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Types of Love in Romeo and Juliet

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Types of Love in Romeo and Juliet (
Plays/Scenes Covered
Romeo and Juliet (Students should have completed acts 1 and 2.)
What’s On for Today and Why

After the students have read the first two acts of Romeo and Juliet, they are ready to examine one of the major themes of the play: love kills. When the students first begin the play, they think of Romeo and Juliet in terms of romantic love only, but there are many other kinds of love present in the play that often prove deadly. In this lesson students will list and define various kinds of love, examine the characters and their relationships in terms of the kinds of love they represent, and find textual examples to illustrate these kinds of love throughout the play.


This lesson will take one block period, but may be extended.

What To Do

1. In a large group discussion, students will brainstorm the types of love they see represented by characters in the first two acts of the play. These should include:

a. unrequited love: Romeo for Rosaline, Paris for Juliet

b. romantic love: Romeo and Juliet
c. parental love: Lord and Lady Capulet for Juliet, Lord and Lady Montague for Romeo, Nurse for Juliet
d. friendship: Romeo and Benvolio, Romeo and Mercutio, Romeo and Friar Laurence, Nurse and Juliet
e. love of family honor: Tybalt, Mercutio, Romeo

2. Assign students in pairs or small groups and direct them to the text of the play to find and cite examples that illustrate each of these types of love; review proper citation form. For example, Romeo's crush on Rosaline could be illustrated by the lines, "She has forsworn to love, and in that vow / Do I live dead that live to tell it now" (1.1.231-2).


3. When they have found a number of examples from acts one and two, have the students share their findings with the class by reading them aloud and providing line citations for each category of love.


4. At the end of the lesson, it is important to emphasize what is coming in the play. Six characters will die; all will die from love. The Prince states at the end of the play: "See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, / that Heaven finds means to kill your joys with love," (5.3.302-3). As the students complete the play, they should continue to add any other types of love they discover. For example, love of self becomes very important for both Tybalt and Mercutio in 3.1; it may also motivate the fears behind Juliet's soliloquy in 4.3.

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