Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a world of violence and generational conflict in which two young people fall in love and die because of that love. The story is rather extraordinary in that the normal problems faced by young lovers are here so very large. It is not simply that the families of Romeo and Juliet disapprove of the lover's affection for each other; rath...

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Title:Romeo and Juliet
Author:William Shakespeare
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Romeo and Juliet Reviews

  • Bill  Kerwin

    Two things struck me during this re-reading:

    1) From the first scene of the play, the sexual puns are drenched in metaphorical violence (drawing your weapon, laying knife aboard, forcing women to the wall, etc.), creating a stark contrast with the purity of Romeo and Juliet's love and language, and

    2) Mercutio, the Nurse and Old Capulet are something totally new both in Shakespeare and also in English drama, that is, characters who are not only realistic but whose language completely reflects th

    Two things struck me during this re-reading:

    1) From the first scene of the play, the sexual puns are drenched in metaphorical violence (drawing your weapon, laying knife aboard, forcing women to the wall, etc.), creating a stark contrast with the purity of Romeo and Juliet's love and language, and

    2) Mercutio, the Nurse and Old Capulet are something totally new both in Shakespeare and also in English drama, that is, characters who are not only realistic but whose language completely reflects their thought processes to the point where they take on a life of their own. Shakespeare would create many other such characters, but these three are the first.

  • Catriona

    The people who dislike this play are the ones who view common sense over being rational, and prefer to view the world in a structured way. One of the main arguments that come across is the 'meeting, falling in love, and dying all in a weekend when Juliet is but 13'. We all must die in the end, so wouldn't you want to in the name of love than of an awful disease?

    Perhaps the two lovers weren't truly in love, but their last living moments were spent believing so, so what does it matter? How can on

    The people who dislike this play are the ones who view common sense over being rational, and prefer to view the world in a structured way. One of the main arguments that come across is the 'meeting, falling in love, and dying all in a weekend when Juliet is but 13'. We all must die in the end, so wouldn't you want to in the name of love than of an awful disease?

    Perhaps the two lovers weren't truly in love, but their last living moments were spent believing so, so what does it matter? How can one truly know if one is in love? Is it a feeling? In that case, what is a feeling? If you believe you are in love, then you may as well be, contrary to what others might say.

    The argument with the 'weak' plot; Shakespeare didn't invent Romeo and Juliet. It was infact a poem which is constantly being adapted over time. Shakespeare did add in some aspects but the meeting in the ballroom, Tybalts death, the sleeping draught and such were already in the poem.

    I personally love this play, purely because it's an escape from this modern world. I'm not saying I like the treatment of women, nor the fighting, but it's like a different world that i'm never going to experience, and reading it through Shakespeare's gorgeous writing makes Verona seem all the more romantic.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Why didn’t they just run away together? It would have saved a lot of heart ache.

  • Anne

    So, when the story opens, Romeo is desperately in love with Rosaline. But since she

    has sworn to remain chaste, he's all depressed and heartbroken.

    His friends, tired of his constant whining, give him a Beyoncé mixtape.

    He takes her words to heart, and her lyrics begin to mend his broken soul.

    His boys drag his sad ass to a party, and across a crowded room, Romeo spies his next victi

    So, when the story opens, Romeo is desperately in love with Rosaline. But since she

    has sworn to remain chaste, he's all depressed and heartbroken.

    His friends, tired of his constant whining, give him a Beyoncé mixtape.

    He takes her words to heart, and her lyrics begin to mend his broken soul.

    His boys drag his sad ass to a party, and across a crowded room, Romeo spies his next victim...er, his really-really for

    True Love.

    Meet 13 year old Juliet. Who is

    .

    And how old is Romeo? Well, he's old enough to kill Juliet's cousin in a sword fight, so...yeah. Probably

    13.

    But since he's such a punk little pussy - what with the whining, sobbing, and spouting off crap poetry - I'm going to assume he's not

    older than she is and say 15 or 16.

    Tragically, Juliet is a Hatfield, and Romeo is a McCoy. Their families have been feuding over a McCoy pig that was killed during a Hatfield moonshine run decades ago.

    Needless to say, tensions are still running high.

    So.

    They gotta keep their love on the down low.

    And it

    love, dammit! I mean, they've stared at each other a whole bunch, and had,

    ,

    conversations.

    This time around, Romeo isn't going to make the same mistake as before, and let the

    girl of his dreams slip through his fingers...

    Well...

    You know, I can't help but wonder what that first encounter would've been like if they'd met when they were older, you know?

    Anyhoo, this

    a romance, it's a cautionary tale.

    And a pretty funny one at that! I originally gave it 3 stars, but I had to bump it up for making me giggle so much. Between Romeo & Juliet

    crying, moping, and twirling around like a tweenage girls and the rest of the cast flailing around to accommodate these idiots, this was waaaaaay better than I remembered it.

