Critical Lens Essay On Romeo And Juliet

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet-Critical Lens Essay

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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Critical Lens Essay Someone once said, “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason that motivates characters in literature. ” This means that all literature is an expression of emotion and it is the emotion that is the main character, and often the setting and theme as well. It is not the reasoning within the story that draws you in, but rather how the story deals with the emotions we all have felt. It provides us with a possible scenario of the impact of focusing only on emotion and losing focus on reason.

The power of emotion driving literary characters to see their emotions through, make us wish we could feel so strongly about something or someone and the way we would all like to think we would see our emotions through. Atticus Finch, from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and Romeo Montague from Shakespeare’s drama, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, both are driven only by their emotions. Both are so driven to see their powerful emotions, no matter what might happen to them, that their emotion and the opposite emotions of everyone else around them becomes the main character, setting and theme in these stories.

You are drawn in to the emotion by asking would I have the courage to stand up to my home town full of racism to seek justice for a black person as Atticus did in To Kill A Mockingbird? Could I be so in love, as Romeo was, that I would be willing to give up everything I had, my family, my position in society, even my own life, for the love of another person? Atticus Finch, from the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, bases all of his decisions and actions in the Tom Robinson trial, merely as a reaction to powerful emotion.

First he accepts the case based upon the emotional racist state of the town condemning Tom Robinson primarily because he is black. Second, he is driven by his emotional belief in everyone getting a fair trial and having the same access to justice, no matter their race. Atticus is fully aware of the racism that exists in his town, but he did not take the time to consider that the violence and hate of that racism can easily be turned on him and his family. A literary element used in To Kill a Mockingbird is setting. The setting was used to help develop the fact that Atticus does not think too much before he accepted the case.

To Kill a Mockingbird was set in a southern, racist town, at a time when blacks were looked down upon and discriminated against. Just the racism alone was enough to drive Atticus. He wanted this to change, and felt very strongly on this issue. Another literary element used in To Kill a Mockingbird is symbolism. The mockingbird is used to symbolize something that is harmless. They only sing and make music for others to enjoy and to kill one is a sin. Both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are harmless individuals, who never intend to hurt a soul. Yet Tom’s life is lost, and this is like shooting a mockingbird.

As Scout said, “to hurt Boo Radley too would be like killing a mockingbird. ” Atticus put everything he had: his career, his status in the town and his and his family’s safety on the line to fight for an innocent man and against the prejudice ideas of the south. Romeo Montague, from William Shakespeare’s drama, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, also bases all of his decisions and actions, including his marriage and death, on his powerful emotional love for Juliet Capulet, ignoring the consequences for him, Juliet and their families. Once again powerful emotion, more than the people in the story, is the main character, setting and theme.

Romeo and Juliet are focused on their deep love for each other, in contrast to all of the hate between their families that surrounds them. Characterization was used in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, to show Romeo’s strong, rash emotions. From the beginning, Romeo is portrayed as an extremely dramatic and emotional character, from one minute being lovesick over Rosaline, to the next, being madly in love with Juliet, to killing someone that threatens that love, to finally killing himself. Romeo never really reasons what he is doing, he just does it. Another literary element used in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is hyperbole.

Shakespeare uses hyperbole as an exaggerated way to show how rash and driven by emotion Romeo is. This exaggeration through hyperbole is used to help the reader better see how dramatic and emotional Romeo is. Romeo Montague, from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is so driven by emotion he is willing to lose his family, status in society, wealth, comfort, freedom and even his life for his deep emotional love for Juliet. “All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason that motivates characters in literature. ” In literary works, emotion often is the main character, played out by a person.

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This emotional power has a very strong hold on characters’ decisions, without compromising because of the effect or impact on their lives. Two important examples of literature that illustrate this point are Romeo Montague, from Shakespeare’s drama, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, and Atticus Finch, from Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, both are characters who embody pure powerful emotion, in deeply emotional settings and in stories with deeply emotional themes. They see their emotions through, and let the reader wonder if they would have the strength to put everything they care about on the line for such powerful emotional commitments.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Romeo and Juliet

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet-Critical Lens Essay

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ESSAY DUE: Monday, April 15th (typed, double-spaced, 5 paragraphs)

Critical Lens Essays

Checklist

Did you

ü  Mention the title and author? (intro)

ü  Explain what the quote means in your own words? (intro)

ü     Agree or disagree with the quote? (intro)

ü  Supported your opinion using examples from the play? (body)

ü  Make specific reference to literary terms (for example: theme, characterization, setting, point of view, irony, etc.) to prove your point? (body)

ü    Organize your ideasin a four to five-paragraph structure? (intro,2-3 body, conclusion)

TIP: start your introduction with the quote!

