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Romeo and Juliet – Alternative Endings Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-LIT0209
Submitted by: Lauren Stom
Email: laurenstom@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Endorsed by: Dr. Reinbold
             University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Date: August 28, 2002

Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Language Arts/Literature

Duration: 1-2 class sessions

Description: During this lesson, students will finish reading the play, Romeo and Juliet . Students will compare the ending to the ending in the modern movie of Romeo and Juliet (Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes). The students’ creativity will be tested when they have to brainstorm alternative endings to the play.


  • Students will complete the reading of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet .
  • Students will be able to summarize the ending of the play, Romeo and Juliet .
  • Objectives:

  • Students will be able to compare and contrast the original Romeo and Juliet to that of the modern movie version.
  • Working in groups, students will brainstorm four alternative endings to Romeo and Juliet .
  • Individually, students will be able to write an alternative ending to Romeo and Juliet in play form with dialogue.
  • Materials:

    • television and VCR
    • copies of Romeo and Juliet
    • movie: Romeo and Juliet with Claire Danes and Leonardo Dicaprio
    • paper
    • pencils/pens

    As an attention getter, ask students if they have ever watched a movie and disliked the ending. Ask students for the name of the movie, how it ended, and why they didn’t like the ending. Inform students that they will have an opportunity to re-write the ending of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet .

    Review what students have read so far. [ Author’s Note: The students have already read the first four acts of Romeo and Juliet .] Read Act V Scene iii with the roles of the characters assigned to the students. Discuss what happens in the scene. Watch the modern movie’s version of the scene to see the differences between the modern version of Romeo and Juliet and the original text. Ask students to point out some of the differences that they noticed between the two versions. (Examples: 1. In the modern movie Romeo kills himself with a gun rather than a knife. 2. In the modern movie, when they were in the tomb, Romeo and Juliet glanced at each other for a second and realized that there had been a mix-up.) Ask students which version they prefer and why.

    Separate the class into groups of four. Have them brainstorm and list four possible alternative endings to the play. One student needs to be a recorder and another student will need to be a reporter. Once everyone has finished, have each group read their favorite alternative ending aloud to the rest of the class. Assessment: Each student will be assigned to re-write the ending of Romeo and Juliet . The ending must be written in play form with dialogue, and the character who is speaking must be identified. Students are permitted to use ideas that they came up with in class, but each student will complete the assignment individually.