But is it really nothing more than a silly Is reading Romeo and Juliet the equivalent of students 400 years from now studying ? Famous seventeenth-century journaler dismissed the plays as "the worst that ever [he] heard in [his] life" (). And even we have to admit that Romeo seems a lot more like an emo teenager than a man in the grips of immortal passion.
Despite its fancy pedigree, Romeo and Juliet is also considered to be one of Shakespeare's most accessible works. Along with Julius Caesar, it's typically one of the first Shakespeare plays studied by Western students, who get a dose of Elizabethan theater, Shakespearean language, and, of course, love poetry. And it's not just a school favorite; it's an audience favorite, too. Romeo and Juliet has been performed countless times by world-renowned theater companies and remains an audience favorite.
Romeo and Juliet Essay features Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous critique based on his legendary and influential Shakespeare notes and lectures.
Want more deets? We've also got a complete about Romeo and Juliet, with three weeks worth of readings and activities to make sure you know your stuff.
Not anymore. Written at the beginning of Shakespeare's career as a playwright, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595) is now considered to be the greatest love story of all time. It wasn't a , either: the play was so popular in its own time that it was published twice during Shakespeare's life (1597 and 1599). Considering the state of printing press technology at the time, that's kind of a big deal.
With love, pure love, there is always an anxiety for the safety of the object, a disinterestedness, by which it is distinguished from the counterfeits of its name. Compare this scene with Act iii. sc. 1. of the Tempest. I do not know a more wonderful instance of Shakspeare's mastery in playing a distinctly rememberable variety on the same remembered air, than in the transporting love confessions of Romeo and Juliet and Ferdinand and Miranda. There seems more passion in the one, and more dignity in the other; yet you feel that the sweet girlish lingering and busy movement of Juliet, and the calmer and more maidenly fondness of Miranda, might easily pass into each other.
Take notice in this enchanting scene of the contrast of Romeo's love with his former fancy; and weigh the skill shown in justifying him from his inconstancy by making us feel the difference of his passion. Yet this, too, is a love in, although not merely of, the imagination.
This is the essay I wrote a few years ago on comparing the balcony scene in two different versions of the balcony scene from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
prove that Shakspeare meant the Romeo and Juliet to approach to a poem, which, and indeed its early date, may be also inferred from the multitude of rhyming couplets throughout. And if we are right, from the internal evidence, in pronouncing this one of Shakspeare's early dramas, it affords a strong instance of the fineness of his insight into the nature of the passions, that Romeo is introduced already love-bewildered. The necessity of loving creates an object for itself in man and woman; and yet there is a difference in this respect between the sexes, though only to be known by a perception of it. It would have displeased us if Juliet had been represented as already in love, or as fancying herself so;but no one, I believe, ever experiences any shock at Romeo's "forgetting his Rosaline, who had been a mere name for the yearning of his youthful imagination, and rushing into his passion for Juliet. Rosaline was a mere creation of his fancy; and we should remark the boastful positiveness of Romeo in a love of his own making, which is never shown where love is really near the heart.
Compare again, Romeo's half-exerted, and half-real, ease of mind with his first manner when in love with Rosaline! His will had come to the clenching point.
Our point? Romeo and Juliet is at least partly a tragedy about the clash between private love (you and your honey) and public interest (convenient marriages, or paying bills, or raising a family). We may not have quite the same that Romeo and Juliet have, but intense, passionate love can be just as antisocial in the 21st century as it was in the 16th century. How do you negotiate the minefield? Well, hopefully better than Romeo and Juliet did.
But Romeo and Juliet is not just about what happens when two hormonal teenagers collide. It's clear to anyone who's watched that getting what you want out of young love isn't always all it's cracked up to be. The real moral of the story here is that sometimes love is doomed to fail, and that applies no matter how old you are and what time you're living in.
How fine an effect the wit and raillery habitual to Mer-cutio, even struggling with his pain, give to Romeo's following speech, and at the same time so completely justifying his passionate revenge on Tybalt!