Introduction:

Here is a formula for writing the critical lens introduction.

          According to J.K. Rowling, "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." This statement means _______________. This statement is (true or false) because _____________________. Two characters that support this idea in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare are ____________ and ________________. Last sentence: something about the literary elements you will use….characters, events, etc. that support it, WITHOUT being too specific. (For example...Both of these characters make dishonest choices that lead to ironic events

and the play's ultimate tragedy.)

EXAMPLE:

       “Readers can learn as much about life from the villains of literature as from the heroes.” This quote means that people learn more from the bad guys in books than from the good guys. This is an incorrect statement. The hero in a story is there to BE an example of good behavior that readers can learn from, and try to be like. Two works of literature that support this statement are The Odyssey by Homer, and “Tortoise Weeps” by Marella Sands. Readers learn much more about proper behavior from Odysseus and Frog Spring than they do from the villains in these two stories.

Body Paragraphs:

1)         HAVE AT LEAST TWO BODY PARAGRAPHS, preferably THREE.

2)         OUTLINE your body paragraphs before writing.

3)         Use specific details from the story/novel/play/poem to support your ideas. I MUST be able to tell that you’ve read and understood the piece of literature that you’re talking about!

Conclusion: restate titles, authors, Critical Lens, and wrap up your essay with a new thought.

 

Romeo and Juliet Critical Lens Outline

1. Intro

-State quote

-Interpret

-Agree or Disagree

-State two characters to be discussed

-Thesis statement: tie characters together, incorporate literary element,
create focus, make statement about their choices

2. Body (1st character)

-Re-word thesis as it relates to first character

-Example 1: Choice

   - What choice did he/she make?

   - Why did he/she make this choice?

   - What happened as a result of this choice?

   - Was this a good choice or a bad choice? Why?

  

-Example 2: Choice

   - What choice did he/she make?

   - Why did he/she make this choice?

   - What happened as a result of this choice?

   - Was this a good choice or a bad choice? Why?

   -  Include literary element in discussion of character

          -DO NOT give definition but state term and example

          -Explain how technique contributes to the play

3. Body (2nd character)

-Re-word thesis as it relates to first character

-Example 1: Choice

   - What choice did he/she make?

   - Why did he/she make this choice?

   - What happened as a result of this choice?

   - Was this a good choice or a bad choice? Why?

 

-Example 2: Choice

   - What choice did he/she make?

   - Why did he/she make this choice?

   - What happened as a result of this choice?

   - Was this a good choice or a bad choice? Why?

   -  Include literary element in discussion of character

          -DO NOT give definition but state term and example

          -Explain how technique contributes to the play

4. Conclusion

    - Re-state thesis

    - Lessons to be learned from characters' choices

    - Lessons to be learned about choices in general

 

-Choose any speech from the play. Selction must be at least 7 lines.

-Write/type the selection. Hand the selection in with a pargraph that explains why you've chosen this selection, its meaning, its importance.

-Also, write how you would like to recite your memorization. You can recite in class, during post-session, or during another free period we have in common. You can also opt to write down the speech, which will be done during post-session.

-You must make your selection by Friday, April 5th.

 

Some suggested scenes...

 

The Prologue (Act 1)

Prince's Speech (Act 1, scene 1, lines 83-105)

Romeo on Love and Hate (Act 1, scene 1, lines 176-188)
Lady Capulet on Paris (Act 1,  scene 3, lines 85-100)

Mercutio's Queen Mab (Act 1, scene 4, lines 59-100)

Romeo on First Sight of Juliet (Act 1, scene 5, lines 50-60)

Romeo at Balcony (Act 2, scene 2, lines 2-26)

Juliet at Balcony (Act 2, scene 2, lines 41-52)

Friar in Garden (Act 2, scene 3, lines 1-31)

Juliet Waiting for Nurse (Act 2, scene 5, lines 1-17)

Benvolio at Fight (Act 3, scene 1, lines 160-184)

Juliet Waiting for Romeo (Act 3, scene 2, lines 1-33)

Juliet on Romeo-oxymoron (Act 3, scene 2, lines 79-91)

Capulet on Juliet (Act 3, scene 5, lines 187-207)

Juliet on Paris (Act 4, scene 1, lines 78-90)

Friar's Plan (Act 4, scene 1, lines 91-122)

Juliet on Potion (Act 4, scene 3, lines 15-60)

Romeo on Dream (Act 5, scene 1, lines 1-17)

Romeo in Vault (Act 5, scene 3, lines 84-120)

 

*You are not limited to these suggestions. Most of the speeches are much longer than the required 7 lines. You must choose the 7 lines you wish to memorize from the longer speech. Recitations will be scheduled the week of April 15th.

 

 

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