This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at themes in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Works of literature always deal with multiple themes. Those which are obvious may obscure for a little while the very subtle. Themes interact with one another so that it can be misleading to talk of a single theme in isolation. Setting, character, plot and dialogue are all important means of developing the themes of a text. Pay close attention to concepts and ideas which arise in different parts of the text; these are its dominant themes. Differing aspects of these themes are developed through different characters and comparing these aspects is a useful method of analysis.
Follow the development of a theme over the course of a text by paying attention to related ideas and the different ways in which these are expressed.
When you prepare to write about themes, check whether your view at the beginning of a text matches the view you have when you finish reading. Have your ideas changed? If so, challenge yourself to identify exactly when and where in the text your views on that theme began to change.
The themes of a text offer a link through which the author communicates meaning to the audience. Hopefully the audience will be prompted to reconsider its beliefs and ways of looking at the world. If a text makes you think, the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of its themes. Your views might not always be shared with other readers; you might even find that you disagree strongly with these readers (or maybe your teacher). You shouldn’t worry, of course, because your response to a text will be deeply personal. This personal response is inevitable when you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration as you read.
Romeo and Juliet deals with themes of violence, hatred, the conflict between age and youth, gender and authority, the weight of familial expectation, and love in its various guises, including that of friendship, as well as courtly, passionate and familial loves. These themes are interrelated and several multi-dimensional characters contradict first impressions of how they relate to a particular theme.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of Romeo and Juliet.