About the book:
Title: Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Genre & Age Group: Classics, romance, young adult
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a world of violence and generational conflict in which two young people fall in love and die because of that love. The story is rather extraordinary in that the normal problems faced by young lovers are here so very large. It is not simply that the families of Romeo and Juliet disapprove of the lover’s affection for each other; rather, the Montagues and the Capulets are on opposite sides in a blood feud and are trying to kill each other on the streets of Verona. Every time a member of one of the two families dies in the fight, his relatives demand the blood of his killer. Because of the feud, if Romeo is discovered with Juliet by her family, he will be killed. Once Romeo is banished, the only way that Juliet can avoid being married to someone else is to take a potion that apparently kills her, so that she is burried with the bodies of her slain relatives. In this violent, death-filled world, the movement of the story from love at first sight to the union of the lovers in death seems almost inevitable.
What is so striking about this play is that despite its extraordinary setting (one perhaps reflecting Elizabethan attitudes about hot-blooded Italians), it has become the quintessential story of young love. Because most young lovers feel that they have to overcome giant obstacles in order to be together, because they feel that they would rather die than be kept apart, and especially because the language Shakespeare gives his young lovers is so exquisite, allowing them to say to each other just what we would all say to a lover if we only knew how, it is easy to respond to this play as if it were about all young lovers rather than about a particular couple in a very unusual world. (When the play was rewritten in the eighteen century as The History and Fall of Caius Marius, the violent setting became that of a particularly discordant period in classical Rome; when Leonard Berstein rewrote the play as West Side Story, he chose the violent world of New York street gangs.)
Source: Read for school
How I Found Out About It: Common knowledge😉
When I learned about what my English course entailed for this semester, I was delighted to see that Romeo & Juliet was included. I don’t think I would have had the nerve to pick it up myself, so when it was assigned in my English class, I was so excited to read the story so many people were loving, as well as try out a new style of the English language!
The Elizabethan language did bother me a little bit at first, and I was put off by a lot of words I have never seen. I believe I did get a good grasp of it by the end, though.😉
I’m sure you guys already know what this story is about, but just in case you don’t, I will sum it up anyway. Okay, so this revolves around Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, who come from opposing families- their parents cannot stand each other. So when Romeo and Juliet meet at the Capulet ball, they fall in love right away, despite their families’ harsh relationship. They know for a fact that their true love is each other, but they will have to make some sacrifices to make it work…
I don’t think I really had a favourite character in this book- all of them were well-thought out and amazing, but for this review, I would like to focus more on Romeo and Juliet. I don’t have much to say about them individually, but I’d just like to take a moment to appreciate their love for each other despite their family’s feud. They were absolutely amazing together, and if I had any control over the situation, I would have done anything for them to be together. Is it weird to ship characters from a book from the 1500’s? I say no. No, it is not.💞
In my English class, we didn’t just read the story from the play book- we also read from the graphic novel and watched a bit of it on screen. As always, I personally preferred reading it, but as the Elizabethan language can come as a challenge for some, I’m glad my teacher taught us the story in more than one format to cater to everyone’s needs. We actually went to see the modern version of the play, too, on Wednesday!
All in all, I can definitely see why Romeo & Juliet is such a loved classic, as well as a tragic comedy. I believe it was a great idea for us to study it in class, and I know others will love it, too. So, I don’t really have a set type of reader to recommend this to- I think anyone who wants to take a risk and dive into this book will enjoy it.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars