Romeo and juliet

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The LINGUA-ARTS THEATRE Company’s version of one of Shakespeare’s best known tragedies has been especially adapted for four actors. It is essentially a MODERN story told in contemporary 21st century English (see the story on the next page). The reasons for this are twofold: to make the English more accessible for the students and to highlight the relevance of its themes to young people today. The modern story is built around the original plot of Shakespeare’s tragedy which is why we have included a few scenes from the original version in a bid to CONTRAST the contemporary with the old. In addition, the scenes in Shakespearean English have been specially adapted for young Spanish audiences.
BILINGUALISM: In our version of “Romeo & Juliet”, the Montagues are bilingual, that is they speak both Spanish and English; the Capulets speak only English. The majority of the play is in English with about 20% of its contents in Spanish.
Pages 1 + 2 + 3 Exercise 1. THE BACKGROUND, THE STORY, THE CHARACTERS: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Comprehension Questions
Pages 4 Exercise 2. An extract from the play with a gap-filling vocabulary exercise.
Pages 5 Exercise 3. An extract from the original Shakespeare play. Act III, Scene I, the duel between Mercutio and Tybalt, is given in both ENGLISH and SPANISH. We ask the students to read both versions, and then re-write this famous duel scene in modern 21st century Spanish and English. ¡OJO! We advise you to do this exercise AFTER seeing the play.
Page 6 Exercise 4. Act 1, Scene 3 of the original play in which Lady Capulet tells her daughter she is to

marry Paris. Comprehension exercise with TRUE / FALSE questions.

Page 7 Exercise 5. Re-arranging a dialogue from the play. A conversation between Juliet and her cousin Tobias has been mixed up. The students are to RE-ORDER the conversation so that it makes sense. The students can try the exercise BEFORE seeing the play and then check it afterwards.
Page 8 Exercise 6: A translation exercise. Students are to translate a radio newsflash heard during the play.
Page 8 + 9 Exercise 7: A CROSSWORD. Vocabulary practice. The students will be able to do some of the answers beforehand, then they can complete it AFTER they have seen the play.
Page 10 THEMES - HATRED / VIOLENCE / CONFLICT. To introduce this theme, we have included a reading exercise and comprehension check (Exercise 8) in the form of a NEWSPAPER ARTICLE which discusses the problems facing couples of mixed marriages (Jews-Muslims) in Israel and the West Bank. The aim is to show how the theme of CONFLICT is very RELEVENT today all over the world.
Page 11 MORE THEMES FOR DISCUSSION LOVE / LOVE & HATE / TRAGEDY & FATE / PARENTS and their CHILDREN / FRIENDSHIP. Teachers are given lots of ideas on the themes to discuss in class. It is good to do some discussion BEFORE and then AFTER seeing the play.
Page 12 ROMEO & JULIET IN OUR CULTURE TODAY On this page, we analyse how Shakespeare’s famous play has left its mark on today’s culture. We look at films, music, songs, etc. and ask teachers to encourage students to find examples and references of Romeo and Juliet.
Page 12 ANSWERS TO THE EXERCISES. For teachers only.
Page 14 GLOSSARY of more words and phrases found in the play.

Exercise 1: Read carefully the information on the STORY and the CHARACTERS and then answer the questions that follow.
The Background: This modern tale is set1 in the fictitious country of Belrania. The capital city, Belrane, has been the victim of a series of terrorist attacks committed2 by the VIRONIA LIBERATION ORGANISATION or VLO (OLV in Spanish), an illegal separatist group seeking autonomy for the territory called Vironia. The VLO is also fighting3 to legalise the use of Spanish – it is prohibited to speak this language in Belrania, the official language being English. People found speaking Spanish are arrested and put into prison.

WHO IS WHO (The Characters)
There are two main groups of characters: The Capulets and the Montagues. For centuries, these two families have hated each other and there has always been violence between them. Please study this diagram: -

Lady Capulet


Juliet Capulet

The Capulets

(who speak English)



(TYBALT in Shakepeare’s play


(Mercutio in Shakespeare’s play)

Romeo Montague

The Montagues

(who speak Spanish)


(or Benvolio in Shakespeare’s play)

Louie Montague

(now dead)