    I listened to this on Playaway, so I got to have the audio version with a full cast of characters, sound effects, and music. Loved it! Totally recommend going this way if you're planning on trying out Shakespeare.

  • Brina

    Happy 2018, everyone! I thought I would get the year off on the right track by reading my first book for classics bingo in the group catching up on classics...and lots more. One of the squares on this year's board is to read a book published before the 18th century, and, because Romeo and Juliet is one of this month's group reads, I decided to mark off this square early. Way back in ninth grade, I read Romeo and Juliet. I happened to have a teacher who assigned us outside of the box assignments

    Happy 2018, everyone! I thought I would get the year off on the right track by reading my first book for classics bingo in the group catching up on classics...and lots more. One of the squares on this year's board is to read a book published before the 18th century, and, because Romeo and Juliet is one of this month's group reads, I decided to mark off this square early. Way back in ninth grade, I read Romeo and Juliet. I happened to have a teacher who assigned us outside of the box assignments such as writing letters between the primary characters or keeping Juliet's diary. Thus, this Shakespearean tragedy remains more memorable to me than some of the other dramas I have read over the years. Yet, the play still warranted a reread through adult eyes so here I am, beginning 2018 by reading Shakespeare.

    I will be the first to admit that I although I enjoy reading through modern drama, usually Pulitzer winners, Shakespeare is tough for me. The language I am able to slog through; however, most plots are dull and leave me with much to be the desired. The only dramas I enjoy enough to want to reread is The Merchant of Venice and MacBeth for their strong, female protagonists. Which, brings me back to Romeo and Juliet. Most people know the basis of the story, one that has been retold so many times that it is part of western vernacular. My favorite version of Romeo and Juliet is the musical Westside Story. The song that begins "when you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way" sets the tone for the entire musical: the Jets and Sharks just flat out don't like each other but they are loyal to members of their own gang until their last dying day. This plot comes right out of Romeo and Juliet which features the Montagues and Capulets of Verona who have been feuding for time eternal. Like its more modern counterpart, the Montagues and Capulets just flat out don't like one another no matter the circumstances. It has always been thus and no member of the leadership of either family has done anything to lessen the feud.

    All these feelings of ill will change on one special night when young Romeo Montague is smitten with Juliet Capulet at a masked ball. The two instantly fall in love and do everything in their power to hide their romance from their feuding family members, parents included. I can understand why this is the play often assigned to fourteen year olds because what young teenager has not been smitten and thinks that he/she is in love. Combine this with the aspect of star crossed lovers who are going against the prevailing trends of society, and there are many directions that a teacher can go in while discussing this with students. Boys will like enjoy the dueling between members of the Montagues and Capulets and perhaps also the innuendo imagery that Romeo uses to describe Juliet whereas, perhaps, girls will swoon over the descriptions of Romeo and how he does everything in his power to marry and be with Juliet for all eternity. Reading through adult eyes and admittedly 21st century eyes, I enjoyed the plot myself as well as descriptions of Juliet. The star-crossed lover unique aspect of this play allowed me to read it quicker than I would with other Shakespearean drama that I find tedious to get through at best.

    Despite the imagery and the storyline, Shakespeare's language was still a bore for me to read. The planning and plotting and long soliloquies made for heavy reading. The story of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet and the consequences of their relationship could be completed in one to two acts. Yet, then the story would not be a Shakespearean five act timeless classic. Perhaps because I am reading this drama during the 21st century where people need information before it happens makes plays with more speaking than action too slow at times for modern readers. Even with modern literature, unless it is quality literary fiction, I find it sluggish to get through slow moving novels with little plot movement, and prefer those novels with shorter chapters. After rereading a number of Shakespearean plays over the past few years I have come to realize that unless there is a lot of plot development-- feuding, fighting, falling in love, illicit marriage, more fighting-- that it is a challenge for me to get through the text. Lucky for me that Romeo and Juliet contains the elements of a quality story so it is only the text that challenges me, not the story itself.

    Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers remains timeless classic that has been redone many times over. Romeo and Juliet have made appearances in some form on Broadway plays to Hollywood movies including a modern version starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo. Without stretching one's imagination all that much, Romeo and Juliet even resurface in the Star Wars story during the prequel trilogy. Their imagery is everywhere in modern society and by telling of two feuding groups as a backdrop, Shakespeare created a tale that could relate to people across many places and times, from school groups to rival governments. Now that I got through my first book of the year I am excited to get a jump start on bingo and my other challenges, both in groups and personal ones. Whether I read another Shakespeare remains to be seen because at the end of the day, if there are no feuds, fights, star-crossed lovers, and other elements of a modern story, Shakespeare's long soliloquies are not really my taste.

