Ah, the epic love story of Romeo & Juliet.
We’ve all heard of the two star crossed lovers, heard of the balcony scene, and heard of their tragic deaths.
We’re here to break down this essay prompt for you so that you understand who we’re talking about, and what we’re talking about.
For those who don’t seem to understand Shakespeare as a language, no stress!
If you haven’t checked out our crash course series about Romeo & Juliet, go ahead and check that out on our website!
Define Key Words
Our job is to pick out the most important words in the essay question and figure out what they mean.
This way, we’ll really know what we’re talking about, and we’ll be able to explain it to the assessor.
Eg. 'The blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ultimately rests with Friar Lawrence.' Do you agree?
There are a total of seven important words that we need to deal with and include in our responses.
But first, let’s define them.
Blame: Responsibility for a fault or wrong.
Deaths: The action or fact of dying or being killed
Romeo: One of the two protagonists of the play. He is a playboy, who falls in love very easily. He is a Montague, and falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet. Their love is forbidden, so they marry in secret.
A misunderstanding happens, where Romeo thinks Juliet is dead. He commits suicide, and when Juliet finds his body, she commits suicide, as she cannot imagine a life without Romeo.
Juliet: The female protagonist of the play. She is barely a teenager - she is thirteen - and falls in love with Romeo, a Montague. She is the one who plans to marry in secret with him, and they do so within two days of meeting. When Romeo is banished, she asks Friar Lawrence for a fake poison to fake her death. Romeo, believing she is dead, commits suicide. When Juliet wakes, she commits suicide for real, not wanting to live life without Romeo.
Ultimately: In the end; all together.
Friar Lawrence: Friar Lawrence is from neither houses of Montague or Capulet. He is the one to marry Romeo and Juliet, although he initially refused, as Romeo was in love with Rosaline one day before meeting Juliet. He only married the couple because he thought it would stop the feud between the two houses. Friar Lawrence is the one who gave Juliet the fake poison, which resulted in the misunderstanding between the couple that ended with their deaths.
Segments of the Question
Essay questions usually have more than one chunk, so we need to be able to answer the entire question without leaving anything out.
By using ‘chunking’, you’ll find that you won’t avoid answering the question and going off topic, like many students tend to do when they’re unsure of what they’re being asked.
Let’s have a look at the question:
Eg. ’The blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ultimately rests with Friar Lawrence.' |Do you agree?
Firstly, we need to section off the question.
There are two parts, which have been divided for you.
The first chunk has already been defined.
The second and final chunk of the prompt asks you this, simply put:
Is Friar Lawrence entirely responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
All you need to do now is decide whether you agree that Friar Lawrence is responsible, or disagree.
Now that we’ve broken down the essay prompt, you can go ahead and brainstorm how you’re going to support your contention (point of view).
For VCE, you should aim for at least three arguments to defend your case, but strive for four.
If you guys find that you’re struggling to find solid, fleshed out arguments, check out our crash course blogs, or drop in for a class so you can gain personalised and expert assistance from our tutors.
Study smarter, not harder, with SAC!