The Friar

Romeo Montague is a 17-year-old Spanish-speaking student who hates violence. His brother, Louie (a VLO sympathiser), was killed during a police interrogation six months ago.
Benny, Romeo’s close friend, whose first language is also Spanish. A passionate supporter of the outlawed VLO movement, he believes that violence is the only way to achieve autonomy for Vironia and the freedom to speak Spanish.
Marty (based on Mercutio in the original version) is an 18-year-old female philosophy student and a good friend to both Romeo and Benny. She is a native English speaker with a very strong personality. She is intelligent, independent and very cynical about romance, politics and religion.
Juliet is the 17-year-old daughter of the influential and wealthy Lord and Lady Capulet. Her parents have strong connections with the one-party government. She, however, is not interested in politics.
Tobias (or Tybalt in the original version) is Juliet’s cousin. He lives with the Capulet family because he is an orphan: his mother died when he was very young and his father, a member of parliament, was killed by a VLO bomb two years ago. This is why he hates Spanish speakers and VLO sympathisers.
Kate is Juliet’s best friend.
Lady Capulet is Juliet’s mother. She is a refined, wealthy and domineering woman.
The Nurse is Juliet’s maid or “criada”. However, she is more like a mother to her than Juliet’s real mother.
The Friar is the Catholic priest in whom Romeo often confides. He is very close to Romeo, and is keen to give him advice where necessary.

It’s Saturday night. Romeo and Benny argue1 about a violent VLO demonstration2 which has taken place in Belrane. Romeo is against3 the use of violence, but Benny thinks it is necessary. They meet Marty who invites them to a “masquerade”, a party with masks, at the house of a very rich family, the Capulets. Benny feels nervous about going because there will be secret police and government people there (Benny has connections with the VLO and Romeo’s brother was killed by the state police six months ago). Marty persuades them to go but before they leave, Romeo tells them about some strange dreams4 he has been having: dreams set in the 16th century about a beautiful girl called Juliet. In fact, Romeo has fallen in love5 with the girl in his dreams and can’t stop thinking about her. Marty makes fun of6 Romeo for being such a romantic.

At the party, Romeo is shocked to meet the girl in his dreams. Juliet actually exists in real life and is not a figment of his imagination7. After the party, Romeo secretly visits Juliet outside her bedroom window. They immediately fall in love. The problem is her parents and her cousin8, Tobias, detest all “Spanish speakers” and anyone connected with the VLO. If they suspected that she was seeing Romeo, they would severely punish9 her.

The next morning, Romeo visits the Friar and tells him about Juliet. The Friar tells Romeo that this relationship could be extremely dangerous. Nonetheless, Romeo convinces the Friar to join them in marriage10. The Friar changes his mind11 because, he thinks, a matrimonial union could pave the way12 for a better understanding between the enemies. At the same time, Juliet confides in her best friend, Kate, about her love for Romeo, but Kate refuses to listen and does not help her friend. For his part, Tobias suspects that Juliet is in love with a Montague and warns1 his cousin that he will kill Romeo if she sees him again. Juliet is now more determined2 to marry Romeo and that same day, they secretly get married3.

However, their happiness does not last long. Soon after their marriage, Tobias looks for Romeo and starts a fight4. Marty intervenes and defends Romeo but Tobias murders5 her. In anger, Romeo seeks revenge6 and kills Tobias. Romeo is now a criminal and must go into hiding. First, he secretly meets his wife, Juliet, and they plan their escape together...


  1. What is the name of the terrorist group in Belrania?

  2. What happens to you if you are discovered speaking Spanish in Belrania?

  3. When did Romeo’s brother die? How did he die?

  4. Name TWO rights the VLO is fighting for. What does VLO mean?

  5. Do you think the country of Belrania is a democracy?

  6. Why does Tobias live with his aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Capulet?

  7. Who often gives Romeo advice?

  8. What happened in the capital, Belrane, earlier in the day?

  9. What does Benny think about the demonstrations? And Romeo?

  10. Who invited them to a party? What was special about this party?

  11. Why was Romeo so shocked to meet Juliet at the party? Had he met her before?

  12. Why is it a problem that Romeo and Juliet have fallen in love?

  13. Why did the Friar, or priest, decide to marry Romeo and Juliet?

  14. What did Tobias say he would do if Juliet saw Romeo again?

  15. Why did Romeo murder Tobias?


Read the following extract in which Juliet is talking to her mother, Lady Capulet, shortly after Romeo killed her cousin, Tobias. Some of the words are missing. Choose the correct words from the list below and complete the dialogue.

Lee este extracto en la cual Juliet habla con su madre, Lady Capulet, poco después del asesinato de Tobias a manos de Romeo. Faltan algunas de las palabras. ¿Puedes encontrar las palabras correctas indicadas abajo y ponerlas en los espacios adecuados?

