be ruled In all respects by me'
Romeo 'Thy beauty hath made me effeminate'

Shakespeare explores the idea of loyalty in the play.

 

Evaluate the effect of the following quotations to decide whether Shakespeare is portraying loyalty or disloyalty.

 LoyaltyDisloyalty
Tybalt 'I'll not endure him'
Mercutio 'Tybalt you rat-catcher will you walk?'
Romeo 'I'll be new baptized'
Juliet 'Proud can I never be of what I hate'
Juliet 'That villain cousin would have kill'd my husband'

The theme of individual vs. society is another theme explored in the play.

 

Which explanation below effectively analyses Shakespeare's use of language in presenting this theme?

Shakespeare conveys how individual's desires are often in conflict with society's expectations of them. This is shown through Romeo and Juliet's relationship which is forbidden and has to be kept a secret.

Shakespeare employs the use of night and darkness imagery to explore the idea that individual's desires are often in conflict with society's expectations. Romeo and Juliet's love of the night, when Juliet hopes the "nightingale" that sings at night is what they hear, represents a time when their individual wishes can be fulfilled in secret while day time brings society's restraints once again.

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 and consider how the theme presented reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

Task:

Please open your text on Act 3, Scene 2 beginning with "...did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?" and ending with "...wherefore weep I then?"

 

How is the theme of hate presented in this extract?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

 

                     

Put your answer here:

Now it's time to try the second part of the mini essay question.

 

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

 

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

 

Then, you will need to consider this character/theme in the play as a whole.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques and consider how the theme presented reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

Task:

Where else in the play do we see love overcoming hate?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

 

                     

Put your answer here:

Conflict and violence are key themes in the play.

 

What is the effect of the imagery in the following quotation?

 

"For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring."

 

dagger

Click on the explanation that evaluates the effect of the techniques used.

Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of tension by suggesting that tempers are rising by describing the men as having "mad blood"

Shakespeare uses the metaphor of the weather being "hot" to convey the rising tension between the Capulets and Montagues. The way in which Shakespeare personifies their blood as 'mad' also suggests that the men's tempers are making them act irrationally

  • Question 1

Shakespeare explores the theme of love in the play.

 

Romeo and Juliet's love ends with their death. To what extent does Shakespeare suggest that their love is hopeless and destructive?

 

Click on the most accurate evaluation below.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Although Shakespeare highlights that Romeo and Juliet's ultimate fate is to die, meaning that their love is doomed, he also shows how love is important in the way it brings the Capulets and Montagues together at the end of the play and ends their feud.
EDDIE SAYS
The second one is the most accurate evaluation. It would be a very depressing story if nothing was gained from their love story and the families continued to fight and shed more blood. Friar Laurence hoped that Romeo and Juliet's union would bring their families together. Although their love is forbidden, he's hopeful that it will bring good. Indeed, he was right! However, the peace between their families does come at a cost; Romeo and Juliet's lives.
  • Question 2

Shakespeare explores how love and hate can exist together.

 

Complete the passage below to explore these themes further.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to fill all of the spaces? Romeo and Juliet's relationship is forbidden and this causes them lots of problems. Juliet knows that she's meant to hate Romeo but she can't!. Despite killing her cousin, she still loves Romeo desperately. Her soliloquies (the moments where she talks to herself) and her conversations with her nurse, her confidante, allow the audience to see the inner conflict she is struggling with. Remember, for the higher marks, it's important to analyse Shakespeare's use of techniques - we have analysed his use of language here by exploring the way he employs oxymorons (opposite words placed together) to show how love and hate can exist together.
  • Question 3

The prologue sets up the idea of fate.

 

Where is dramatic irony created in the play as a result of this?

 

Romeo and Juliet laying dead on the floor

 

Click on all accurate answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER
"beauty's ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death's pale flag is not advanced there."
"I dreamt my lady came and found me dead"
"Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb"
EDDIE SAYS
Did you spot three that create dramatic irony? Shakespeare reminds us of Romeo and Juliet's ultimate fate throughout the play. The dreams and visions of death mean more to us an audience than the characters because we know how real these dreams will become! The moment where Romeo says that Juliet still looks beautiful and not at all deathly and pale as he would expect, is when the audience wants to scream 'but she's not dead!'. Of course, through his portrayal of fate, Shakespeare suggests that nothing can be done to avert Romeo and Juliet's final destiny. This idea of fate would have been very relevant to Shakespeare's Elizabethan audiences who were religious and would've believed that God was in control of their destiny.
  • Question 4

How far would you agree that Shakespeare conforms to the Elizabethan gender stereotypes?

