Romeo and Juliet

This study guide will help you analyze William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. We give you notes on the play, summaries, background information about the Elizabethan era, and a detailed analysis of popular scenes. We also suggest ways to interpret the play and put it into perspective. Furthermore, we guide you through Shakespeare in relation to the oral exam

Note: A text version of Romeo and Juliet can be found online as well as in various textbooks. While the numbers of acts and scenes are always the same, line numbers may vary depending on the edition. The quotes in this webbook have been taken from the textbook Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare which was written by Bo Høpfner Clausen and Jesper Kaalund, 2017.

Presentation of the text

Title: The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (1597)

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Genre: Drama

Romeo and Juliet is widely considered one of Shakespeare's best plays. We do not know exactly when the play was written, but it is believed to be in the 1590s, during the Elizabethan era. The play was first published in 1597, but this version contained a number of errors compared to the original play. In 1599, a more reliable version was published. 

More help

You can find more information on how to analyze a Shakespeare play in our topic guide about William Shakespeare. You can also read about Shakespeare texts in relation to your SRP or exam. 

William Shakespeare

This topic guide gives you thorough knowledge about the famous English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. We give you a biography of him, explain the Elizabethan era, and offer a glossary of Shakespeare-related terms. We also explain how to analyze his plays, sonnets, dramatic devices, and language in general.

Here you can read an extract from our study guide:

Juliet wakes up from her sleep only minutes after Romeo’s suicide: “Where is my Romeo?” (5.3.50). The lovers thereby come unbearably close to being united. 

Friar Lawrence arrives and realizes that his plan has gone terribly wrong when he discovers the bodies of Paris and Romeo. He wants Juliet to escape to a nunnery: “Come, I’ll dispose of thee / Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.” (5.3.56-57). Becoming a nun would mean that Juliet’s family cannot not marry her off to anyone else, and it would to some extent restore her reputation. 

However, Juliet rejects the Friar’s lifeline and insists on dying with her lover. As she hears guards approaching, she quickly snatches Romeo’s dagger and stabs herself in the chest: “O happy dagger! This is thy sheath, there rust, and let me die.” (5.3.69-70). Juliet’s manner of suicide is much more violent and bloody than Romeo’s. This demonstrates how strong and determined she has become. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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