(Enter Lady Capulet)

LADY C: Juliet. Are you up? Feeling any 1 __________?

JULIET: Yes, a little.
LADY C: It’s not like you, going to your bed in the middle of the day.
JULIET: I know, but I’ve got this terrible 2 ____________.
LADY C: I’m sorry. Is it Tobias, dear? This must be very difficult for you. I know I’m 3_ _________. I have something very important to say to you Juliet. You’ve heard about all these kidnappings by those Vironia Liberation terrorists?
LADY C: Your father received some 4 ___________ information from the police today. They’re planning to 5 _________ you, Juliet.
JULIET: You’re kidding.
LADY C: I wish I was. We’ve already made the 6 __________________ and you’re to leave for the United States on the 10 o’clock 7 ___________ tomorrow morning. We can’t 8 _______ any sort of risks. Don’t look at me like that, Juliet. You can finish school in New York and then you could go to one of those marvellous universities: Harvard, or Princeton. I’ll come and visit you every month. It’ll only be for a few years, dear.
JULIET: Mum, I can’t go!
LADY C: We will not discuss this any further. It’s final, and that’s it! Your father is 9 ____________ you’re going.
JULIET: But, Mother, it’s just a 10 __________. I won’t go! I can’t leave just like that, in the middle of exams, without saying goodbye to my friends! How can you be so insensitive?
LADY C: Your life is in 11 ____________ and you call me insensitive? Don’t be so stupid, child!
JULIET: I’m not a child! And I can decide my future for myself. I’m not 12 ___________ !
LADY C: (She slaps Juliet) I’ll be back later tonight to make sure you’re packed. I’ll send the Nurse to help you… (Exits)




devastated - asolado/a kidnapping - secuestro (to kidnap - secuestrar)

You’re kidding! - ¡Bromeas! arrangements - planes;

determined - decidido, resuelto to take a risk - arriesgar

insensitive - insensible reliable - confiable, de confianza

The following extract, which appears in THE LINGUA-ARTS’ S version, is taken from Act III, Scene I of the original play. In it, Tybalt (Tobias) wants to pick a fight with Romeo. Mercutio (Marty) intervenes to save his friend, but instead is seriously wounded by Tybalt.

El extracto siguiente, que aparece en nuestra versión de la obra, viene del Acto Tercero, Primera Escena de la obra origina. En esta escena, Teobaldo (Tobias) tiene ganas de pelea e intenta provocar a Romeo, pero Mercutio (Marty) se pone en medio en un intento de salvar a su amigo. Sin embargo, durante la pelea entre Mercutio y Teobaldo, el amigo de Romeo cae gravemente herido…
Lee primero el extracto en ESPAÑOL ¿Puedes volver a escribirlo en un español moderno? Luego intenta escribirlo en un inglés moderno.

(Enter Tybalt)
TYBALT: Gentleman, good e’en. A word with you.
MERCUTIO: And but one word? Couple it with something. Make it a word and a blow.
TYBALT: You shall find me apt enough to that, an you will give me occasion.
MERCUTIO: Could you not take some occasion without giving?
TYBALT: Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo.
MERCUTIO: Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels? Here’s my fiddlestick. Here’s that shall make you dance. Zounds, consort!
(Enter Romeo)
TYBALT: Well, peace be with you. Here comes my man. Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford no better term than this: thou art a villain.
ROMEO: Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a greeting. Villain am I none.
TYBALT: Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries. That thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw.
ROMEO: I do protest I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou canst devise.

MERCUTIO: (draws) Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?

TYBALT: What wouldst thou have with me?
MERCUTIO: Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.
TYBALT: (draws) I am for you.
(Entra Teobaldo)
TEOBALDO: Caballero, buenas tardes. Una palabra con Usted.
MERCUCIO: ¿Sólo una palabra? Venga, acompañada de algo más. Sea palabra y golpe.
TEOBALDO: Caballero, a eso me veréis dispuesto si me dan motivo.
MERCUCIO: ¿Y no sabéis hallar motivo sin que os lo den?
TEOBALDO: Mercutio, vos y Romeo concertados….
MERCUCIO: ¡Concertados! -- Nos creéis músicos? Aquí está mi arco de violín que os hará bailar. ¡Voto va! ¡Concertados!!
(Entra Romeo)
TEOBALDO: Quedad, señor, con Dios. He aquí mi mozo. Romeo, el odio que me anima admite esta frase mi más: Un vil tú eres.

ROMEO: Teobaldo, los motivos que me inducen a quererte, la rabia disimulan de tal saludo. Vil jamás he sido.

