Today we will be reviewing the class book/play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. It is a comedy/ tragedy that is taught in classes all over the world. Keep reading for a short summary of the book and how the play came to be!
Romeo and Juliet Summary
Set in Verona Italy, the play starts off with a brawl in the streets between the Montague and the Capulet servants. The two families hate each other and that hate also has passed down to the servants. Prince Escalus of Verona breaks up the brawl and declares that the next one to start the fight will be punishable by death.
Count Paris discusses marrying Juliet with her father but he pushes the date back. Instead, he asks him to attend a ball that the Capulet’s are planning to hold. Benvolio, who is the cousin of Romeo, a Montague, tries to get Romeo out of his depression. He convinces Romeo with the help of Mercutio to attend the Capulet ball to meet Rosaline.
During the ball, Romeo ends up falling in love with Juliet. Juliet’s cousin Tybalt is angry when he discovers that Romeo has snuck into the ball. He wants to kill Romeo but is stopped by Juliet’s father who doesn’t want to ruin the ball.
After the ball, Romeo sneaks to meet Juliet and they admit their love for each other. Tybalt is still furious at Romeo and challenges him to a duel. The death of a close friend of Romeo ignites the flames to an all-out war between the two families.
Will Romeo and Juliet be able to be together? Will their families stop the feud or will it destroy both of the families?
The History of Romeo and Juliet
The story of Romeo and Juliet is very old but there are many that haven’t read the book or didn’t pay attention in class. It is one of Shakespeare most popular plays and is performed the most alongside Hamlet. While Shakespeare expanded on the Romeo and Juliet story, he was not the one who created the original story.
The plot of Romeo and Juliet is based on an Italian tale that was translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562. It was later retold in prose by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both sources and expanded on the plot as well as adding role characters and made it into the story we know today.
This story was written early in Shakespeare’s career between the years 1591-1596 and made its debut in 1596. It perfectly alternated between comedy and tragedy which is a style Shakespeare is known for. The play is over 400 years old and it is still one of the most popular plays in the world.
When we take about a love story or a tragic love story, the first story that is mentioned is Romeo and Juliet. When a story is as good as this, it transcends time. Not everyone is a fan of Shakespeare but even they have to admit his plays are incredible. Happy reading untik next time!