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Montagues And Capulets – Romeon And Juliet Essay, Research Paper

two lovers depicted in literature, music, dance, and theatre and best known from a

play (1594-95) written by William Shakespeare. The appeal of the young hero and

heroine–whose families, the Montagues and Capulets, respectively, are implacable

enemies–is such that they have become, in the popular imagination, the

representative type of star-crossed lovers.

Shakespeare’s principal source for the plot was The Tragicall Historye of Romeus

and Juliet (1562), a long narrative poem by the English poet , or Brooke (d. 1563).

Broke had based his poem on a French translation of a tale by an Italian writer,

Matteo Bandello (1485-1561).

Shakespeare set the scene in Verona, Italy, during July. Juliet, a Capulet, and

Romeo, a Montague, fall in love at a masked ball of the Capulets and profess their

love when Romeo later visits her at her private balcony in her family’s home.

Because the two noble families are enemies, the couple is married secretly by Friar

Laurence. Tybalt, a Capulet, kills Romeo’s friend Mercutio in a quarrel. Romeo kills

Tybalt and is banished to Mantua. When Juliet’s father insists on her marrying

Count Paris, Juliet consults the friar. He gives her a potion that makes one appear

to be dead. He proposes that she take it and that Romeo rescue her; she complies.

Unaware of the friar’s scheme, Romeo returns to Verona on hearing of Juliet’s

death. He encounters Paris, kills him, and finds Juliet in the burial vault. He gives

her a last kiss and kills himself with poison. Juliet awakens, sees the dead Romeo,

and kills herself. The families learn what has happened and end their feud.

The story has been adapted for various works, including choral symphony (Hector

Berlioz, 1839), opera (Charles Gounod, 1867), orchestral overture (Peter Ilich

Tchaikovsky, 1869, 1870, 1880), ballet (Sergey Prokofiev, 1935-36), and film

(1908, 1936, 1954, 1968).

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play by William Shakespeare, performed about 1594-95 and first published in a

“bad” quarto in 1597. The characters of and have been depicted in literature,

music, dance, and theatre. The appeal of the young hero and heroine–whose

families, , respectively, are implacable enemies–is such that they have become, in

the popular imagination, the representative type of star-crossed lovers.

Shakespeare’s principal source for the plot was (1562), a long narrative poem by

the English poet (d. 1563). Broke had based his poem on a French translation of a

tale by the Italian (1485-1561).

Shakespeare set the scene in Verona, Italy, during July. Juliet and Romeo meet and

fall instantly in love at a masked ball of the Capulets and profess their love when

Romeo later visits her at her private balcony in her family’s home. Because the two

noble families are enemies, the couple is married secretly by . When , a Capulet,

kills Romeo’s friend in a quarrel, Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished to Mantua.

Juliet’s father insists on her marrying Count , and Juliet goes to consult the friar. He

gives her a potion that will make her appear to be dead and proposes that she take

it and that Romeo rescue her; she complies. Unaware of the friar’s scheme, Romeo

returns to Verona on hearing of Juliet’s apparent death. He encounters Paris, kills

him, and finds Juliet in the burial vault. There he gives her a last kiss and kills

himself with poison. Juliet awakens, sees the dead Romeo, and kills herself. The

families learn what has happened and end their feud.

The most complex of Shakespeare’s early plays, Romeo and Juliet is far more than

“a play of young love” or “the world’s typical love-tragedy.” Weaving together a

large number of related impressions and judgments, it is as much about hate as

love. It tells of a family and its home as well as a feud and a tragic marriage. The

public life of Verona and the private lives of the Veronese make up the setting for

the love of Juliet and Romeo and provide the background against which their love

can be assessed. It is not the deaths of the lovers that conclude the play but the

public revelation of what has happened, with the admonitions of the Prince and the

reconciliation of the two families.

Shakespeare enriched an already old story by surrounding the guileless mutual

passion of Romeo and Juliet with the mature bawdry of the other characters–the

Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory open the play with their fantasies of

exploits with the Montague women; the tongues of the and Mercutio are seldom

free from sexual matters–but the innocence of the lovers is unimpaired.

Romeo and Juliet made a strong impression on contemporary audiences. It was also

one of Shakespeare’s first plays to be pirated; a very bad text appeared in 1597.

Detestable though it is, this version does derive from a performance of the play,

and a good deal of what was seen on stage was recorded. Two years later another

version of the play appeared, issued by a different, more respectable publisher, and

this is essentially the play known today, for the printer was working from a

manuscript fairly close to Shakespeare’s own. Yet in neither edition did

Shakespeare’s name appear on the title page, and it was only with the publication

of Love’s Labour’s Lost in 1598 that publishers had come to feel that the name of

Shakespeare as a dramatist, as well as the public esteem of the company of actors

to which he belonged, could make an impression on potential purchasers of

playbooks.

Bibliography

manuscript fairly close to Shakespeare’s own. Yet in neither edition did

Shakespeare’s name appear on the title page, and it was only with the publication

of Love’s Labour’s Lost in 1598 that publishers had come to feel that the name of

Shakespeare as a dramatist, as well as the public esteem of the company of actors

to which he belonged, could make an impression on potential purchasers of


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