TEOBALDO: ¡Imberbe! No así excuses las ofensas que me hiciste. Detente, y ponte en guardia.
ROMEO: No te ofendí jamás. Yo te lo juro; al contrario, te aprecio como nunca podrás imaginar.
MERCUCIO (saca su espada) Teobaldo, mata-ratas, ¿paseamos?
TEOBALDO ¿Qué queréis vos conmigo?
MERCUCIO: ¡Noble Rey de gatos!, sólo una de vuestras siete vidas.
TEOBALDO: Estoy pronto. (saca su espada)

Exercise 4: SCENE 3 (Act 1, Scene 3 of original play.)
Read this extract in which Juliet’s mother, Lady Capulet, informs her daughter that she is to marry a stranger, Paris. Then answer the TRUE/FALSE questions below:-
LADY C: Nurse, where’s my daughter? Call her forth to me.

NURSE: Now by my maidenhood at twelve year old

I bade her come. What, lamb! What ladybird! -

God forbid! - Where’s this girl? What, Juliet?

(Enter Juliet)

JULIET: How now? Who calls?

NURSE: Your mother.

JULIET: Madam, I am here. What is your will?

LADY C: This is the matter…

Thou knowest my daughter’s of a pretty age.

NURSE: Faith I can tell her age unto an hour.

LADY C She’s not fourteen.

NURSE. I’ll lay fourteen of my teeth

she’s not fourteen. How long is it now

to Lammastide?

LADY C: A fortnight and odd days.

NURSE: Even or odd, of all the days of the year,

Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen.

Susan and she - God rest all Christian souls! -

Were of an age. Well, Susan is with God.

She was too good for me. But, as I said,

Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen…

LADY C: Enough of this. I pray thee hold thy peace.

NURSE: Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace!

Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed.

And I might live to see thee married once,

I have my wish.

LADY C: Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme

I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,

How stands your dispositions to be married?

JULIET: It is an honour that I dream not of.

NURSE. An honour! Were not I thine only nurse,

I would say thou hadst sucked wisdom from thy teat.

LADY C: Well, think of marriage now, thus then in brief

The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.

NURSE: A man, young lady ! Lady, such a man.

LADY C: What say you? Can you love this gentleman?

This night you shall behold him at our feast.

Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?

JULIET: I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.

  1. The Nurse has been looking for Juliet for a long time. TRUE / FALSE

  2. Juliet is already fourteen years old. TRUE / FALSE

  3. Lady Capulet thinks the Nurse talks too much. TRUE / FALSE

  4. The Nurse is happy about Lady Capulet’s plans for Juliet to marry. TRUE / FALSE

  5. The Nurse is a timid, introverted woman. TRUE / FALSE

  6. Juliet wants to make her mother happy. TRUE / FALSE

DISCUSSION POINT Above, Lady Capulet is telling Juliet that she has to marry Paris. Juliet has never met him before and he is double her age. If a man and woman do not know each other before they marry, it is called an arranged marriage. What do you think of arranged marriages? In which parts of the world do you still find arranged marriages? What are the reasons for arranged marriages?

The following extract is a conversation between Juliet, and her cousin, Tobias. However, the conversation is NOT in order. Read it carefully, and then re-arrange the numbered sentences so that the conversation makes sense. (The first sentence is number 4 and the second is number 8.)

El extracto de la obra que sigue es una conversación entre Juliet, y su primo, Tobias. Sin embargo, el dialogo NO está en orden. Léelo con mucha atención y vuelve a escribirlo, pero cambiando el orden de las frases numeradas para que la conversación tenga sentido. Vamos a echaros una mano: la primera frase es la número 4; la segunda es la número 8…
(Juliet’s bedroom. Enter Tobias)
1. JULIET: Sorry. I’ll see you later, then… (Tobias grabs her hair) Tobias, what are you doing? Let me go! You’re hurting me!
2. JULIET: French.
3. TOBIAS: No, nothing. I saw you leave the house really early and I thought something might be up.
4. JULIET: Morning, Tobias
5. TOBIAS: So why did you get up and so early? It’s not like you.
6. TOBIAS: Oh? Which one?
7. JULIET: Fine, fine.
8. TOBIAS: Good morning, cousin. And how are you, this morning?
9. JULIET: So, anyway, I really have to get to work.
10. TOBIAS: You think I’m blind, eh? And stupid? Stay away from him, Juliet. You see him again and he’s dead, you understand? Remember what happened to his brother. (exits)
11. JULIET: Did you want something, Tobias?
12. TOBIAS: Ah oui, le français. Ah Juliet, ma belle cousine.
13. JULIET: No, nothing’s wrong.
14. JULIET: I couldn’t sleep, that’s all. Anyway, I have to do some studying.. I’ve got an exam tomorrow.
15. TOBIAS: Great. (pause)
16. TOBIAS: I can take a hint. You want me to leave, right?

