January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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Romeo & Juliet Tragedy Cornell Notes


Tragedy vs. Comedy *A tragedy is a narrative about serious and important actions that end unhappily, usually with the deaths of the main characters. *In some tragedies, the disaster hits totally innocent characters; in others the main characters are in some ways responsible for their downfall.


Shakespeare’s tragic plays typically follow a 5-part pattern.



Establishes the setting

Introduces some of the main characters

Explains the background of the story

Reader learns the main conflict


Rising Action 

Series of complications

These occur as the main characters take action to resolve their problems


Crisis or Turning Point 

Moment when choice made by the main characters determines the direction of the action

This is either upward to a happy ending (COMEDY) or downward to a unhappy ending (TRAGEDY)

The turning point is the dramatic and tense moment when the forces of conflict come together


Falling Action 

Events that result from the action taken at the turning point

This usually locks the characters deeper and deeper into disaster

With each event, we see the characters falling straight into tragedy (It may even anger you as a reader, but you can’t do anything about it! Boo hoo…)


Climax & Resolution 

This occurs at the end of the play

Usually in a tragedy, with the play ends with the death of the main characters

In the resolution, all loose parts of the plot are tied up and the play is over.


Guided Question #1 Sentence frames to help…but you really don’t need them! Trust me. 

A tragic event that has occurred in my life would be _______________.

I recall this event to be _____________________________________.

At that time, I thought/felt/reacted _____________________________.

Looking back on this, I believe _______________________________.


Background Info. on Romeo and Juliet 1.

Most of Shakespeare’s plays are based on stories that were already well-known to his audiences.


Romeo and Juliet was based on a long narrative poem by Arthur Brooke in 1562.


A story about “star crossed lovers” doomed to disaster by FATE. People of this era believed their birthday determined the course of their lives, but Shakespeare revises the play to which Romeo and Juliet make their own decisions that lead to their own disasters.


Guided Question #2 

Do this on your own without the help of sentence frames. YOU CAN DO IT!

Sample response by a student from last year:

I don’t really believe in fate due to my cynical mindset. People control their own destinies. It depends on how they plan to deal with the events during the course of their lives. One may be put into a complex situation, but it may be a cause and effect situation. One’s ancestors may have caused or contributed to something in the past, such as status in society, and one must either accept it or change it. As the saying goes, “You are your own disaster.” It’s what one makes of life that counts.


Time to AGREE or DISAGREE about ….LOVE! 

Put these Cornell Notes into your Current Work section of your English binder.

Write your name on the half sheet that I give to you in class.

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