Romeo und Julia : Tragodie

by William Shakespeare

Other authorsHerbert Geisen (Afterword), Dietrich Klose (Editor), August Wilhelm Schlegel (Translator)
Paperback, 1997



Call number

HI 3293 R763



Stuttgart : Reclam, 1997.


Classic Literature. Drama. Fiction. HTML: Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's early tragedies. The two young title characters fall madly in love, but are the children of feuding houses whose hatred for each other works to a devastating end. The play was immensely popular in Shakespeare's lifetime and is the most enduring of his plays along with Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet is considered one of the archetypal love stories..

User reviews

LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
Just cultural literacy alone demands you read this play; which I actually think is among Shakespeare's most readable and lyrical, with indelible, lovely lines. It ranks among my favorite of his because of the way he both expresses the beauty of young love as well as the potential destructiveness of
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adolescent passions in which, unfortunately, Romeo and Juliet are well-matched.

I remember a teacher once explaining how character propels plot through Shakespeare plays. If Othello had been inserted into Hamlet's plot and vice versa there would have been no tragedy. Othello wouldn't have hesitated to destroy Claudius and Hamlet would have thoroughly investigated before killing Desdemona. In this play Romeo and Juliet each pull each other towards the tragedy, their immaturity and overwhelmed emotions as much the linchpin as their family's feuds.

Of course, there's nothing like seeing this dramatized. I rather love the 1968 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. A traditional approach with actors of the right ages to fit their roles.
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LibraryThing member baswood
The Norton Critical edition - [Romeo and Juliet]
The BBC production - Romeo and Juliet 1978

Hot bloodied Italians Punished.

The first time I read Romeo and Juliet was as a teenager in school and I read it again a couple of times later in life. It has never been my favourite Shakespeare play although
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it had spawned two great films that I like very much: Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet and Baz Luhrmann Romeo + Juliet and then of course there is West Side Story. The popularity of this so called tragic love story is reflected in it being placed at 99 in LibraryThing's list of popular reads. Reading it again last week I had many of the themes buzzing around in my head. The chorus which opens the quarto 2 version lays out the plot in fairly simple terms and the reader is on safe ground here, but act 1 scene 1 has minor characters talking about coals and colliers, collars and choler and suddenly there is deluge of puns and word play, which can wrong foot the reader who might have been expecting a more easy ride through the play. It is not until Prince Escalus appears some 80 lines later to stop the fighting that a more orderly language is resumed. The surprises kept coming.

The machismo language of the opening scene and the casual word play is in contrast with the dreamy love sick Romeo (not love sick for Juliet when we first meet him, but for the unattainable Rosaline) and his language of the sonneteer. The death of Mercutio in act 1 of scene 3 starts the series of events the lead to the deaths of most of the younger major characters, but by this time we have already had the now famous love sonnet played in tandem, between Romeo and Juliet. The words and language of courtly love, where the only tragedy is to the imagined feelings of the poet is in sharp contrast to the murder and mayhem that unfolds in this play. This is a balancing act that would have appealed to the more educated audience in Elizabethan times, but may not be noticed so easily by a modern audience. I wonder if Shakespeare had his tongue in his cheek with some of this writing, because by 1595/6 when this play first appeared the writing of love sonnets had reached a stage where the popularity of the form had resulted in some pretty awful poetry, everyone seemed to want to have a go at writing it and Shakespeare at this time was probably more famous as a sonneteer than a playwright.

Another surprise for me was the repeated statement and references to the age of Juliet. She is still only 13 when she meets Romeo and is dead some four days later, never seeing her fourteenth birthday. Characters remark on Juliets age, but then again agree that it is not too early for a young girl to be married. This is emphasised and yet this would seem unnecessary for an Elizabethan audience, who would not have found this unusual. The plays action is telescoped into a mad period of time, everyone is in a hurry. Capulet wants his daughter married on Thursday to Paris and at the last moment brings it forward to Wednesday, summoning Paris from his bed. Romeo sees Juliet for the first time at a dance and she can't wait to be married the next day. This mad rush of events fits with the impetuousness of youth, there is hardly time to think, which may account for the tragic events that unfold. It is the elderly nurse and Friar Lawrence that have longer speeches and slow the play down. I had not realised previously the pace of this whirlwind romance leading to death, but then again this was Italy and the popular conception at the time was that Italians were hot-bloodied. Thinly disguised racism?