IMPORTANT WORDS: to take a hint - comprender la indirecta; blind - ciego;
Is something up? - ¿Pasa algo? Great - estupendo early - temprano dead - muerto
SCENE 13 This is a radio newsflash which is heard after Romeo has killed Tobias. Read it carefully and then re-write it in SPANISH for the clandestine Vironian radio station which broadcasts secretly to Spanish-speaking listeners.

NEWS: “We interrupt our normal broadcast with a news-flash. Violence hit the streets of Belrane again today with the tragic deaths of two young students: Marty Adams and Tobias Capulet were killed earlier this afternoon in a knife fight reportedly involving a third person. Police want to question 17 year-old Romeo Montesco, whom, according to eye witnesses, stabbed Tobias Capulet several times before fleeing. It is not known who was responsible for the death of Marty Adams, an 18 year-old philosophy student at the University of Belrane. Tobias Capulet was the son of Robert Capulet, the member of parliament killed two years ago by a VLO terrorist bomb. Today’s deaths have come at a time of increased tension in the capital after a wave of VLO kidnappings of prominent Belrane citizens.











































  1. In our version of “Romeo & Juliet”, Romeo takes a ______before he dies. (4)

3. The Friar joins Romeo and Juliet in _____________ (8)

7. A terrorist organisation in the north of Spain. (3)

8. A thought or notion. (4)

9. Rubbish! (or tonterías in Spanish) (8)

12. An adjective that could describe Tobias in the play (conceited, self-important). (4)

13. Romeo tries to _______ Marty life, but he fails. (4)

16. Romeo took his revenge and ___________ Tobias. (6)

19. The opposite of “that”. (4)

20. Romeo ________ about Juliet before he meets her in real life. (6)

22. Romeo is in love with her. (6)

24. You write with this. (3)

25. A Spanish girl’s name. (3)

26. This means “faith” in Spanish. (2)

27. Romeo’s brother, Louie, died in there. (6)

30. You can wear this around your neck. It also means “atar” in Spanish. (3)

32. What’s going ___? What’s happening? (2)

33. Another word for “poems” in English. (4)

35. Either Romeo stays in Belrane and dies, ___ he escapes with Juliet and lives. (2)

36. The past tense of “make”. (4)

38. A negative (2)

39. At the end, Romeo and Juliet died, but whose _____ was it? Who was to blame? (5)

40. Where is my book? It’s _________ there. (4)

1. The Friar in “Romeo & Juliet” is one of these. (6)

2. Departs, goes. (6)

3. The Spanish word for “demonstration” or “protest rally”. (13)

4. Romeo and Juliet want to ______ away or escape. (3)

5. As cold as _______ . (3)

6. Oxygen or Helium. (3)

10. The same as 32 across.

11. Zero or nothing. (3)

14. An exclamation in English. (2)

15. Murder, terrorist attacks, beatings, etc. are all acts of _______________ . (8)

16. Juliet’s mother thinks the VLO terrorist group are going to _______ her daughter. (6)

17. A “mentira” in English. (3)

18. It was Romeo and Juliet’s ___________ or “fate” to die. (7)

21. Where have you been? I haven’t seen you for ______ . (4)

23. A simple preposition. (2)

26. Spanish for “refined” or “polite”. (4)

28. Juliet is in love with him. (5)

29. In Shakespeare’s play, Juliet says, “Romeo, _______ thy name”, which means

“throw away your name”. (4)

31. In Greek mythology, he is Aphrodite’s son and the God of Love. (4)

34. “Sun” in Spanish. (3)

37. Both Romeo & Juliet ______ at the end of the play. (3)

Exercise 8 THEMES
Los temas en esta obra son tan vigentes hoy en día como en la época de Shakespeare. Uno de los temas principales es como el ODIO puede generar la VIOLENCIA
HATRED1 & VIOLENCE & CONFLICT In the original play, the two families, the Capulets and the Montagues have hated each other for many years. It is this hatred which leads to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. There are many examples in the 21st century of how HATRED between different groups – religious, political, racial, ethnic, etc – has caused violence, wars, death and destruction. For example, we have the Israelis and the Palestinians. Read this newspaper article below and do the comprehension exercise. (Este artículo resalta las dificultades vividos por los matrimonios mixtos (judío - musulmán) en Israel y Cisjordania. Léelo con atención y luego haz el ejercicio de comprensión )
Israeli-Palestinian Couple Fight Israeli Restrictions
They have been called the Romeo and Juliet of the Middle East: Osama Zatar and Jasmin Avissar resemble the lovers in Shakepeare’s play as they too have been separated, but this time not by their families but by a wall – the vast concrete wall that Israel has erected between their home towns.

