ROMEO AND JULIET - who was to blame?

Romeo. He acted too hastily throughout the play. He shouldn't have asked Juliet to marry him so suddenly, and he should have thought more carefully before rushing back to Verona after hearing of Juliet's death. He also acted violently and without thinking when he killed Tybalt and, later, Paris.

Juliet. She shouldn't have deceived and disobeyed her parents. Like Romeo, she was too hasty in rushing into marriage. She was already engaged to marry Paris at the time of the ball, and until then, had been very happy with her parents choice.

The Prince. He should have acted earlier to stop the feud between the two families. It was unjust of him to send Romeo away from Verona as a punishment for killing Tybalt when the fight was Tybalt's fault.

Lord and Lady Capulet. They were partly responsible for keeping the feud going. They had authority over their household, and could have stopped the quarrelling if they wanted to. They should have paid more attention to Juliet's wishes and listened to her opinions. They were too hard on her when she refused to marry Paris.

Lord and Lady Montague. Like the Capulets, they were also responsible for keeping the feud going. If they had been more understanding, Romeo would not have felt he had to keep secrets from them.

Fate. The tragedy was not the fault of any one individual - it happened because of bad luck. It was fate that Romeo and Juliet met and fell in love, and bad luck that the letter which could have saved them didn't reach Romeo in time.

Tybalt. He started the fight that resulted in Romeo being banished, and he was always causing trouble. He, more than anyone else, kept the hatred alive between the two families.

The Nurse. She encouraged Juliet in her romantic ideas. She carried messages, and helped the lovers to meet and get married secretly. She should have let Juliet's parents know what was going on. She advised Juliet to marry Paris, knowing she was already married to Romeo.

Friar Lawrence. He should never have agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet in secret. He gave Juliet the sleeping drug, and he was responsible for getting news of the plan to Romeo - the news never reached him, so Romeo thought Juliet was dead.

Mercutio. His attitude to quarrels and fighting made the situation worse. He saw the feud as a game and that led to his death and Romeo's banishment.


ROMEO AND JULIET - who was to blame?

You have been given a sheet of statements about the main characters in the play to discuss together. (You may agree with some of the points they make and disagree with others.)

You should be prepared to report back to the class about your discussion, so one of you will need to take notes.

What to do: Cut out the boxes of statements and read each one carefully out loud. Discuss them together and see if you can decide which one you agree with most and which one you agree with least. One of you should be prepared to take notes

Then, see if you can arrange the statements in order, like the diagram.

The statement you agree with the most should be at the top of the diamond, and the one you disagree with most at the bottom.

It is up to your group to decide which ones go where in the middle two rows and which one you will leave out altogether.

You may decide as a group that after you have discussed the statements thoroughly, and have tried to put them in order of priority, they make a completely different kind of shape. In that case, arrange them in the order that you think is best.

Make sure that you note down reasons for your choices. Can you think of any important points about blame or responsibility, which have not been mentioned in the statements?


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