The themes of parental control and the fathers right to manage his daughter's life may have more of an impact on a modern audience. Juliet rebels against her fathers wishes, but her rebellion leads to a very early death. The homosociality of the fighting men in the first part of the play comes to an abrupt halt with the death of the perhaps homoerotic Mercutio. Romance and heterosexual relationship then takes centre stage with Romeo and Juliet. The County Paris also declares his love for Juliet, but in many ways appears little more than a plot device. There is certainly a lot going on in this play, more than I originally thought which is maybe why I found it a little uneven.

The central character's parts are difficult to play: To play a 13 year old girl as precocious and as sexy as Juliet's character demands is difficult for an older actress (this would not have been a different problem in Shakespear's time as the part would have been played by a young boy). Romeo as the dreamy passionate lover who is powerful enough to kill two men in combat and yet will die for the love of a young girl is also a bit of a stretch and calls for an actor who can have an immediate impact. The BBC production that I watched failed pretty miserably in the casting of Patrick Ryecart as Romeo, he looked too old and lacked any presence and Rebecca Saire as Juliet who was 14 at the time, had the youthful presence and a little steel about her, but was lacking in showing any eroticism or sexual desire. It was left to Celia Johnson as the Nurse, Michael Horden as Capulet and an edgy Alan Rickman as Tybalt to give the play any character. The Production followed pretty accurately the text of the play, which brought home to me the need for a director to pick and choose lines/speeches in order to shape the play in accordance with chosen themes, as it seems to me you can't have it all.

I read the Arden Shakespeare edition which has a good introduction that features a history of the performance of the play. I also read the Norton Critical edition which gives examples of Shakespeare's sources and plenty of latter day criticism. It also has essays by the actress Niamh Cusak on playing Juliet and David Tennant on playing Romeo. there are also articles on Franco Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.

There are wonderful things in this play, the celebrated lines of love and romance, the Queen Mab speech by Mercutio and the numerous puns and wordplay dotted here and there. The plot ties up the loose ends and with the death of Mercutio moves on apace. The tragic and desperate ending is quick and efficient and there is a morale for those that like their tragedy bitter sweet. It is a good story which Shakespeare adapted in his own inimitable way. A masterpiece of course, but a play that I would like to see reviewed before I bought my ticket. 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member ctpress
For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Reading a Shakespeare-play and seeing one is two entirely different things. Having been to the Globe in London and experienced the magic of an evening with Shakespeare it seems a dry thing to "just" read the play. Still, reading
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it offers time to stop and contemplate and enjoy and savour all the famous quotes and lines of poetry.

In this romantic tragedy there's plenty of over-the-top emotions, frantic pace, overwhelming love-songs and declarations of eternal bliss or eternal sorrow - it's just a thing you accept coming to Shakespeare. This is his world and it's just for us to drink it in.

And although it's exaggerated the theme is eternal and universal - love - mixed with infatuation and madness - it's a force too powerful to be kept down - and it's explosive in the midst of a feud between two families.

This emotional tour de force between Romeo and Juliet is something to be appraised and lamented at the same time. I'm not sure what Shakespeare does most. But both things are there. The admiration of such head-over-the-heels love and the warning against it's power to overwhelm and blinding the persons involved.