Ms Avissar, an Israeli Jew, and Mr Zatar, a Palestinian Muslim, met while working together at an animal shelter near the border between Jerusalem and Ramallah, the West Bank capital now totally closed off by a five-metre concrete wall, watchtowers and razor wire. She is a ballet dancer and he a sculptor. But although they married two years ago, he cannot travel to Israel to be with his wife. After a Supreme Court ruling2 upheld a ban3 on Palestinians living in the Jewish State with their Israeli spouses4, Ms Avissar (25) is forbidden5 to bring her husband to Israel to live as a couple. “We pray to God that it will work out but I have given up6 hoping. I am leaving it to fate7,” Mr Zatar said.

The court’s decision, criticised as racist by human rights groups, allows only Palestinian women over 25 and men over 35 to join their spouses. Mr Zatar is 26. Although the couple’s families support their rare cross-community marriage and she can travel into Ramallah on a temporary permit, their future is uncertain because her pass expires8 in a month.

“All we want is the right to live together as a married couple,” said Ms Avissar, who crosses an Israeli checkpoint almost daily to work as a waitress in a Jerusalem cafe, before returning to Ramallah in the evening. “After the Supreme Court’s decision a lot of couples will have to move out of Israel altogether, or live apart.”

Ms Avissar’s father, Menachem (63) said: “I feel betrayed1 by my country. It is cancelling a basic right2 of a citizen to build a home and to create a family.” (© The Times, London. 17 May, 2006)

1. Israel and the West Bank are divided by a) an electrocuted fence OR b) a high concrete wall.

2. The Israeli law forbids Mr Zatar a) to live in Israel. OR b) to live in the Palestinian West Bank.

3. Ms Avissar, the Jewish wife, is currently a) living in Ramallah and working in Jerusalem OR b) living in Jerusalem and working Ramallah.

4. The young wife only has authorisation to stay with her husband a) for one month OR b) for one year.

5. Israeli law separates married couples who are a) both Israelis b) both Palestinians c) Israeli & Palestinian.


  • Why do you think the Israeli authorities built a wall between Jerusalem and Ramallah?

  • The two peoples (the Israeli Jews and the Muslim Palestinians) live very closely together but have been at war for many years. Do you think there is a chance of peace between them? If so, how will peace be established?

  • The strong love we observe between the young couple in the article gives us hope that their story will end happily and that they will be able to live together. Do you think that love can conquer all or do you think that, like Romeo and Juliet, their fate is decided and it can only end in tragedy?

MORE THEMES FOR DISCUSSION (Teachers: best discussed AFTER seeing the play)
LOVE There are different types of love present in the play...

  • LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Romeo and Juliet fall in love immediately and they soon decide to marry.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you know of any examples?

  • TRAGIC LOVE. Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed lovers”3 and their love is destined to end in tragedy.

Can you give other examples of tragic love from real life, from fiction, film, television?

  • FORBIDDEN LOVE. Romeo and Juliet know that their love is forbidden. Perhaps it makes their love more passionate, stronger. Give more examples of forbidden love from film, music, TV, etc.

  • MATERNAL LOVE. In this play, the maternal love is expressed by the Nurse (who loves Juliet like a daughter) and not by Juliet’s mother, who seems cold, distant and authoritative.

LOVE AND HATE It has often been said that love and hate, although opposites, are also very closely related. Love can quickly turn to hate. Some say you can only hate the ones you love. Can love exist without hate? Can hate exist without love? Discuss.
TRAGEDY and FATE At the beginning of the play we learn that both Romeo and Juliet are going to die. Their tragic fate is a lesson Shakespeare wants to teach us. At the end of the original play when Lord Capulet and Lord Montague find the dead bodies of their children, the men shake hands and make peace (LORD CAPULET: Oh brother Montague, give me thy hand) finally understanding that violence is not the answer. Their children’s deaths were a cruel lesson indeed.

