This GCSE English Literature quiz is about setting in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The setting of a fictional work includes the location and the time in which events take place. In addition to the events explicitly depicted by a play, other occurrences taking place in the background might have an effect on characters, even if these are only mentioned in passing. These occurrences constitute a key component of a work’s setting, and are known as context (bear in mind the difference between the fictional context of a play’s setting and the author’s real-life context). Atmosphere is another important element of setting and in a play, it is usually very much a product of staging. Some playwrights explicitly describe the atmosphere they wish to be created onstage. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates atmosphere primarily with the language of characters, rather than with stage directions.
Ensure that you spend some time considering the setting of the text you are studying. This is an important step in analysis. How does the world in which the characters live affect the decisions made over the course of the plot? Romeo and Juliet relies on its setting especially for the relative powerlessness of the two protagonists in making decisions for their own futures. The exotic setting also provides a pretext for the young couple’s headlong rush into disaster.
Geographical setting includes country, region and city; the environment, which might be urban or rural; the buildings or other places where events occur; and even the weather or time of day. Do all the events occur in the same place? How specific is the time at which these events occur? Do characters travel, or arrive from elsewhere? Are different settings contrasted with one another? Are different characters associated with different settings? Many of these contrasts are important in Romeo and Juliet
It can be useful sometimes to compare the time a text is set with when it was written. Do these times differ? Can you think of any reasons why an author might choose to set a text in the same time, but in an exotic place? Does this change our understanding of the story? How specific is the setting for Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy?
Answer the questions below on setting in Romeo and Juliet.
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