    3.75 stars

  • Madeline

    Romeo and Juliet, abridged.

    ROMEO: I’m Romeo, and I used to be emo and annoying but now I’m so totally in luuuuurve and it’s AWESOME.

    MERCUTIO: Okay, three things: One, there’s only room in this play for one awesome character and it’s

    , bitch. Two, you’re still emo and annoying. Three, didn’t you say that exact same stuff yesterday about Rosaline?

    ROMEO: Who?

    *meanwhile, Juliet prances around her room and draws hearts on things and scribbles “Mrs. Juliet Montague” in her diary over and over. Beca

    Romeo and Juliet, abridged.

    ROMEO: I’m Romeo, and I used to be emo and annoying but now I’m so totally in luuuuurve and it’s AWESOME.

    MERCUTIO: Okay, three things: One, there’s only room in this play for one awesome character and it’s

    , bitch. Two, you’re still emo and annoying. Three, didn’t you say that exact same stuff yesterday about Rosaline?

    ROMEO: Who?

    *meanwhile, Juliet prances around her room and draws hearts on things and scribbles “Mrs. Juliet Montague” in her diary over and over. Because she is THIRTEEN. How old is Romeo supposed to be? Let’s not talk about that, k?*

    CAPULET: Good news, Juliet! I found you a husband!

    PARIS: Hello, I’m a complete tool.

    JULIET: Daddy, I don’t want to marry that apparently decent and unflawed guy! I’m in love with Romeo Montague – we met yesterday and it was HOT.

    CAPULET: I WILL BE DAMNED IF I SEE MY ONLY DAUGHTER MARRIED TO THE ONLY SON OF THE MAN WHO IS MY MORTAL ENEMY FOR REASONS TOO UNIMPORTANT TO SPECIFY IN THIS PLAY!

    JULIET: *stamps foot, runs off to her room to watch High School Musical again and sulk*

    TYBALT: Hey Romeo, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

    MONTAGUE POSSE: Oh,

    .

    MERCUTIO: YOU TAKE THAT BACK!

    TYBALT: MAKE ME!

    ROMEO: No! You can’t fight him, Mercutio

    !

    TYBALT: I KEEL YOU!

    *Romeo attempts to stop the fight and fails miserably*

    MERCUTIO: FUCK YOU ALL! *dies*

    ROMEO: Okay, forget what I said about not fighting. I KEEL YOU!

    TYBALT: *dies*

    PRINCE: I’ve had enough of your shit, Emo McStabbypants. You’re banished.

    ROMEO: Waaaaaahhhhhh! I’m banished and Juliet is going to marry another guy and it’s not fair WHY DOES GOD HATE ME?

    FRIAR LAURENCE: Jesus Christ, not this again. Okay, if you promise to grow a pair, I’ll help you and your wife out. Here’s the plan: she takes a potion that’ll make her go into a coma, and then she’ll get put in the family tomb and then you’ll sneak back into town, break into the tomb, wait until she wakes up, and then the two of you escape and live happily ever after! It’s perfect!

    AUDIENCE: …the hell?

    *Shockingly, the plan fails. Romeo goes back to the tomb (pausing to kill Paris just for good measure), but he thinks Juliet’s dead and drinks poison and dies, and then like two seconds later she wakes up and sees that Romeo isn’t

    dead like she was, he’s

    , so she stabs herself.*

    MONTAGUE: Wow, we are awful parents.

    CAPULET: I have an idea – let’s make solid gold statues of our dead children to commemorate their love and serve as a constant reminder of the fact that our only children killed themselves because we were such uncaring parents.

    *they actually do this.*

    SHAKESPEARE: Beat that, Stephenie Meyer.

    THE END.

    Read for: 9th grade English

    BONUS: courtesy of The Second City Network.

  • Kiki

    While

    is impressive in some aspects, particularly the prose (though there is better prose out there, by better authors) it has been too badly beaten and neutered over the course of its life to matter at all any more. Don't expect to be able to convince anyone about the subliminal messaging behind the story of

    ; they'll think you're batshit. Even an English teacher will think you're batshit. It's like

    . Terrible, about terrible people, doing somet

    While

    is impressive in some aspects, particularly the prose (though there is better prose out there, by better authors) it has been too badly beaten and neutered over the course of its life to matter at all any more. Don't expect to be able to convince anyone about the subliminal messaging behind the story of

    ; they'll think you're batshit. Even an English teacher will think you're batshit. It's like

    . Terrible, about terrible people, doing something dumb.

    William Shakespeare doesn't want you to think that lust is all-consuming love, when really it's just endorphins. He knows that endorphins make you crazy, guys, and then you do crazy things, like kill yourself over a dude you just met. I don't care if it's Leonardo DiCaprio. Don't kill yourself over anybody.