- Lingua-Arts’ “Romeo & Juliet” is full of examples of violence: Benny is involved in violent demonstrations, Romeo’s brother is killed by the police, Juliet’s uncle is killed by a terrorist bomb, Tobias murders Marty, Romeo kills Tobias, and then the two young lovers kill themselves. From your own experience, can you give examples of religious, political, racial or ethnic violence?

- Shakespeare wrote about this kind of violence 400 years ago. Do you think things have changed since then? Has violence increased since Shakespeare’s day? Are we more civilised than in Shakespeare’s day? Does human nature progress?

- Who is to blame4 for Romeo and Juliet’s death? After you see the play, make your decision. Perhaps Tobias is to blame for challenging Romeo, who clearly did not want to fight him. Or maybe Marty/ Mercutio is culpable for not following Romeo's example. Or was it the situation of violence and hatred in the society they lived in? Or, perhaps, Romeo and Juliet were victims of FATE and no-one can to be held responsible?

PARENTS and their CHILDREN We can see how Juliet’s mother dominates and tries to control her daughter’s life. In the original version, her parents want her to marry someone she does not know. In the Lingua-arts’ version, her mother orders her to leave the country and study in the United States. These are big life decisions, but Juliet’s mother does not ask her daughter’s opinion.

Discuss the following:

  • Children are often victim of their parents’ decisions.

  • Children do not always understand that they sometimes need parental advice and guidance.

  • Parents forget that they were young once too.


Friendship is very important in this play. After you have seen it, list the numbers of friendships you see between the characters. Who do you see as true friends? Who do you see as friends who are not true?

The story of Romeo and Juliet is everywhere in our culture. There are numerous references to Shakespeare's “star-crossed lovers” in the media and film, from Brazilian soap operas to American TV publicity. The term "Romeo" is a euphemism for a Don Juan or "ladies man". It is also the name of England football star David Beckham's younger son. The story of Romeo and Juliet has inspired the following:

  • the stage name of teenage rap artist and actor, 'Lil Romeo (born August 1989)

  • songs by Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, Rick Astley, Radiohead and Tom Waits, etc

  • a ballet by Prokofiev

  • a classical musical piece by Tchaikovsky

  • a musical play for stage and film, “West Side Story”

  • inspired books such as Joan Lingard's “Across the Barricades”, a 16-year old Protestant girl, Sadie Jackson, falls in love with Kevin McCoy, a Catholic boy during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

  • two punk theatre versions: Punk Side Story is a mock musical soundtrack which adapts the songs of the original “West Side Story” into a punk rock style. “Tromeo and Juliet” (1995, Lloyd Kaufman) a violent movie with Lemmy from the band Motorhead as Narrator.

  • Many films have been inspired by Shakespeare’s play:

- William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann (1998)

- Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1968)

- Romeo Must Die, directed by Andrej Barthowiak (2000)

- Shakespeare in Love, directed by John Maddeck (1998)
- Romeo is bleeding, directed by Peter Medak (1993)

- Mississippi Masala, directed by Mira Nair (1991)

- Jungle Fever, directed by Spike Lee (1991)

- Rooftops, directed by Robert Wise (1989)

- China Girl, directed by Abel Ferrara (1987)

- West Side Story, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (1961)


TEACHERS: Two very good, yet very different, films to show your students are the versions by Luhrmann and Zeffirelli. (If you do not have time, show the films from the opening titles up the masked ball.) Ask students to make notes for each film about: Set/setting (ambientación) ; Music/soundtrack ; Costumes/clothes, Characters.

After they see Lingua-Arts play, ask students to compare our stage version to other film. Ask why they think:

  • there are fewer characters.

  • some characters’ names been changed.

  • Mercutio becomes a girl (Marty) in our version.

  • there are original extracts in old English mixed with modern scenes in modern English.

  • Spanish is included.

If students were making their own film version of Romeo & Juliet, where and when would they set it? / how much of Shakespeare's text would they cut / keep? / how would they introduce us to the characters? / what difficulties are involved in updating a 400-year old play for modern (teenage) audiences?

And finally, ask students to see if they can find references to Shakespeare's “star-crossed lovers” in:
magazines / advertisements / TV commercials/ books / films / song lyrics, etc.

Exercise 2: PAGE 5
1. better 2. headache 3. devastated 4. reliable 5. kidnap 6. arrangements 7. flight

8. take 9. determined 10. rumour 11. danger 12. going

Exercise 4: PAGE 7
Exercise 5: PAGE 8
JULIET: Morning, Tobias.

TOBIAS: Good morning, cousin. And how are you, this morning?

