Romeo and Juliet
Romeo y Julieta is also a brand of Cuban cigars.
Though the story originates through several retellings from a 1476 story of Mariotto and Gianozza by Masuccio Salernitano, Shakespeare enriched its texture through his vivid characterizations of both major and minor characters, in particular the Nurse and Mercutio.
The play begins with a prologue in the form of a sonnet. The speaker explains to the audience that the story concerns two warring families in Verona, Italy, and how the feud between them is ended in a manner which neither side could have wanted or expected.
The action proper starts with a typical street-brawl between the two families, started by their servants and put down by the Prince of Verona. He fines the heads of both families and declares severe penalties, including death, for those who disturb the peace again, and leaves.
Paris, a nobleman and the Prince's relative, talks to old Capulet about marrying his thirteen-year-old daughter Juliet. The Capulet demurs, citing the girl's young age: "My child is yet a stranger in the world; She hath not seen the change of fourteen years." Paris persists, arguing "Younger than she are happy mothers made." The Capulet asks him to attract the attention of Juliet during a masquerade ball that the family is to hold a day later. Meanwhile Juliet's mother tries to persuade her young daughter to accept Paris's wooing during their coming ball. The question of Juliet's age is again raised, as her mother, echoing Paris, declares, "younger than you / Here in Verona, ladies of esteem / Are made already mothers." Juliet does not want Paris, but, being a dutiful daughter, accedes to her mother's wishes. This scene also introduces Juliet's nurse, the most amusing character in the play, who recounts a bawdy anecdote about Juliet, punctuated with religious ejaculations.
Romeo, the son of Montague, is infatuated with Rosaline, a relative of the Capulets, but laments that she will not "ope her lap to saint-seducing gold." Hearing that she will appear at the ball at the Capulets, he decides to visit the Capulets' house masked with his cousin Benvolio and friend Mercutio, who all want him to forget about Rosaline and find another woman, since Rosaline does not return Romeo's love.
At the ball, Romeo falls instead for Juliet. He stays behind, risking his life by remaining on Capulet property, to catch another glimpse of Juliet at her room, and in the famous balcony scene, the two eloquently declare their love for each other. The young lovers decide to marry without informing their parents, because they would undoubtedly disallow it due to the planned union between Paris and Juliet.
With the help of Juliet's Nurse and the Franciscan priest Friar Lawrence, the two are wedded days later. Friar Lawrence performs the ceremony, hoping to bring the two families to peace with each other through their mutual union.
Things take a darker turn in the next Act. Tybalt, a bloodthirsty Capulet and Juliet's cousin, decides to seek out Romeo for appearing in the Capulets' house uninvited. Romeo refuses to fight him because he is now part of his family, but Mercutio accepts the duel on his behalf. In the ensuing fight Mercutio is fatally wounded by Tybalt and Romeo, in his anger, kills Tybalt. Although under the Prince of Verona's prior proclamation Romeo would be subject to the death penalty, the Prince reduces Romeo's punishment to exile in light of the fact that Tybalt initiated the duel. Romeo flees to Mantua.
Juliet is extremely grieved when she hears this, and when she realizes that her father will force her to go through with the marriage to Paris, she seeks the help of Friar Lawrence once more. Friar Lawrence, an expert in herbal medicines and potions, gives Juliet a potion and a plan: the potion will put her in a death-like coma for two days; she is to take it before her marriage day, and when discovered dead, she will be laid in the family crypt. Meanwhile, the Friar will send a messenger to inform Romeo so that he can rejoin her when she awakes. The two can then leave for Mantua and live happily ever after.
Juliet takes the potion, and things proceed as planned. Unfortunately, the Friar's messenger is unable to reach Romeo due to Mantua being under quarantine, and Romeo learns only of Juliet's supposed "death" through a family servant. Grief-stricken, he buys some strong poison, returns to Verona in secret, and proceeds to the Capulets' crypt, determined to join Juliet in death. After killing Paris who has come to mourn privately for his lost love, he drinks the poison after seeing Juliet one last time. Seconds later Juliet awakens and sees Romeo dead. Juliet cannot imagine a rewarding life without Romeo and so she stabs herself fatally with his dagger. The two lovers lie dead by each other's sides, madly in love and devoted until the last breath of life.
The two families meet at the tomb with the Prince, and Friar Lawrence, who has hurried to the crypt but is too late to prevent the tragedy, reveals to them the love and secret marriage of Romeo and Juliet. The feuding families are reconciled by their children's deaths, as explained by the prologue.
In common with many of Shakespeare's plays, the majority of Romeo and Juliet is written in iambic pentameter. However, the play is also notable for its heavy use of rhymed verse, especially in the sonnet contained in Romeo and Juliet's dialogue in the scene where they first meet. For its use of rhyme and other factors, Romeo and Juliet is considered to belong to Shakespeare's "lyrical period", along with the similarly poetic plays A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard II.
Romeo and Juliet is one of the earlier works in the Shakespearean canon, and while it is often classified as a tragedy, it does not bear the hallmarks of the 'great tragedies' like Hamlet and Macbeth. Some argue that Romeo and Juliet's demise does not stem from their own individual flaws, but from the actions of others or from accidents. Unlike the great tragedies, Romeo and Juliet is more a tragedy of mistiming and ill fate. However, others consider rashness and youth to be the tragic flaws of Romeo and Juliet.
It has been noted that the plot of Romeo and Juliet is more that of a farce or comedy of errors than a tragedy, except that it lacks the vital last-minute save and everyone dies at the end instead of living happily ever after. However, it can also be argued that not all is woe at the end. A long-running feud is ended, although at the price of the two lovers' lives, thus, no doubt, future deaths have been prevented.
There have been quite a few adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, created for many media.
Other versions of the Romeo and Juliet play had been made, which had the "culture" of where the play was made as the "setting". For instance, a version of the play which had Romeo as a Palestinian and Juliet as a Jew in Israel and the Palestinian territories was made, which criticizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It was also the subject of Vincenzo Bellini's opera I Capuletti ed i Montecchi.
Several ballet adaptations of the story have been made, the first recorded in the 18th century. The best known feature music by Sergei Prokofiev, and a variety of choreographers have used this music. The first version featuring Prokofiev's music was performed in 1938.
There have been over forty movie versions of the tale, with the first in 1900. Some of the more notable adaptations include:
ca:Romeu i Julieta da:Romeo og Julie de:Romeo und Julia (Drama) es:Romeo y Julieta eo:Romeo kaj Julieta fr:Roméo et Juliette fy:Romeo en Julia nl:Romeo en Julia ja:ロミオとジュリエット pl:Romeo i Julia (dramat) sv:Romeo och Julia