    (If you think that killing yourself over someone is romantic, then I don't know what to say to you. I really don't know.)

    Come to think of it, what is Shakespeare's best work? Shit if I know. I really can't stand Shakespeare. Some of his work is decent, and I have a sentimental soft spot for

    but some of it really is awful, and I'm not afraid to admit that. Come at me, intellectual hipster types, telling me how I'm stupid or blind to the "bard's brilliance" or whatever; I really don't care. Shakespeare's work was the

    of its era, just as the Medicis were the Kardashians of the Italian Renaissance. It was pop culture. I've had it with all of these high-horse professeurs declaring Shakespeare, and his era's general way of life, to be "superior" to "empty modern consumerism". Let me tell you something: the Tudors liked crap, just as we like crap. The Tudors enjoyed pulp fiction, generic formulaic romance, and escapist fantasies just as much as we do. They were not superior, and their pop culture was not superior - it was just presented in a different format, because extreme class divide, patriarchal social systems, and poor distribution of education meant that barely anybody could read. So instead of going to Tesco to pick up a copy of the newest YA vampire romance blockbuster for £3.99, they went to the theatre, and they swooned and they chattered about it with their friends and there probably would have been fan fiction if anybody had been able to read or write.

    The thing is, right, that I am not going to put up with being belittled for liking 21st century pop culture and not liking 16th century pop culture. Imagine kids in 2516 being set upon by some well-to-do smarty-pants who looks down his nose and says, "You obviously don't understand the artistry of it. You don't understand what Meyer was saying.

    is a true historical classic and only the basest of fools misunderstands the bard."

    Everybody should like what they like, and be left well enough alone to enjoy it. I do get the appeal of "classics" - that they capture a time period lost to us, and that they immortalize the words of the authors and poets who wrote them. They unpack a beautiful image of the evolution of art, and they map historical politics and social constructs organically, first-hand, untarnished. But that does not make them immune to criticism. It does not make them more important than modern art. It does not mean you have to like them.

    But all of this is a matter of opinion, I suppose. Hell, I'll indulge myself with a bite of Ye Olde Pop Culture when I'm in the mood. I'm cool with Edmund Spenser, I'll read Dante for days, and when I fancy some home comforts, I'll break into my old faves by Burns. I'll take

    , Virgil, Voltaire, Yeats, and I like a little slice of Poe when I'm feeling extra morose and moody. And Homer, damn, I love that shit; I'm all over

    like a rash.

    But Shakespeare? Ugh, nah. Can it, William.

  • Nate

    I'm not sure what annoys me more - the play that elevated a story about two teenagers meeting at a ball and instantly "falling in love" then deciding to get married after knowing each other for one night into the most well-known love story of all time, or the middle schools that feed this to kids of the same age group as the main characters to support their angst-filled heads with the idea that yes, they really are in love with that guy/girl they met five minutes ago, and no one can stop them, e

    I'm not sure what annoys me more - the play that elevated a story about two teenagers meeting at a ball and instantly "falling in love" then deciding to get married after knowing each other for one night into the most well-known love story of all time, or the middle schools that feed this to kids of the same age group as the main characters to support their angst-filled heads with the idea that yes, they really are in love with that guy/girl they met five minutes ago, and no one can stop them, especially not their meddling parents!

    Keep in mind that Juliet was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. (Her father states she "hath not yet seen the change of fourteen years" in 1.2.9). Even in Shakespeare's England, most women were at least 21 before they married and had children. It's not clear how old Romeo is, but either he's also a stupid little kid who needs to be slapped, or he's a child molester, and neither one is a good thing.

    When I was in middle school or high school, around the time we read this book, I remember a classmate saying in class that when her and her boyfriends' eyes met across the quad, they just knew they were meant to be together forever. How convenient that her soulmate happened to be an immensely popular and good-looking football player, and his soulmate happened to be a gorgeous cheerleader! That's not love at first sight, that's lust at first sight. If they were really lucky, maybe as time went on they would also happen to "click" very well, that lust would develop into love (it didn't), and they would end up together forever (they didn't). But if they saw each other at a school dance, decided they were "like, totally in love," and then the next day decided to run off and get married, we shouldn't encourage that as a romantic love story, we should slap the hell out of them both to wake them up to reality.

    For what it's worth, my cynicism doesn't come from any bitterness towards life or love. I met my wife when we were 17, and we've now been together almost 10 years, married for a little over 2. Fortunately for me, she turned out to be awesome. If we had decided the day after meeting each other that we were hopelessly in love and needed to get married immediately, we would have been idiots, and I hope someone who I trusted and respected would have slapped me, hard. If we were 13 at the time, that would be even worse. Enlightened adults injecting this into our youth as a classic love story for the generations, providing further support for their angst-filled false ideas of love and marriage, is probably worst of all.

  • Haleema

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