JULIET: Fine, fine.

TOBIAS: Great. (pause)

JULIET: Did you want something, Tobias?

TOBIAS: No, nothing. I saw you leave the house really early and I thought something might be wrong.

JULIET: No, nothing’s wrong.

TOBIAS: So why did you get up so early? It’s not like you.

JULIET: I couldn’t sleep, that’s all. Anyway, I have to do some studying. I’ve got an exam tomorrow.

TOBIAS: Oh? Which one?

JULIET: French.

TOBIAS: Ah, oui, le français. Ah, Juliet, ma belle cousine.

JULIET: So anyway, I really have to get to work.

TOBIAS: I can take a hint. You want me to leave, right?

JULIET: Sorry. I’ll see you later, then… (Tobias grabs her hair) Tobias, what are you doing? Let me go! You’re hurting me!

TOBIAS: You think I’m blind, eh? And stupid? Stay away from him, Juliet. You see him again and he’s dead, you understand? Remember what happened to his brother.

Exercise 8: page 11 comprehension check 1. b) 2. a) 3. a) 4. a) 5. c)




7. ETA



12. VAIN

13. SAVE


19. THIS



24. PEN

25. ANA

26. FÉ


30. TIE

32. ON

33. ODES

35. OR

36. MADE

38. NO


40. OVER





4. RUN

5. ICE

6. GAS

10. ON

11. NIL

14. AH



17. LIE


21. AGES

23. IN

26. FINA


29. DOFF

31. EROS

34. SOL

37. DIE


(more words and phrases found in “Romeo & Juliet”)

authorities - autoridades

awake - despierto

Be careful! - ¡Ten cuidado!

bodyguard - guardaespaldas

boring - aburrido

brains - cerebro

broadcast - emisión de radio o televisión

cemetery - cementerio

citizen - ciudadano

condemned - condenado

crap - basura, tonterías

crazy - loco

danger - peligro

dangerous - peligroso

deaf - sordo

demonstration - manifestación

drugs - drogas

duty - deber

eye-witness - testigo presencial

fault - culpa

gentle - tierno, dulce

ghost - fantasma

Give it a rest! - ¡Corta el rollo!

in cold blood - en sangre fría

independence - independencia

It’s bound to… - Es inevitable que

kidnapping - secuestro

knife fight - pelea con cuchillos

lips - labios

lover - amante

marriage - matrimonio

masks - máscaras

mausoleum - mausoleo

moron - cretino

news-flash - noticia de última hora

noise - ruido

plenty - mucho(s), bastante(s)

politics - la política

pretty - guapa

prison - cárcel

relative - pariente

religion - la religión

safe - seguro

saved - salvado

scene - escenario

separatist - separatista

serious - grave, serio

seriously - gravemente

tension - nerviosismo

to arrest - arrestar

to beat up - dar una paliza

to believe - creer

to belong - pertenecer

to catch - coger, detener

to die - morir

to disappear - desaparecer

to dream - soñar

to fail - fracasar, no lograr

to hang out with - salir con (amigos)

to hypnotise - hipnotizar

to incite - incitar (por ejemplo, la violencia)

to interrupt – interrumpir

to invite - invitar

to issue a statement - hacer una declaración

to kidnap - secuestrar

to kill - matar

to leave alone - dejar en paz

to lie - mentir

to question - interrogar

to stab - apuñalar

to throw - tirar

to torture - torturar

to wake up - despertar

to wound - herir

ugly - feo

1 set = ambientado

2 committed = perpetrado

3 to fight = luchar

1 to argue = discutir

2 demonstration = manifestación

3 to be against = estar en contra

4 dreams = sueños

5 to fall in love = enamorarse

6 to make fun of = tomar el pelo de

7 figment of the imagination = una fantasía

8 cousin = primo

9 to punish = castigar

10 marriage = matrimonio

11 to change his mind = cambiar de idea

12 pave the way = allanar el camino

1 to warn = avisar

2 to be determined = estar resuelto, decidido

3 to get married = casarse

4 a fight = una pelea

5 to murder = asesinar

6 to seek revenge = buscar venganza

1 hatred = odio / to hate = odiar

2 a ruling = fallo, decisión

3 ban = prohibición

4 spouses = esposos / esposas

5 to forbid = prohibir

6 to give up = dejar de

7 fate = destino

8 to expire = caducar

1 to betray = traicionar

2 a right = un derecho

3 star-crossed lovers = son amantes cuyo destino ya esta marcado

4 to blame = culpar

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