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Lesson Plan #: AELP-LIT0207
Submitted by: Travis Vanest
Email: travisvanest@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: White’s High School, Wabash, IN

March 1, 2001

Grade Level: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Language Arts/Literature

Duration: 2 days

Description: In pairs, students develop a list of objects that symbolize personality traits of a character from Romeo and Juliet . Students collect at least five objects for each character. During the second class session, students take turns trying to decipher which character is being symbolized.


  • Students will be able to conceptualize characters’ personality traits.
  • Students will be able to comprehend symbolism.
  • Objectives:

  • In pairs, students will be able to create a list of personality traits of a character from Romeo and Juliet .
  • In pairs, students will identify objects that can be used to symbolize the personality traits of their assigned characters.
  • Materials:

    • Zip-lock bags (1 for each student)
    • objects to be used as symbols (students will bring these in)
    • writing utensils
    • Romeo and Juliet Character Hunt Worksheets
    • Worksheets in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

      Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.


  • Symbol – An object which represents or stands for an idea, quality, or person.
  • Symbolism – The practice of representing things using symbols.
  • Procedure:
    Day 1:
    Divide the class into pairs; assign each pair a character from Romeo and Juliet . Outline the entire activity for students as to time frame, objectives, and requirements. In class today, each pair will brainstorm a list of objects that can be used to symbolize the various personality traits of their assigned character. Each pair should come up with at least five objects (but no more than seven). After a list has been compiled, each pair splits up the list of small objects to be collected (this can be used as a homework assignment). Give each student a Zip-lock bag to take home (to collect the items in).

    Examples of symbolism :
    Romeo: In many instances he made hurried decisions, so a student could use a watch to represent that trait. He also loved easily and deeply; a student could use a cheap Valentine’s gift to represent that. Romeo was a risk-taker, going to parties to which he was not invited and jumping over enemy walls. A can of Mountain Dew, since the commercials are all about risk-taking, could represent this trait. Furthermore, Romeo wept and whined easily, especially after he discovered he was to be banished. A tissue would symbolize this trait in him quite well. Lastly, Romeo was a peacemaker, even before he knew Juliet. A necklace of a peace sign, or even a peace sign drawn on paper, would make a good symbol for this.

    Mercutio: He was a very funny and sarcastic character. A jokebook could symbolize this trait in him. He was also easily angered by Romeo’s attempts at making peace and by Romeo doting over Rosaline and Juliet. A student could bring in a picture of an angry person to represent this trait. Also, Mercutio wanted to be with Romeo and spend time with him. A magnet might symbolize this characteristic in him. Moreover, he was excellent with language, especially in the Queen Mab speech. A pocket dictionary or a spelling list would represent this trait well. Finally, Mercutio was a friend to Romeo, loyal at all times. A friendship bracelet would be a good symbol for him.

    Day 2:
    The partners take all of their collected objects from their bags and combine them into one bag. Students write their names on the outside of the bags. The bags are passed around the room from one pair to the next. Students remove the contents of the bag, look at each item, and reach a decision as to which character is being represented. On their charts (see Materials ), students record the names of each pair along with their guess of which character is being symbolized. After each bag has been looked at, then all bags are returned to their owners. Students take turns telling the class who their objects were meant to represent and what character trait each object symbolized. The rest of the class checks to see how many characters they accurately identified. Assessment: As a homework assignment, have students write a short essay about their assigned character and the qualities that character possesses.

    Special Comments: I generally tell students not to bring in something that they would hate to have broken or lost, since there is always a possibility, that in the passing around of things, something could happen.