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The theme behind william shakespeares romeo and juliet

As in most of his plays, the Bard drew upon existing literary sources in composing Romeo and Juliet.

Thus, for example, Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech I. As for the central story of Romeo and Juliet, the direct source of Shakespeare's plot was a 3,000 line verse drama written by the English poet Arthur Brooke in 1562 and republished in 1587 as The Tragically Historye of Romeus and Juliet. Brooke, in his turn, drew upon a French version by Pierre Boaistua. It is, however, an Italian poet, Luigi Da Porto, who first set the story of the doomed lovers in Verona and gave them the names Romeo and Guiletta in 1530.

Romeo and Juliet

Beyond this, the story of a family feud serving as an obstacle to true love dates back to ancient Roman comedies and their Greek antecedents. The extensive literary lineage of the Romeo and Juliet story may appear to be incongruent with recent approaches to Shakespeare's play that focus on its experimental nature.

It is, however, in the radical departures from existing forms that Shakespeare displays his creative brilliance in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare was the first to dramatize the "tragicall historye" of the Veronese lovers. This, in itself, required consummate skill to reduce a story that unfolds over months or years to less than a week's duration and to boil the presentation down into "two hours traffic of our stage" First Prologue, 12. But far more important than this alteration, Shakespeare had the creative audacity to present the story of Romeo and Juliet as a tragedy in the same class as the tragedies of Ancient Greece.

For openers, while Romeo and Juliet are scions of noble families, they are not royals. Given the age-long limitation of tragedy to the affairs of kings and queens, the notion that two upper-middle class youths could serve as the protagonist of a tragedy was outlandish to Elizabethan audiences.

As the Prince says in the plays concluding couplet: The story is, in fact, sad; but in this, it manifests two further innovations.

  • In a sense, love does triumph, and there is a restoration of civil harmony in the play's final scene; but Romeo and Juliet, despite the youth of its title characters, ends badly;
  • Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean;
  • The inclusion of two choral sonnets before Act I and Act II and, even more stunningly, of Romeo and Juliet's jointly composed sonnet in Act I, scene v 92-105 is a technical innovation with a supreme purpose;
  • Given the age-long limitation of tragedy to the affairs of kings and queens, the notion that two upper-middle class youths could serve as the protagonist of a tragedy was outlandish to Elizabethan audiences;
  • Shakespeare was the first to dramatize the "tragicall historye" of the Veronese lovers;
  • It is, however, in the radical departures from existing forms that Shakespeare displays his creative brilliance in Romeo and Juliet.

First, when Elizabethan audiences saw two young lovers on stage in opposition to resistant parents usually fathersthey customarily assumed that love would triumph in a happy ending. In a sense, love does triumph, and there is a restoration of civil harmony in the play's final scene; but Romeo and Juliet, despite the youth of its title characters, ends badly.

At the same time, while both characters have adolescent shortcomings, neither nor both of them have a classical tragic flaw. Their demise is the outcome of circumstance and Fortune. By way of addition, Romeo and Juliet is an experimental play in that it embodies forms and techniques that had not been used by playwrights in the past.

The inclusion of two choral sonnets before Act I and Act II and, even more stunningly, of Romeo and Juliet's jointly composed sonnet in Act I, scene v 92-105 is a technical innovation with a supreme purpose. It sets Romeo and Juliet apart from a generally prosaic world, for the language that they exchange between each other possesses a lyrical quality that is noticeable and deliberately of a higher order than the rest of the play's text. As will be discussed further under the heading of Time, not only did Shakespeare telescope and compress events, Romeo and Juliet is self-consciously designed with a pace of events that takes on momentum as the lives of the lovers careen toward catastrophe.

In the first two quatrains of the play's opening sonnet, the chorus spells out the story line and establishes its central theme as the antithesis between love and hate.

Romeo and Juliet Themes

Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. Thus, in the play's opening scene, after witnessing the evidence of the first fray between his kinsman and the Capulets, Romeo observes, "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love" I.

  • For openers, while Romeo and Juliet are scions of noble families, they are not royals;
  • From forth the loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents' strife;
  • By way of addition, Romeo and Juliet is an experimental play in that it embodies forms and techniques that had not been used by playwrights in the past;
  • By way of addition, Romeo and Juliet is an experimental play in that it embodies forms and techniques that had not been used by playwrights in the past;
  • The story is, in fact, sad; but in this, it manifests two further innovations;
  • It is, however, an Italian poet, Luigi Da Porto, who first set the story of the doomed lovers in Verona and gave them the names Romeo and Guiletta in 1530.

The entire section is 2,053 words.