Suicide in Romeo and Juliet

“O my love, my wife,

Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,

Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.”     [Romeo—5.3.92-93]


Created by Ms. McCandlish

English Department

Christopher Columbus High School

Bronx, New York

Spring 2004




        Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet presents a tragic tale of young love that ends in dual suicides.  Romeo first takes his life when he wrongly believes Juliet has killed herself during his banishment.  When Juliet awakes she finds both Romeo and Paris dead, and so she too claims her life: “O, happy dagger, This is they sheath.  There rust, and let me die” (5.3.174-175).

Suicide is still a major cause of death affecting teenagers like Romeo and Juliet.  What could have been done to prevent Romeo and Juliet’s suicides?  In your groups, you will research ways to prevent suicide for troubled teens.





Your group will study the problem of suicide as it affects today’s teenagers. Using the TIPS Public Policy Analyst you will develop specific suggestions for policies that might better deal with this problem. Your report should bring about solutions that could have saved Romeo and Juliet from their tragic deaths.




(1)                    In your groups, complete all 6 TIPS PPA worksheets.

(2)                    You will also complete at least a six-panel PowerPoint presentation that determines the causes and proposes solutions to solve the problem of teenage suicide.  Use quotes and statistics from the websites listed in the resources section.  Specifically propose ways you could have saved Romeo and Juliet from their tragic deaths.



(Write the answers to the worksheets on your own separate paper, to be turned in for a grade with the research paper!)


1.    Begin by defining the problem the social problem presented to you in the introduction.

*    Worksheet #1


2.    Gather the evidence from the websites below about teenage suicide.

*    Worksheet #2


3.    Identify the causes of teenage suicide.

*    Worksheet #3


4.    Evaluate the policy.  What are the current methods used to prevent teen suicide?

*    Worksheet #4


5.    Develop solutions.  What new solutions can your team propose to confront the problem of teenage suicide?

*    Worksheet #5


6.    Select the best policy. What is the best specific policy to combat teenage suicide?  This is a new policy that your group creates themselves!

*    Worksheet #6









(Use quotes and statistics from at least three websites to write your five-paragraph essay. Be sure to include those sources in your bibliography page!)


AVOID PLAGIARISM!  Put research into own words or use quotations.


*    Consult the TIPS website for further information about the Public Policy Analyst steps:


Websites to Research:

“Suicide and Suicide Prevention”


“AAP—Preventing Teen Suicide”


“Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide”


“Suicide: Read this First”


“American Foundation for Suicide Prevention”





Evaluation Rubrics:


PowerPoint Presentation



A (5)

B (4)

C (3)

D (2)

F (1)

Meaning &


-Excellent use of facts, quotes, and statistics from websites.

-Fully developed PowerPoint slides that follow task.

-Very good demonstration of quotes and statistics from the web.

-Well-developed PowerPoint slides that follow task.

-Average use of quotes and statistics from websites.

-Average development PowerPoint slides that follow task.

-Poor or incorrect use of quotes and statistics from websites.

-Poor development PowerPoint slides that follow task.

-No use of quotes and statistics or plagiarized from websites.

-No development

-Less than 6 slides


-Excellent focus.

-PowerPoint organization perfectly follows task.

-Very strong focus.

-PowerPoint organization appropriately follows task.


-Average focus.

-Average organization of PowerPoint

-Some awareness of task.

-Lacks focus.

-PowerPoint lacks organization and awareness of task.

-No focus.

-No organization.

-No awareness of task.




-Excellent vocabulary.

-Varies sentence structure and length.


-Strong vocabulary.

-Good variety of sentences.


-Average vocabulary.

-Average variety of sentences.


-Poor vocabulary.

-Poor variety of sentences.


-No attention to vocabulary usage.

-No variety in sentence structure.



6-step Public Policy Analyst (PPA) format followed perfectly.

PPA format mostly followed.

PPA format followed


Little or confused understanding of PPA format.

No use of PPA format.




A= 18-20    B =15-17    C=12-14     D=8-11       F=4-7



English Language Arts Standards:




Read twenty-five books of the quality and complexity illustrated in the sample reading list.


Read and comprehend informational materials.




Produce a report of information.


Produce a persuasive essay.


Speaking, Listening, and Viewing


Participate in one-to-one conferences with the teacher.


Participate in group meetings.


Prepare and deliver an individual presentation.


Conventions, Grammar, and Usage of the English Language


Independently and habitually demonstrate an understanding of the rules of the English
language in written and oral work.


Analyze and subsequently revise work to improve its clarity and effectiveness.


Public Documents


Critique public documents with an eye to strategies common in public discourse.


Produce public documents.


Functional Documents


Critique functional documents with an eye to strategies common to effective functional documents.


Produce functional documents appropriate to audience and purpose.



Applied Learning:

Information Tools and Techniques


Gather information to assist in completing project work.


Use on-line sources to exchange information for specific purposes.


Use word-processing software to produce a multi-page document.


Write, add content to, and analyze a relational data base.

Tools and Techniques for Working With Others


Participate in the establishment and operation of self-directed work teams.




Putting Mathematics to Work


Data study.






Congratulations!  Upon your successful completion of this web quest, you have researched and analyzed the social problem of teenage suicide using the TIPS Public Policy Analyst guidelines.  Through this web quest, you analyzed the causes and effects of suicide on teenagers.  Your group reviewed current public policy solutions to prevent teenage suicide. You have learned to develop a PowerPoint presentation using websites for evidence and information to complete your task. 

        Hopefully, you all developed some creative solutions to prevent teen suicide.  Perhaps your solutions would also help save Romeo and Juliet so that they could have lived together happily ever after rather than ending their lives in tragedy.