Romeo and Juliet Crash Course - Part 1: Social and Historical Context

August 16, 2020
SAC Tutoring

Social Context

  • The play was written in the 1500s but is set in the 1300s
  • In the 1300s it was common for young girls to marry from ages twelve to fourteen
  • Marriage was usually a political alliance, rather than for love
  • Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride
  • The young girls would have to ‘court’ the suitors to get to know them better or to see fit they are a good match
  • Suitors were men that are interested in a certain girl, and they were typically much older than the potential bride
  • The purpose of marriage was to increase wealth and to birth children
  • The role of women in a marriage is to birth children and serve the husband obediently
  • Women would usually marry at age twelve and give birth the year after.

Historical Context

  • Shakespeare wrote this play to highlight the tragedy and comedy that can come from romance
  • At the time Shakespeare wrote this play, men would play the female characters, so young boys would have played Juliet
  • In Shakespeare’s time, the demand for play was not so high, as there were usually travelling performers who would perform on the streets
  • However, Shakespeare revolutionized the way theater was performed by writing out scripts that were to be performed in theaters
  • Romeo and Juliet was one of the first play Shakespeare wrote and produced, so it had a great impact on the civilians who watched and loved theater
  • Shakespeare wrote the play because he found that it was common for lovers to complain about the problems they’re faced with that forced them to separate from each other
  • In response to this, Shakespeare wrote the play to explain the worst possible situation lovers could find themselves in.

That concludes part 1 of our Romeo and Juliet Crash Course! Stay tuned for the next installment.

For more study tips and tricks, check out our other blog posts on our website.

For more personalized advice, try out our trial classes!

Study smarter, not harder, with SAC!