*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
Title: Romeo and Juliet
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Publication Date: 1597 and 1599*
Publisher: John Danter and Cuthbert Burby*
Where to buy: Romeo and Juliet
Summary: “a play of star-crossed lovers who take a valiant stand against social convention, with tragic consequences.” (Source: Amazon)
Trigger Warnings: death, blood imagery, suicide, rape, violence, sexually implied language.
*The play was originally published in quartos (small pamphlets or books); the play was published in two parts/quartos. The First Quarto was published by John Danter and the Second Quarto was published by Cuthbert Burby.*
So. Much. POETRY!
William Shakespeare’s play is a poet’s paradise! I am not one for love poems, or sonnets in this case, but the shifting landscape of the lovers’ lives is truly reflected in their exchanges.
I am too bold. ‘Tis not to me she speaks.
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
(Act 2, Scene 2)
This is an excerpt from the famous balcony scene where Romeo sees Juliet and is helpless. I find this particular dialogue rather hilarious as he deems himself “too bold” or rather too cocky to be charming lovely Juliet. I definitely agree with him, Juliet is too good for him. What is more is that this scene symbolises their whole relationship: they are worlds apart and always will be.
What is more is that this scene symbolises their whole relationship: they are worlds apart and always will be. To me, their poetic exchanges convey that their relationship is not rooted in reality, which is proven as they do not attempt to deal with the larger issue of their families’ long-standing conflict. Nonetheless, you could read Romeo and Juliet fifty times over and still find some new metaphor within their passionate exclamations.
I felt sorry for Romeo and Juliet
Fun fact: when I first heard of Romeo and Juliet in primary school, I associated the play with a happy ending! Heck, I was wrong.
When I read this play for the first time, my reaction was confusion. I didn’t understand how the pair could have fallen in love in such a short space of time, plus, so much drama! On my second (actually third) reading, I realised that the play is about the bigger conflict between the Montagues and Capulets, the families’ fighting is the reason why everything happens so fast and why everything ends so badly.
On a different subject, there is a lot of implications about sex within the play, which was a bit uncomfortable to read at times. Also, at the beginning of the play, violence against women is expressed explicitly.
Why did I read it?
Despite being a famous play, I had not read it until I started my English Literature course.
Does the author have other works?
William Shakespeare is probably one of the most well-known writers of all time. Shakespeare has written many plays, such as King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest. He also has written lots of sonnets!
The “star-crossed lovers” did not deserve what happened to them. Their lives were dictated to them by violence, hate, and chaos, which is indeed a cruel fate if there ever was one.
– Melissa Jennings