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Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare  

This guide is a support for Year 9 English
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Romeo and Juliet

In this unit:

  • Students are introduced to Shakespeare's world.
  • Through detailed analyses with the text students will gain an indepth knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare's language forms and features.
  • Students will become aware of universal values through close engagement with Shakespeare's text and contemporary texts.
  • Through close and wide engagement with the texts students will respond imaginatively and critically and develop different views of the world.


Aristotle's Definition of Tragedy

The play Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.

Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but, to expand the plot, developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris. Believed to have been written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare's original.

Shakespeare's use of his poetic dramatic structure, especially effects such as switching between comedy and tragedy to heighten tension, his expansion of minor characters, and his use of sub-plots to embellish the story, has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet over the course of the play.

from Wikipedia.


Read Aristotle's definition of tragedy.


Online resources for "Romeo and Juliet"


Read "Romeo and Juliet" online

The BBC have excellent resources for you to use.

Use the following sites:


Ipad App - Bell Shakepseare's "Starting Shakespeare"

Fall in love with Shakespeare’s timeless story of love, vengeance and tragedy - Romeo & Juliet - in full multi-media magnificence from the comfort of your iPad.

Featuring the voice talents of Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen, along with nearly three hours of engaging animation and unabridged text, Shakespeare In Bits Romeo & Juliet promises to engage the mind and render the hearts of all who view, read and listen to it. 

The ultimate study guide, this is everything you will ever need to learn, teach and appreciate one of the most enduring plays of all time. 

Experience Shakespeare in all his glory 

Completely unabridged 

Understand and appreciate the linguistic richness of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet with the original play text, broken into easily digested ‘bits’. In-line translation helps to understand difficult words and phrases within the context of the original play text. 

Hear it, See it, Read it 

Cost: $14.99
Available: iTunes App Store 
Platform: iOS (iPad only)


Encyclopeadia Britannica

Click on the image above and go to our subscription to Encyclopeadia Britannica for a range of print, video, audio and web sites on Elizabethan England, Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet.

You need to check with your teacher about the user name and password.


Elizabethan Times


Shaespeare's Life and Times


Shakespeare's England


Theatre in Shakespeare's Time

Use the following sites to explore the theatre in Shakespeare's time:

Image from


The Globe Theatre


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