Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

  • Editor: Maurice Hunt
  • Pages: xi & 219 pp.
  • Published: 2000
  • ISBN: 9780873527576 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873527583 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Cover

Romeo and Juliet is obviously hospitable to pedagogic discussion: everybody has taught it, everybody has problems teaching it, and yet everybody finds that on some level it is still a satisfying play to teach. This Approaches volume is very smart about its audience, offering practical suggestions for confronting the familiar obstacles that students perennially raise and also providing fresh commentary from recent scholarship and performance.”

—Russ McDonald, author of The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare

Taught widely in high school and college, Romeo and Juliet may be Shakespeare’s most accessible work. Teenagers and young adults identify with the play’s interfamilial conflict, the love story, and the defiance of parental authority. Nevertheless, readers of all ages are often perplexed by the Bard’s poetic language, the “unrealism” of the characters’ eloquence, and the embedded sonnets. Essays in this book address these challenges and others and offer instructors imaginative strategies for dealing with them.

The first part, “Materials,” reviews the most widely used anthologies of Shakespeare’s plays and the many available editions of Romeo and Juliet, as well as background materials for the instructor and recommendations for student reading. The second part, “Approaches,” presents practical ideas for the classroom. A final section describes scenarios for teaching the play through dramatic technique and for using Romeo and Juliet’s many adaptations, including the popular Zeffirelli and Luhrmann films.