The Masked Ball

On one level the masked ball is a way to get Romeo to meet Juliet. The ball would also have been something that Elizabethan audiences would have enjoyed for the costumes and a glimpse of upper class life. In both films that we watched it provides a musical interlude and a break from the violence. We also see that when there are clear rules of behaviour both families can co-exist.

We have talked a lot about identity lately and the masked ball shows us that if the family name is taken away that Romeo and Juliet can fall in love like any other teenagers. The masks help us to understand that.

Find out three things about the use of masque in Shakespearean times and add as a comment. Go here for information.

Romeo and Juliet on film

We have now seen two highly regarded film versions of Romeo and Juliet. The last one we saw was the Zeffirelli film from 1968 and it has been popular with viewers for many years. In that film the use of  16 and 17 year old actors to play the title roles has been well received. Another factor in Zeffirelli success is his acknowledgement of the historical and geographic locations of the original play. We expect Shakespearean language and many of you preferred this version because it seemed more believable to you as a result. I know that lots of you found this film easier to watch and understand than Luhrmann’s version.

Some people would argue that because you have to listen closely to the language in Baz Luhrmann’s version because of the contrast between the words and the modern dress and setting that it shows Shakespeare’s intention more than Zeffirelli’s. What do you think? Write a comment in response to this. Go here for some reading that may help you.

Shakespeare questions

Answer the following six questions in your theme book:

Click on this link to find the answers.

1.Click on the link to Birth 1564 & Early Years. William Shakespeare was born in what year?

2.What date do we recognise as his birthday?

3.What was important about Stratford-upon-Avon in the 16th century?

4.Click on the link for 1594 and find the acting companies Shakespeare was associated with in the early days. Name one.

5.Click on 1599 The Great Globe. What is the probable year that Romeo and Juliet was written?

6.What day and year did Shakespeare die? Why is this an interesting date? How old was Shakespeare when he died?

To answer questions 7 to 12 about marriage in Shakespeare’s time go here.

7.What does betrothal mean?

8. Name three marriage and betrothal customs found on this page.

Click on the link for “more wedding customs.”

9. What colour should the bride’s dress be?

10. How is the intention to marry announced? What happens if it is not announced previous to the event?

11. Describe the wedding procession.

12. What is a dowry?

Explain how important  a wedding ring is to the Elizabethans?

Such Tweet Sorrow

This year all Year 10 students will study Romeo and Juliet. To get ready for the play you may like to follow Such Tweet Sorrow.

More than 400 years ago William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, introducing “a pair of star-crossed lovers” who defy an “ancient grudge” between their two families with romantic and ultimately tragic results.

As well as numberless stage versions, it has been retold in film, opera, ballet and musical forms. In this ground-breaking experiment, it is coming to life across and through a social network, Twitter.

Throughout the five weeks of this performance, you can see and read the “tweets” – Twitter updates which may be thoughts, messages, links or confessions – of Romeo, Juliet and four other characters .

The tweets are being brought to Twitter  by six actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Each of them has a “script” but the actors will write their actual tweets themselves, using the rich backgrounds the writers have given them, along with a detailed diary that tells them where their characters are at any one moment of the adventure – what they are feeling, who they are with, who they want to talk to.

This may be as ordinary as telling us what they had for breakfast or as remarkable as announcing a deep, deep love.

To catch up, look at the Live Timeline and The Story So Far on this Such Tweet Sorrow site - also look out for events in the storyline that you can join in with and have more talk of these sad things.

Romeo and Juliet Revision

ImageChef Photo Template - ImageChef.com

Look on moodle for some ideas for essay writing. I have added some words from Romeo about love below.

BENVOLIO
What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?
ROMEO
Not … having that, which, having, makes them short.
BENVOLIO
In love?
ROMEO
Out–
BENVOLIO
Of love?
ROMEO
Out of her favour, where I am in love.
(1.1.169-173)

This shows: Romeo is obsessed with the state of being in love.

ROMEO
O, she doth teach the torches to burn … bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.
(1.5.51-60)

This shows: Romeo forgets his love for Rosaline the moment he sees Juliet.

ROMEO
How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!
(2.2.175-177)

This shows: Romeo loves Juliet, but he also loves love.