Putting Romeo and Juliet in context: a summary of sources

This summary of sources is a quick and easy way to explore the contexts for Romeo and Juliet – from young love in Shakespeare’s day to sonnets and sleeping potions, and from Brooke’s 1562 poem on Romeus and Juliet to a 21st-century Syrian production.

Ideas for using this resource:

  • Use it as a handy guide to the site’s rich sources on Romeo and Juliet. There’s a link to each of the items, so you can explore them further through fuller descriptions, accessible analysis and vibrant visual images.
  • Divide the sources amongst your group. Each person could highlight the key facts, find relevant quotes from Romeo and Juliet and share their findings with others. Together you could then explore how Shakespeare reflects or challenges the ideas in these sources.
  • Select three of these ideas to weave into an essay on Romeo and Juliet. Raise your grade by showing your understanding of the contexts in which the play was written and received.
  • Project the images onto your screen and use them as a springboard for discussing key themes and questions raised in Romeo and Juliet.
  • Print out the coloured hand-out and use it as a revision guide.