Good Night, Good night!
Parting is such sweet sorrow
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
As long as you remind yourself that this is teen melodrama and not tragedy the essential vapidity of the central relationship and the frustratingly buried deeper and more complex relationships--actually all Romeo's, with Mercutio but also Benvolio, Tybalt, the priest--don't get in the way of good
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tawdry enjoyment. Now I think about it, Romeo's like a cryptohomoerotic sixteenth-century Archie.
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LibraryThing member fufuakaspeechless
Shakespeare has a nice writing style, but Romeo and Juliet were really stupid, so I'm feeling this was just okay. It wasn't true love as much as it was infatuation.
LibraryThing member cbfiske
One of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Very hard for me to step back and give an objective review of this one, which has managed to hold my attention for many years. This last rereading proved to be no exception. I find that I've subconsciously memorized some of the dialogue over the years and still
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look forward to the appearance of certain lines and certain action. I need to continue to revisit this play.
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LibraryThing member Eric_Cheuk
overly compressed, beautifully-written play in which two teenagers fall in love, marry, fuck, and die, all in the span of three days. concessions should be made to late 16th century literary convention, but still...
LibraryThing member chirikosan
A classic book that has been rehashed and regurgitated ad nauseum for almost 500 years, it's little surprise why screenwriters and book authors keep on basing stories from this tragic love story of two innocents from warring families that outright detest each other.

Now, I know, every high school in
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English majority nations have plastered this author's books as the best pieces of literature of all time. For better or worse, I was not raised in a country where English is the official language and never really grew up with his work. When I finally did get a chance to read this story (translated to Spanish), maybe it was the translation that lost some of the poetic lyricism, but I found the book very hard to follow.

I probably also felt disconnected with it because the book was written such a long time ago that the phrases used seem out of style or hard to understand. It really bogged the immersion and fun factor and made it a bit of a chore to read.

Still, the plot is great, but I would have probably enjoyed it more if there was a more modernized and less poetic version of the prose to aid in my commoner ears.
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LibraryThing member krao
I love, love, love this book. How absolutely remarkable that Demetria Papadinis only uses first folio copies in order to direct her plays! I can't begin to express just how thankful I am for the many annotations, explaining all of the dirty analogies of Shakespeare. I'm sure that I'll use this copy
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in years to come when I teach Romeo and Juliet, and when I direct the play.
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LibraryThing member The_Literary_Jedi
An English classic masterpiece still being studied in high school and university the world over to this day. This play showcases Shakespeare's amazing wordplay and use of the English language (Elizabethan English!) as well as exploring themes of familial duty, virtue, fate, violence, love, and
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societal expectation. This is a tragedy though many consider it one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Traditionally, R&J is taught as is, read out loud act by act in class by students [or acted out depending on your teacher] who're embarrassed, can't understand it, find it cringy, and ask the age-old question of "why do we have to learn this?" How boring!

Listen up, I'm about to learn you a thing or two about R&J and why even though it's old as shit, it's still really good shit. Buckle in, this is going to be a long one.

First of all, it's a three-day rampage through a city by two powerful MAFIA families. The Montagues and the Capulets are in an age-old feud that neither family can remember the significant reason for. Throughout the play, the soldatos (soldiers) of each family go back and forth in the city of Verona, tearing shit up. There's a lot of Elizabethan comedy throughout the play - it's hella dirty and if you know, you know. Shakespeare would use double entendre, puns, homonyms, and sexually explicit phrases throughout to show rebellion and demonstrate how language is the great equalizer amongst people.

Second, the Capulets are trying to secure territory, clout, and other concessions by parading their 13-year old daughter Juliet in front of a noble Count [Paris] during their annual masquerade ball. The ball is infiltrated by 19-year old Romeo, son of the capo di capi of the Montague family along with his cousin Benvolio and their smart-ass friend Mercutio who also happens to be related to Prince Escalus who administers the city. In other plays, Shakespeare has explored how children are bound to honor their parents but in this play, he turns the tables and through characters like Lady Capulet, shows how parents also need to respect, be open, and kind to their children.

Third, when Tybalt - the Capulet capo bostone or second in command - sees the Montagues infiltrate, he sees red but the capo di capi of the Capulets urges him not to spill blood in front of Paris and other important guests. This is where shit hits the fan because the Montagues are there to have a good time, thinking no one will know it's them and Romeo is hoping to see this chick he's been talking to. Instead, he sees Juliet and that's it for him. Shakespeare shows that even though no one remembers why the families are fighting, they're all more than willing to shed blood in the name of duty and honor.

