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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Lesson Plans

Students will love creating a Romeo and Juliet storyboard to retell the classic story, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. They can also extend their learning by creating a storyboard for a Shakespeare scene and dive deep into character studies and literary elements, and begin to develop an understanding of the structure of a play. Check out our detailed lesson plan about Romeo and Juliet and activities below for inspiration. These detailed lesson plans and projects are aligned with all four ELA Common Core standards, and can be used as a Romeo and Juliet introduction, and during the entire book study. Storyboard That has provided a Romeo and Juliet storyboard template and a completed example for all activities to give students a starting point.


Student Activities for Romeo and Juliet




Inspire and engage students with the epic story by William Shakespeare with Storyboard That's Romeo and Juliet lesson plan. Romeo and Juliet is often the first Shakespeare play students are introduced to, and it's one that's constantly being retold. An introduction to Romeo and Juliet can occur in many ways as there are movies, graphic novels and shortened versions of the play available, making the classic tale accessible to all readers!

The tale of feuding families and star-crossed lovers, captivates audiences of all ages and prompts discussions about family, love and free will.

Essential Questions for Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

  1. What is love?
  2. Is there such a thing as "love at first sight?"
  3. Would you go against all your friends and family to follow your heart?
  4. Are our actions determined by fate, by chance, or by our free will?
  5. What are some lessons that we can learn from Romeo and Juliet in today’s world?

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Summary

Please note this summary comprises the Romeo and Juliet full story and therefore contains spoilers!

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is about two star­-crossed lovers from feuding families, who take their own lives. Through a series of unfortunate events, fate and chance turn against the lovers. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, meet at a party thrown by Juliet’s family. Romeo only attends because his friend says it will help Romeo get over a girl, Rosaline. Romeo had loved Rosaline, but she rejected him. When Romeo lays eyes on Juliet, he forgets he ever had other devotions. Later that evening, he sneaks to Juliet’s balcony and professes his love. Juliet, who has also fallen in love with Romeo, asks him to make a serious gesture, to prove his love. He asks her to marry him, and she agrees.

Using Friar Lawrence and Juliet’s Nurse as intermediaries, wedding plans commence. However, Tybalt, a Capulet, goes out in search for the Montagues who crashed the party. A duel ensues, and Romeo’s best friend, Mercutio, is killed, causing Romeo to slay Tybalt. The Prince of Verona had previously warned the quarrelers that if one more disturbance was made, those involved would be put to death. However, because Mercutio was the Prince’s kinsman, Romeo is exiled instead of killed.

Juliet finds out that Romeo has killed her cousin and is devastated, not by the loss of life, but over the banishment of her lover. They again devise a plan to be together, but an obstacle presents itself: Juliet’s father has arranged for her to marry Count Paris in two days time. Friar Lawrence convinces Juliet to take a sleeping potion to appear dead, and promises to send word to Romeo.

The plan is for Romeo to wake her in her tomb, and take her away with him. The plan begins as discussed, however, a dramatic irony unfolds: Romeo does not receive the letter intended for him about the Friar’s plan. Instead, he hears Juliet is dead and decides to enter her grave and take his own life. He goes to an apothecary and purchases poison. When he reaches the tomb, he encounters Paris, who is also there to mourn Juliet. Upset, Romeo kills Paris and enters the tomb, drinking the poison.

Moments later, Juliet awakes and finds Romeo dead. Distraught, she takes the dagger from his belt and stabs herself. In the end, Friar Lawrence confesses the story to the Capulets and Montagues. Knowing that their enmity was the reason for the senseless loss of lives, the two men agree to end their longstanding feud.


About the Author

William Shakespeare is perhaps the most well-known playwright of all time. Born in April of 1564 in a small city in England, little is known about his childhood life. He had two older sisters and three younger brothers, and enjoyed learning about history and poetry in elementary school. When he was older, William married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children.

William was part of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting company in England. He wrote plays and acted for the company, and his plays became very popular in the city. As he became more and more well-known, Shakespeare wrote more and more plays, averaging about a play and a half per year and totalling 37 plays in his lifetime!

Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of 52, but is still known as one of the most influential writers of the English language. His works are the most often quoted, second only to the Bible!


Discussion Questions to Use in Pairs or Groups

These questions may be used during reading, or upon completion of the play. While it is best to get students discussing what they’ve read, these questions can also be answered individually in a reader’s notebook. It is always such a joy to hear the different opinions that students have, even though they are reading the same information!


  1. The Montague and the Capulet families have been feuding for years, yet the audience does not know why. Discuss with your group some possible reasons why they may be fighting for so long. Why do you think Shakespeare chose not to include this information in the play?

  2. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, she goes against her parents’ wishes. Would you have done the same thing? Is it okay for her parents to try to force her to do something she didn’t want to do?

  3. Romeo is very different from the other male characters in the play. In what ways is he different? Be sure to be specific, citing which character and how they are different.

  4. Was the love between Romeo and Juliet actually real, or were they just infatuated with each other? Be sure to give examples from the text to support your answer.