CORRECT ANSWER
Whilst Shakespeare presents some Elizabethan gender stereotypes such as Lady Capulet, he also shows how some characters subvert these stereotypes and shows how masculine and feminine attributes are not soley found in either sex
EDDIE SAYS
Shakespeare doesn't stick to stereotypes in 'Romeo and Juliet'. He certainly shows how Elizabethan society expected men to be masculine and women to be feminine. However, Shakespeare challenges these gender stereotypes by presenting his characters in a much more complex way. He shows how traditionally feminine traits such as passion can be found in men and equally, how traditionally masculine traits such as assertiveness can be found in women. This presentation of gender would have been shocking to much of Shakespeare's audience who were living in a partriarchal society where women were expected to be submissive to men.
  • Question 5

Where do we see Shakespeare challenge Elizabethan gender stereotypes?

 

Evaluate the quotations below by deciding whether they conform to or challenge Elizabethan gender stereotypes.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Conforms to Elizabethan gender stereotypesChallenges Elizabethan gender stereotypes
Sampson 'women being the weaker vessels'
Friar Laurence 'Thy tears are womanish'
Romeo 'I'll be new baptized'
Juliet 'I will not marry yet'
Lord Capulet 'I think she will be ruled In all respects by me'
Romeo 'Thy beauty hath made me effeminate'
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one! How did you do? Some of Shakespeare's characters express chauvinistic views about women, shown by Sampson here and characters often express the idea that men should be 'men'. Romeo worries he has been emasculated by his love for Juliet, that he's been too soft and even Friar Laurence tells him he needs to 'man up'! These, of course, are sexist views and Shakespeare simply reflects the period in which he was writing. However, Shakespeare shows how men and women can hold very different attributes to what they stereotypically are meant to possess. Juliet stands up to her father - she's not the submissive daughter Shakespeare's audiences would expect to see. Lord Capulet is shocked and enraged by this lack of obedience in his daughter. Equally, Romeo is the subservient character in his relationship with Juliet and is more passionate and emotional than she is - he even says he will change his name which is typically what women do when they are married.
  • Question 6

Shakespeare explores the idea of loyalty in the play.

 

Evaluate the effect of the following quotations to decide whether Shakespeare is portraying loyalty or disloyalty.

CORRECT ANSWER
 LoyaltyDisloyalty
Tybalt 'I'll not endure him'
Mercutio 'Tybalt you rat-catcher will you walk?'
Romeo 'I'll be new baptized'
Juliet 'Proud can I never be of what I hate'
Juliet 'That villain cousin would have kill'd my husband'
EDDIE SAYS
Another tricky one! Family loyalty was a big thing in Elizabethan England - we see this through characters like Tybalt who is outraged that a Montague has gate-crashed the Capulet feast. Tybalt is defending his family name and seeks revenge. Equally, Mercutio is another good example of someone who really values loyalty. He has Romeo's back! He can't, however, abide the way in which Romeo is submissive towards Tybalt's insults and vows to stand up to him on behalf of Romeo. However, Shakespeare shows how his characters change their loyalties and this is usually because of love. Romeo and Juliet's love is a conflict with their family loyalty and Shakespeare shows how love is more powerful. Romeo is willing to lose his family name and backs down from fighting Tybalt - his loyalties have changed now that he loves Juliet. Of course, they soon change back when Mercutio is killed - this pushes Romeo to avenge his death. Romeo's loyalties are certainly changeable. Equally, Juliet's loyalties change. She can't condemn Romeo after killing Tybalt. Her love for Romeo proves stronger than her family loyalty. Shakespeare certainly shows how love and family loyalty are in conflict and in many respects shows that love is all-powerful.
  • Question 7

The theme of individual vs. society is another theme explored in the play.

 

Which explanation below effectively analyses Shakespeare's use of language in presenting this theme?