Fourth, the insta-love trope. Both Romeo and Juliet fall for each other instantly. [insert eye roll] Shakespeare uses this to show off how love is both chaotic and peaceful. He constantly reminds the audience that love and violence are connected through characters' words and actions. There is also the theme of fate and in this play, all the characters widely accept that their lives have some sort of predestined path. Romeo and Juliet know their love is doomed from the start but they hope against hope that they can beat fate.

Fifth, no good deed goes unpunished. A good friar tries to slow things down but realizes he has the chance of a lifetime here and urges caution but agrees to Romeo and Juliets hair-brained plan to marry thinking it will bring peace to Verona. We all know the steps: make the plan, follow the plan, watch it go off the rails, burn the plan. This play couldn't have this concept more if it tried! Every possible thing happens! Fate again!

Sixth, death dying suicide pain pain pain. Everyone loses someone and in the end, the capos realize they fucked up and call off their feud and dedicate statues to their children to remind them of all they lost. Themes of love, duty, and fate. Shakespeare shows that the most vulnerable in society (children & teens) are often ignored and dismissed by the older generations for their folly or childish thinking.

Doesn't that sound more exciting? You're welcome.

I've taught R&J for years like this and I even show the Baz Lurhman version before to help get my students thinking in more unconventional terms. It makes the story so much better especially for those students who think it's just a stupid love story. While the Bartkowiak movie 'Romeo Must Die' starring the late & great Aalyiah and Jet Li bears the name, it is only very loosely based on the play and obviously can't be shown in a school setting.

**All thoughts and opinions are my own. This hot take on how to teach Romeo and Juliet may not be 100% original to me but I have yet to find any curriculum similar to it.**
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LibraryThing member DF5B_RobertS
Ah, my favorite classic.
LibraryThing member malydon
Interest/Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Synopsis: Romeo and Juliet is the quintessential tragic romance. While written over 500 years ago, the story of passionate love between two teenagers remains a current theme today. Juliet Capulet’s father has told Count Paris, a suitor, that Juliet is too
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young to marry and he must wait two years. Paris is very in love with Juliet, but Juliet does not love him. Romeo Montague is in love with Rosaline but his love is not returned. The Capulet’s have a party and Romeo with his cousins, crash the event. Romeo sees Juliet and Juliet sees Romeo and it is love at first sight. However, their families have had a long feud and it is unlikely they would ever be able to marry. Juliet wants to marry in secret. Romero, needing some counsel, seeks Friar Laurence for advice. Within a day of the party, Friar Laurence marries the young couple in secret hoping that the marriage will heal the feud between the families. Friar Laurence warns the couple that their love is intense and cannot last long. Benvolio (related to the Prince) and Mercutio (Romeo’s cousin) meet Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) and other Capulets. Tybalt wants to fight Romeo. Romeo refuses to fight and Mercutio takes up Tybalt’s challenge. When Romeo steps between them, Tybalt kills Mercutio with his sword. In turn, Romeo kills Tybalt. When the Prince hears of the deaths, he does not order Romeo’s execution but banishes him from Verona. Juliet hears the news of her cousin’s death and Romeo’s banishment. Romeo cannot bear leaving his new wife and goes to Friar Laurence for more advice. Friar Laurence tells Romeo he must leave before dawn and tells him to go to Mantua. Friar Laurence is in hopes that he can convince both families to reconcile with the news of their children marrying. Paris still wants to marry Juliet and as her parents have no knowledge of her marriage to Romeo, set a wedding date to be in three days. Juliet’s mother tells her of the wedding and Juliet says no to the marriage. Juliet goes to Friar Laurence for help. Friar Laurence gives her a potion to simulate her death to avoid marrying Paris. He assures her that he will give Romeo the information and Romeo will return to rescue her from the tomb. She drinks the poison, her family believes she is dead, and they bury her in the family tomb. Friar Laurence sends Friar John to Romeo with a letter explaining all the details. But the city officials in Mantua believe he is carrying the plague and refuse to let him enter the city. Romeo returns to Verona upon hearing of Juliet’s death. Romeo starts to open Juliet’s tomb when Paris appears. Paris and Romeo fight and Paris is killed. Romeo says goodbye to Juliet and drinks poison, falling dead at Juliet’s side. Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo is dead. She takes Romeo’s dagger and kills herself. When the families find out, they are bound by shared grief and agree to end the feud.

