Junior Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Home learning focus

Learn how to analyse Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

This lesson includes:

  • three videos

  • three activities

Learn

William Shakespeare grew up in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. His family were rich so he went to a good school and grew up to be a playwright. He wrote different types of plays – histories, tragedies and comedies.

Watch this video to learn more about William Shakespeare, including where he came from and how he became famous.

Watch this video to discover more about the life of William Shakespeare.

One of Shakespeare's most famous plays is a tragedy called Romeo and Juliet. Watch the animation below, and then read the plot summary underneath:

An animated version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

A summary of Romeo and Juliet

Two powerful families, the Montagues and the Capulets, in Verona in Italy have been feuding for so long that they can’t remember why they started fighting in the first place!

Two teenage members of the families, Romeo (Montague) and Juliet (Capulet), fall in love at a party, but have to keep it a secret because of their feuding families. They even get married without telling them!

In a street fight Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) kills Mercutio (Romeo’s close friend). In revenge Romeo kills Tybalt and he is banished from Verona.

Aided by Friar Laurence, Juliet plans to rejoin Romeo and a scheme is hatched to convince everyone that she has died.

She sends a letter to Romeo to tell him of the plan, but her message never reaches him. Romeo finds Juliet and she appears lifeless. Thinking she really is dead, Romeo kills himself. Juliet wakes up, finds Romeo lying beside her and takes her own life.

Finally, the two families are reunited, due to the tragic events.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Check your understanding. Can you order the key events in Shakespeare’s life?

Activity 2

Think about the ending of the Romeo and Juliet - could it have finished differently?

At the ending of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet fakes her death and lies in a tomb waiting for Romeo so they can run away together. Romeo doesn't receive the message, so thinks Juliet has actually died. He goes to Verona and sees Juliet in her tomb, thinking she is dead. He drinks poison and she wakes up to discover Romeo is dead. Juliet kills herself with his dagger.

The Capulet and Montague families vow never to argue again.

Write an alternative ending for the story from the point where Romeo is banished from Verona.

Top tip!

Remember! You can always go back and watch the video again OR read the summary of the play if you need help.

Activity 3

Watch this video for a more detailed look at the play. Listen carefully to the task at the end of the video!

Actors performing Romeo and Juliet.

Can you create a news report for the Newsround website about Romeo and Juliet?

You will need to give the background behind Romeo and Juliet's story. Talk about the feuding families, and don't forget an eye-catching, snappy headline.

Remember: It's like writing a newspaper article but will be read online. Refresh your memory about newspapers with this Features of a neswpaper guide from Bitesize.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt how to analyse Romeo and Juliet.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about writing plays:

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