Analysis

In the following pages, we help you analyze William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet

First, you can find a detailed analysis of the dramatic structure of the play where we use Freytag’s plot pyramid to break it down to you. In connection with this, we discuss the ending - does love triumph or not? 

Second, you can read thorough characterizations of the two protagonists, Romeo and Juliet, their parents, Friar Lawrence, the Nurse, and other characters such as Mercutio. On top of that, we include a section of the role of surrogate parents in the play where you can read more about the specific functions of Friar Lawrence and the Nurse.

Third, you can read about the setting of the play. We cover both the physical and social setting.

Fourth, we help you tackle Shakespeare’s language and style. We show you how the play is full of literary and dramatic devices, such as metaphors, personifications, foreshadowing, or dramatic irony. We explain the different types of meter in the play, such as iambic pentameter. 

Curious? You can read the entire analysis of Romeo and Juliet in the following pages.

Extract

Here, you can read an extract of our analysis.

Overall notes on structure in Romeo and Juliet

Just like the classical dramas of ancient Greece and Rome, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is structured into five acts that cover about four days. The two lovers meet early on in the play and are separated after two days. The main plot is the love story between Romeo and Juliet, but we also have subplots such as the feud between the Capulets and Montagues or Lord Capulet’s wedding preparations.

The play alters between comedy and tragedy

If you read the entire play or a large extract of it, you will notice how it often switches between comical scenes and more serious ones. The play also frequently switches between slow-paced scenes and fast-paced ones.

There are several reasons for these switches. It would simply be too much for the audience to have every scene be dramatic and filled with romance, fighting, and death. Just like the famous saying that ‘less is more’, the effect of these scenes become greater when they only occur occasionally. At the same time, the comical or slow-paced scenes give the audience a chance to breathe (or laugh) while also building suspense.

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