Review: Without a doubt, this is one of my all time favorite love stories. I first read it in high school when my English teacher provided each act on mimeographed paper. She had made a class set and we read the play in class. This was back in the day when class sets of books were unheard of. This particular book is well thought out providing a couple of pages of Shakespeare’s original copy written 1599 as samples of plays written in his time period. The book has footnotes the text references written in bold and the annotations written in standard type. The cover of the book has a dark-haired young man with a blonde young women looking into his eyes. The young people are dressed in current clothing, not period clothing. This is from Penguin Group (Puffin) and they are marketing the teen population by making the illustrations enticing. Other titles they have done like this include Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Dracula. Once inside the cover, the play is classic Shakespeare. The old English is a bit difficult to read, but with so many versions of the movie available, most students have a good idea of the story line. The task for the teacher is to cut through the language and work through the words to understand the meaning of the dialogue. Act 5, Scene 3, Line 29 begins Friar Laurence’s explanation of the events surrounding the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. He claims it is his fault that they are dead and offers his life in sacrifice. This is my favorite monologue of the play. Shakespeare captures all the events and outcome is the simple friar’s speech. It is as beautiful as is the last line of the time-honored tragedy. “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
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LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
While designing a board game based in Verona, Italy in the 1400's, I ended up reading the play 14 times. It stands up very well. If you're looking for a brilliant treatment in a film, the Francesco Zefferelli version is near perfect. Try to get a version that doesn't edit the Tibault/Mercutio
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sword-fight, a magnificent dramatic sequence.
But for reading aloud in an evening, this is a great experience as well. Should I tell you that the male brain isn't fully matured until the age of 26? It is germane to the plot.
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LibraryThing member wendywen
this is a love story, and it is a tragedy.Remeo and Juliet's families are enemy. but in this story is told us if you are falling in love, everything will be possible, and you will be brave.
LibraryThing member eddy_liu2
Romeo & Juliet is a dramatic play and a beautiful story written by William Shakespeare. It is a tragic love story between two households that held a grudge against each other and is set in Verona, Italy, Elizabethan times. When Romeo saw Juliet, he fell in love with her instantly. Even
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though Juliet was a Capulet, Romeo took his chances and confessed his love for her. Like all love stories, she felt the same way about him, but this love was forbidden by both households. Juliet's cousin Tybalt, finds out the forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet. He kills Romeo's best friend Mercutio, and Romeo kills Tybalt out of rage. Because of such violence, Romeo is forced out of Verona's boundaries. Juliet is forced into a marriage with Paris, the Prince's friend. Knowing that, Juliet takes a sleeping potion that lasts for a few hours. Everyone grieved, thinking she was dead. Sadly, the message did not get to Romeo. Having Romeo thinking Juliet's dead, he takes a trip to the Apothecary, purchasing a tube of poison. He enters Juliet's room, and just as she wakes up, he drinks the poison and dies. Seeing Romeo dead, Juliet takes Romeo's dagger and stabs herself and dies. The death of the son and daughter of two families ended their grudge and from then on, the Montagues and Capulets were friends, not enemies.