CORRECT ANSWER
Shakespeare employs the use of night and darkness imagery to explore the idea that individual's desires are often in conflict with society's expectations. Romeo and Juliet's love of the night, when Juliet hopes the "nightingale" that sings at night is what they hear, represents a time when their individual wishes can be fulfilled in secret while day time brings society's restraints once again.
EDDIE SAYS
The second explanation considers the imagery of night and darkness. Remember that for the highest marks in the exam, it's important to analyse the writer's techniques. Here we are analysing the use of imagery and considering its effect. The imagery of night and darkness helps convey the theme of individual vs. society. The fact that Romeo and Juliet look to meet at night, under the protective cover of darkness, shows how their relationship is in conflict with what society expects of them. They don't want daylight to come because they know that they can't openly express their love for each other in public.
  • Question 8

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 and consider how the theme presented reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

Task:

Please open your text on Act 3, Scene 2 beginning with "...did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?" and ending with "...wherefore weep I then?"

 

How is the theme of hate presented in this extract?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

 

                     

Put your answer here:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: Initially in this extract, Juliet is shown to be torn between hatred for Romeo for killing Tybalt and her love for him. The way in which these two feelings are in conflict is conveyed by Shakespeare through his use of oxymoron in Juliet's speech such as "Beautiful tyrant!". Of course, family loyalty was highly valued in the Elizabethan period and her awareness of this means that she knows she should feel hatred for Romeo. Her shock and anger at Romeo's actions are expressed through her use of exclamations such as "..an honourable villain!" whilst her rhetorical questions such as "Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?" conveys her confusion at how someone so beautiful on the outside could be so awful inside. However, after she overcomes the initial shock, Juliet is able to think rationally and concludes that Romeo "was not born to shame". She therefore feels no hatred for Romeo; her love for him is to strong and she truly believes he is a good person. In the end, Shakespeare shows that the power of love here is more powerful than family loyalty.
  • Question 9

Now it's time to try the second part of the mini essay question.

 

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

 

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

 

Then, you will need to consider this character/theme in the play as a whole.

 

For the highest marks, you will need to show an analysis of the writer's techniques and consider how the theme presented reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the play.

 

Task:

Where else in the play do we see love overcoming hate?

 

Try to write two paragraphs.

 

                     

Put your answer here:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A paragraph might look something like this: Romeo initially shows love towards Tybalt when Tybalt tries to start a fight to get his revenge for Romeo attending the Capulet feast. Romeo's love for Juliet allows him to overcome his hatred for Tybalt and he responds to Tybalt's insults with "the reason I have to love thee" which confuses and angers Tybalt. Of course, Shakespeare creates dramatic irony for the audience here because we know why Romeo is holding back; however, Tybalt is not aware of Romeo's relationship with Juliet. Romeo goes on to say "Good Capulet- which name I tender As dearly as my own". Shakespeare's use of gentle and affectionate language in Romeo's dialogue here shows how powerful his love for Juliet is to make him forget his family loyalty and the "ancient grudge". Tybalt, however, receives this as a mockery and because family loyalty was valued highly in the Elizabethan period, Mercutio's accusation of "vile submission!", followed by his death, forces Romeo to reevaluate his loyalties and defend his family's honour after all. The insult to his masculinity during this patriarchal society proves more important to him than Juliet's feelings here.
  • Question 10

Conflict and violence are key themes in the play.

 

What is the effect of the imagery in the following quotation?

 

"For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring."

 

dagger

Click on the explanation that evaluates the effect of the techniques used.

CORRECT ANSWER
Shakespeare uses the metaphor of the weather being "hot" to convey the rising tension between the Capulets and Montagues. The way in which Shakespeare personifies their blood as 'mad' also suggests that the men's tempers are making them act irrationally
EDDIE SAYS
The second explanation comments on the writer's craft whilst the first explanation just comments on the connotations of the quotation. Remember for the higher marks in the exam, it's important to analyse the writer's use of techniques. "hot days" is a metaphor for the rising tension that Benvolio feels in the atmosphere - he senses that there's conflict brewing. "mad blood" is also personification and a metaphor for anger and rage, particularly related to Tybalt's anger at Romeo for gate-crashing the Montague feast and the revenge he's now seeking. These metaphors help build tension for the audience watching and anticipation that a fight will soon occur.
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.