Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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...

Title:Romeo and Juliet
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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Manny

    Every emo fourteen year old's dream. In bullet-point form:

    • fall in love with hot boy/girl (delete as appropriate) that parents can't stand;

    • tender words and some sex - gotta find out what that's like;

    • major tragic incident that

    ;

    • everyone's mad at you;

    • die beautiful death in loved one's arms;

    • parents finally understand how much they cared about you and are sorry they didn't treat you better when you were alive.

    So how did Shakespeare manage to

    Every emo fourteen year old's dream. In bullet-point form:

    • fall in love with hot boy/girl (delete as appropriate) that parents can't stand;

    • tender words and some sex - gotta find out what that's like;

    • major tragic incident that

    ;

    • everyone's mad at you;

    • die beautiful death in loved one's arms;

    • parents finally understand how much they cared about you and are sorry they didn't treat you better when you were alive.

    So how did Shakespeare manage to turn this heap of crap, which even Zac Efron would think twice about, into one of the most moving stories of all time? If you still need proof that he was a genius, look no further.

  • Haleema
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Maddie

    I had to read this novel in school – now let me tell you I hated this book with passion in school – BECAUSE I HAD TO! I was quite a rebellion in my time, well nothing changed I am still a rebellion ;-)

    Many school kids back in my day didn't appreciate this tragedy because Shakespeare used a lot of bizarre arguments to our ears. I'm delighted to understand it know, but I think main reason is I wanted to underst

    I had to read this novel in school – now let me tell you I hated this book with passion in school – BECAUSE I HAD TO! I was quite a rebellion in my time, well nothing changed I am still a rebellion ;-)

    Many school kids back in my day didn't appreciate this tragedy because Shakespeare used a lot of bizarre arguments to our ears. I'm delighted to understand it know, but I think main reason is I wanted to understand this novel I felt like I got a sense for his artwork Shakespeare created.

    This picture was for me at school, eye rolling and complaining a lot – well said Sir Tom!

    I Bow my head in Shame! :-(

    This is me now as a Shakespeare Lover :D

    Once I left school I watched some Shakespeare movies – and I decided I must read this gem again – I have read it 4x since I left school!

    Schubert - Ave Maria

    Juliet:

    “You kiss by the book.”

    ― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

    OR

    "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; whose misadventure’s piteous overthrows, doth with their death bury their parents' strife." This is part of the opening prologue from William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." From this opening you can get a strong portrait of the events that take place in this play

    Two adolescents from conflicting clans fall in love, marry in secret, and take their own lives rather than live without each other.

    Despite the teenage melodrama, "Romeo and Juliet" remains one of Shakespeare's most durable and widespread plays, even if it wasn't his best -- lots of demise, teen lovers and captivating dialogue.

    In the city of Verona, the Montagues and Capulets are protected in a lethal grudge. Then a Montague youth named Romeo, besotted with a Capulet girl named Rosaline, sneaks into a party to see her.... but instead meets another Capulet lass named Juliet, and the two instantly fall in love. Since their families hate each other, their love must be articulated in top-secret.

    Expecting to unite the two families, the kind-hearted priest Friar Lawrence assists the two in marrying in secret. But then Juliet's cousin Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel, leading to the demise of two men -- and Romeo's outcast from Verona. Even worse, the Capulets have decided to marry Juliet to Count Paris -- leading to a frantic plan that goes extremely askew.

    “Don't waste your love on somebody, who doesn't value it.”

    ― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

  • Bookdragon Sean

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


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