Romeo and Juliet Activity: Using Music Lyrics to Explore Themes, Imagery, and Symbolism
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has inspired musicians for centuries – from Tchaikovsky’s c. 1870 “Romeo and Juliet” (a.k.a. “Overture-Fantasy”) to Taylor Swift’s 2008 “Love Story.” In this assignment, you’ll compare themes, symbols, and imagery in Romeo and Juliet to your favorite music lyrics and/or music videos.
Step 1: After you’ve read the play, browse through “Themes” and “Symbols.” As you read, decide whether or not you can think of music lyrics that remind you of Romeo and Juliet.
Step 2: Choose a favorite (or not so favorite) song that echoes a theme, symbol, or image from Shakespeare’s play. If you know what tune you want to use, great. Otherwise, check out Shmoop's “Music” section for inspiration. Or, go to Shmoop's “Best of the Web” for links to music inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
Step 3: Once you’ve chosen an appropriate song, use your graphic organizer to compare Romeo and Juliet to your favorite tune.
Step 4: Develop an overall argument about the observations you’ve made and write it at the bottom of your graphic organizer. The overall argument should be an interpretive point that you’ve reached after performing analysis of the text and the music lyrics. (See the example we provide in the graphic organizer.)
Step 5: Share your music and ideas with your classmates and teacher.