How to revise Romeo and Juliet? Watch

je.nnas
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One of the plays I have to study for lit is Romeo and Juliet - I've watched the film and attempted to read through the text, but I just don't understand a word of it!
does anyone know any way of revising that will help me understand the old English language more so that the play will make sense to me?
Thank you!
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Lit teacher
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Get a decent revision guide. Part of the question will ask you about characters or themes. You can read about these in the guide and answer without needing to understand the language.

It helps to look closely at the punctuation. Although much of the play is written like poetry, in lines of 10 syllables, this has nothing to do with the meaning of the lines. Find the start of a sentence and read through until you get to a full stop, without pausing at the end of a line. Compare the two versions below.


Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp. Her eye in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand
That I might touch that cheek!

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, having some business, do entreat her eyes to twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp.

Her eye in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek!

Lastly, don't panic. You won't be asked to translate a piece of text. As long as you know the plot you can just focus on a small number of examples from the text to analyse. For example, in the extract above you could write a paragraph to explain how Juliet is compared to stars. Romeo thinks she would outshine the stars, showing how much in love he is with her beauty.

(You can also look at some of the main scenes on a website like this, which gives the text in a modern version! http://nfs.sparknotes.com/romeojuliet/page_78.html)
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