Romeo and Juliet
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Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but, to expand the plot, developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris. Believed to have been written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare's original. Shakespeare's use of his poetic dramatic structure, especially effects such as switching between comedy and tragedy to heighten tension, his expansion of minor characters, and his use of sub-plots to embellish the story, has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet over the course of the play.
perilous knock,49 and it cried bitterly. 55 “Yea,” quoth my husband,“fall’st upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age.50 Wilt thou not, Jule?” It stinted, and said “Ay.” Juliet And stint thou too, I pray thee, Nurse, say I. Nurse Peace, I have done. God mark51 thee to his grace, 60 Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed. An I might live to see thee married once,52 I have my wish. “haligdom,” meaning “sanctity/sanctuary”: halig ϭ holy, dom ϭ custom,
touched 25 mask 26 a hall! ϭ make room, clear the floor 27 foot it ϭ on with the dancing 44 act 1 • scene 5 More light, you knaves,28 and turn the tables up,29 And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot. ( to Capulet Old Man) Ah, sirrah, this unlooked-for sport30 comes31 well. Nay, sit, nay sit, good cousin Capulet, 30 For you and I are past our dancing days. How long is’t now since last yourself and I Were in a mask?32 Second Capulet By’r Lady, thirty years. Capulet What,
eyes To twinkle in their spheres12 till they return. What if her eyes were there,13 they14 in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars As daylight doth a lamp. Her eyes in heaven 20 Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were15 not night. See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. O that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek. Juliet Ay me. Romeo She speaks. 25 O speak again,16 bright angel, for
it to pass 33 speedily, without delay, right now* 34 you joined 35 fastened, tied 36 ribbon to which a documentary seal is attached 37 (1) action, (2) written document of a legal nature 38 rebellion 39 hand and heart 40 years, life 41 quick, immediate, instant* 42 ’twixt my extremes ϭ between my utterly opposed/harsh/severe/ intolerable circumstances 43 deciding, determining 144 act 4 • scene 1 Which44 the commission45 of thy years and art Could to no issue46 of true honor bring.
best robes, uncovered on the bier, 110 Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault73 Where all the kindred of the Capulets lie. In the meantime, against thou shalt awake, Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift, And hither shall he come, and he and I 115 Will watch thy waking, and that very night Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua. And this shall free thee from this present shame, If no inconstant toy74 nor womanish fear Abate75 thy valor in the acting it. 120 Juliet Give