The Character that interested me the most was Romeo, as his personality and features changed throughout the story, and that is what makes me like him the most. At first, when he is introduced into the story, he is gloomy and lovesick about a girl named Rosalyn, but as time flashes, he sees Juliet and falls for her. This is when he changed and made a big effect on me as he suddenly forgot about Rosalyn and cared about nothing but Juliet. He started becoming more hasty in his actions as he slays Tybalt, and gets forced out of Verona. Another incident that made a big impression on me was when he found out that Juliet was dead, he did not check for himself, and instead he hastily purchased a vile of poison and drank it seeing Juliet lying unconscious. Although he was hasty and impatient, he was truly brave and his courage made him my favourite character throughout the story.

The main theme of this story taught us about love and how it can affect a person's life, how it can change a person's characteristics. It also gives us a message not to be too hasty in our actions as we may regret it later on in life. It tells us not to give in on life because of one thing, as more good things will come. Letting one bad thing past is always better than stopping all the good things that are to come, this is the most important theme. It is conveyed through the language throughout the whole story. It is easily understandable if the reader is paying attention to every scene. Shakespeare's purpose of this text was to share some experiences he had in life, so that everyone that read his stories could understand him more and live life to the fullest.
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LibraryThing member MartinBodek
What a sorrowful tale this was, all toldeth
which tooketh me so long to finally beholdeth.
Enjoying much am I, traveling through the Bard's w'rks
the linquistics, the grammar, the sentence-y quirks.
Fresh eyes, with which, I cometh as observer
and eateth up the words, with generous fervor
What ho! what a
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tome of impending doom,
which buries the heart in grief's wretched gloom.
But a lesson is learn'd from the reading, plain it be
that through the preponderances of history:
Great is that trait, the undercurrent to see
peace, love, hope, and tranquility.
But soft, much there are stories of woe,
like that of our Juliet and Romeo.
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LibraryThing member nessreendiana
I'm a big Romeo & Juliet fan. I've memorized the book, that's how much I've read it. I read along to Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes as they said their lines in that movie.
LibraryThing member kswanteck
The story of Romeo and Juliet is crossed lovers from two different families who are in love and end up dying for their love.
This is a good book to practice many things: decoding an unfamiliar language, acting out scenes, and analyzing character development (among others). Its
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overall theme of adolescent love is one that students will be able to relate to.
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LibraryThing member EmilyRB
William Shakespeare's epic tale of comedy, tragedy, and love is a staple for romantic literature. When two adolescents from feuding families fall in love, their destinys' suddenly become intertwined, with neither able to live without the other.
LibraryThing member raphaelmatto
Fantastic how much can be lost at a young age when actions are driven by obsession.
LibraryThing member MissLizzy
I read this fall semester of my freshman year of high school, and have loved it ever since--it remains one of my most favorite books/plays.
LibraryThing member Mendoza
I enjoy this story because of the language. Half of the enjoyment is in reading and getting the double meanings and picking up the slang and language of a time long ago.

Other than that though I find Romeo and Juliet to be the utmost in TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) hero/heroines - and indeed they are
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the ultimate TSTL as well, they don't live in the end.

To go on shaky misinformation and non communication to decided to kill yourself? Talk about a couple of idiots.
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LibraryThing member andreablythe
The more I read Romeo and Juliet the more I enjoy it. And I've had to read it many times -- for acting classes and teaching it to freshmen.

I love the romantic poetry, but even more than that I love the fact that it's got some rather raunchy comedy to it. I mean, really, sexual refferences, booze,
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violence -- how can you go wrong?
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LibraryThing member ablueidol
Yes studied at school but I have seen it at Stratford with my wife on a wedding anniversary. I had the pleasure of criticising the production and performance and then seeing this confirmed by the theatre critics in the serious papers-evidence that some of the reading and study has sank in!
LibraryThing member sweetsarah
I just love this play it is so romantic and yet it is very sad at the same time. i had to read it for school and i was saddened when i got my copy and it was an abriged version but one of these days i will read an unabriged version adn cry my eyes out when Romeo and Juliet die because they are in
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Original language


Original publication date

1597 (Quarto)
1599 (Quarto)
1609 (Quarto)
1623 (Folio)

Physical description

127 p.; 15 cm


315000005X / 9783150000052
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