Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Story of Juliet and her Romeo

Two families in Verona have a long history of fights and rivalry. The Montagues and The Capulets are like fire and powder, explode as they touch. To give the readers this picture, the story begins with a brawl between the two houses.

Romeo, the only son of Montague, appears as a young boy helplessly in love with a girl named Rosaline.
Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.
~ Romeo, Act I Scene IV

Until one day at a party held by The Capulets, as he and his friends manage to sneak into, Romeo has the change of heart. He falls in love with the prettiest girl he sees there, which turns out to be Juliet - the only daughter of Capulet. Juliet also has her heart beating for Romeo.
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.
~ Juliet, Act I Scene V
Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt
~ Romeo, Act I Scene V
Romeo and Juliet exchange vows in front of Friar Lawrence, who agrees in the hope of peace this bound might bring to the two rivals. This love seems to be a hint of peaceful future in Verona.

The balcony scene in an 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown | Source: here

The plot thickens and switches into a reverse when Tybalt - Juliet's cousin - dies in Romeo's hands, as a revenge to Mercutio's death. Romeo is banished. In desperation of losing Romeo, Juliet can't stop tears from falling. Misunderstood by her parents who assume that her nonstop crying is a sign of grief over Tybalt's death, she is about to be put into a wedding with Paris. Panic, Juliet cries for Friar Lawrence's help.

Friar Lawrence gives a special potion that will make Juliet asleep but appear as dead. The plan is; Romeo should find Juliet at the time she awakes, and they can run away. Romeo is meant to be part of the plan, but he never gets the letter Friar Lawrence send him. And then... I think you know the rest.

So yes, being a tragedy - where the protagonist must die - Romeo and Juliet die in this play. As much as I had hoped that somehow the story would have been different... well of course such a wish is foolish :p. But reading such a famous and well-known play like Romeo and Juliet is never about knowing the ending. It's more about enjoying the lines, finally tasting how The Bard created such intense dialogues in a heart-throbing tale of love.

Juliet woke up to find Romeo was dead | Source: here

First ed Title Page | Source: here
I picked this as the first for Let's Read Play. It's my first time reading William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I kind of knew how the story goes, but never actually read it before.

Believed to be adapted from a poem by Arthur Brooke, I understand now why this play is such a classic. It's beautiful, romantic, funny at the same time. Romeo and Juliet successfully covers the beauty in youth's love, how naive yet passionate it is.

Shakespeare designed this play into a fast-paced 5-day story, filled with woos and woes, and some good laughs. Perhaps that is how youth's love would be, as portrayed in the play; rough but sweet, timid but bold, always in haste, short-minded, full of misunderstanding... and die so soon. I recalled myself back when I was their age, when I could fall in love with some guy at school like he would have been the love of my life, to only forget about him the next week I fell for another :p
...the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so,
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow
~ Friar Lawrence, Act II Scene VI

To put it into today's perspective, this play also depicts the importance of adult's guidance in young-adult's romance. Parents need to have their eyes wide open to see and understand such a wave of passion. The tragedy is not only the result of the young ones who are recklessly in love, with their inability to communicate. It is also because of the adults who neglect the signs, with their refusal to compromise. It is good for Romeo and Juliet to have an adult to talk to - Friar Lawrence - who is trustworthy, though might not be as wise.

I can also get it now, how characters in books can recite this play line by line, how writers somehow at some point need to look up to it. The words seem timeless, relevant. I myself have to restrain my fingers from tweeting each line >_<

Able to grasp the mood, I immediately "re-read" it by watching the 1996 movie. And the magic moment happened. There - after several years - at my second attempt to watch DiCaprio's Romeo+Juliet, I did (finally!) cry at "Kissing You" scene. I felt it, the heartache that I searched in that movie (which I didn't find the first time I watched it because I had no idea what they're talking about :p). Hungry for more, I moved on to the older one; 1968 movie. If only I could go to a theater and watch a live performance...

I'll talk about the movies some other time, but here's to sum up; I think I can never get bored with this one. I love it today, and I believe will still adore it tomorrow, and years from now.

So I offer thee
5 cups of hot creamy coffee,
for this sweet deary
yet tragic love story...

Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare
Published: 1597
Ebook by Feedbooks


More posts in this blog regarding Romeo and Juliet:
- Juliet's quote in Weekend Quote #1
- Mercutio in Character Thursday


  1. I can't wait to both read the play and watch the movie!.... I know young lovers romance is not my taste, but this one is Shakespeare's!

    By the way, have you read Anne Fortier's Juliet (a historical fiction)? Not the best hisfic I've read, but it's interesting if you've read (and like) the play

    1. I'm a bit surprised how captivating Romeo and Juliet is, really.

      Ah yes, that novel! I've got that Anne Fortier's Juliet, but quit reading it at the first - I don't know - 20 or 30 pages or so :p I'll find some time to continue reading it :D