  5. What roles do the Nurse and the Friar play in the relationship between Romeo and Juliet? What roles do they play in the deaths of the two teenagers? Should they be punished? Be sure to explain your reasoning using text evidence.

  6. Who, if anyone, do you think should be punished for Romeo's and Juliet's deaths? Why?

  7. Who is your favorite character in this play? Do you relate to this person? Why did you choose this person? Be sure to give examples from the text to support your answers.

  8. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story that is very commonly taught during the high school years in school. Why do you think this is? How can teenagers relate to their story, even though it was written hundreds of years ago?

  9. Shakespeare wrote all kinds of plays, and chose to write Romeo and Juliet as a tragedy. Explain why it is a tragedy, aside from the obvious reason! What could the families have done different to change the fate of the young lovers?

  10. Think about the books, television shows, and movies that are popular today. Are any of these stories similar to what happened to Romeo and Juliet? Compare and contrast with your group, using examples from the play.


Romeo and Juliet Project Ideas and Romeo and Juliet Activities

Storyboard That is an excellent tool for students to create fun and engaging projects as a culminating activity after finishing a novel or a play. In addition to our premade activities, here are some ideas that teachers can customize and assign to students to spark creativity in individual students, pairs, or small groups for a final project. Several of these ideas include Storyboard That templates that can be printed out or copied into your teacher dashboard and assigned digitally. All final projects can be printed out, presented as a slide show, or, for an extra challenge, as an animated gif!


  1. For Groups: Choose a scene from the play to reenact it to the class. Use the traditional storyboard layout to plan out your scenes. You can add text to your storyboards, or simply use the cells to visualize each scene of your play.

  2. Using the timeline layout, retell the play in chronological order. Our timeline layout gives you the options to include year, month, day, and even hour! You may also choose to omit these altogether.

  3. Choose a setting from the story and create a map of the setting using the small poster or worksheet layout. Use free form or other text boxes to include a key or label the different parts of the map.

  4. Using one of Storyboard That’s board game templates, create a game based on the play for your classmates to play!

  5. For Groups: Divide the scenes of the play amongst your group members. Each member of the group creates a storyboard for their assigned scene. This can be done as a collaborative project, or separately for longer plays and novels.

  6. Using the worksheet layout and Storyboard That’s worksheet assets, create a test or a quiz for other students in the class. You can create all kinds of questions such as multiple choice, short answer, and even matching! When you are done, be sure to make an answer key.

  7. Using one of Storyboard That’s biography poster templates, create a poster about the character of your choice. Be sure to include important biographical features such as: place and date of birth, family life, accomplishments, etc.

  8. Choose a scene from the play and create a storyboard that shows that scene from another character’s point of view. For an extra challenge, use the T-chart layout to compare the original point of view with another character’s point of view!

  9. Create a book jacket of the play using one of Storyboard That’s book jacket templates. Use Storyboard That art to create the cover, and write a summary of the story on the back, just like real books have!

  10. Using one of Storyboard That’s social media templates as a starting point, create a social media page for one or more of the characters in the play. Be sure to think how the character thinks while creating this page.

  11. Create a scrapbook page made by one of the characters in the play. Storyboard That has lots of premade templates that you can use as is, or change to fit your character’s personality! Check out our scrapbook templates today!

Buy Romeo and Juliet on Amazon

Other Plays Written by William Shakespeare



How to Analyze Characters in Romeo and Juliet with Storyboard That

1

Choose a Character

Select a character from Romeo and Juliet that you want to analyze. This could be Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, Tybalt, or any other character that interests you.

2

Gather Information

Read and gather information about the chosen character from the play. Pay attention to their actions, dialogue, relationships, and how they contribute to the overall story.

3

Create a Character Profile

Use Storyboard That's a biography poster template to create a character profile for the chosen character. Include details such as their background, personality traits, relationships, motivations, and key moments in the play.

4

Identify Key Quotes

Select key quotes from the play that highlight the character's traits, emotions, or important moments. Use the storyboard cells to illustrate the scenes or moments associated with each quote.

5

Analyze the Character

Analyze the character's development throughout the play. Consider their strengths, weaknesses, conflicts, and how they change or stay consistent. Use textual evidence from the play to support your analysis.

6

Reflect and Draw Conclusions

Reflect on the character's significance in the play and draw conclusions about their role in the story. Consider their impact on other characters, the themes of the play, and the overall message conveyed through their actions and decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Romeo and Juliet

What are the main themes of Romeo and Juliet?

It is clear that the most important theme of this play is love. Some other themes that are evident throughout the story are family, conflict, and loyalty.

Who are the main characters in Romeo and Juliet?

The main characters are Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. They are in love teenagers from two feuding families. Other main characters in the story are Friar Laurence, the Nurse, Mercutio, and Tybalt.

How did Romeo and Juliet die?

When they realize they cannot live without each other, Romeo and Juliet decide to take poison and take their own lives. Romeo dies, but Juliet simply falls into a coma and eventually wakes up to see Romeo dead next to her. Juliet then stabs herself and dies.

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our English Language Arts Category!
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