Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recently Reread: Romeo and Juliet-- What to Look for While You Read

Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Classic Play- Tragedy
Publication Date: 1597 approx.
Rating: 5/5

Other Shakespeare Posts:
An English Major's Thoughts on Shakespeare
Macbeth No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novel

I'm here with my first reread of the year! I'm taking a Shakespeare class and this was the first play we started with. I read this play for the first time my freshman year of high school, and I really enjoyed it the first time around, and this time around was no different.            

So for this review I thought I would make a few comments about the play, and list some elements that you should keep your eye out for while reading the play.

Everyone knows the plot of this play, so there is no need to give a synopsis. This is one of Shakespeare's most readable plays, and it is a great place to start if you are new to Shakespeare. It also has quite a bit of humor in for a tragedy. Romeo and Mercutio certainly act like teenage boys, and there is an abundance of sexual innuendos in the play.

I like this play because of its many elements. I know that on the surface the plot may seem simple enough as well as the themes, but this play has so much going on; it is so much more than just a tragic love story. And of course this play has so many great and infamous lines! This play is a very beautifully written play that is also highly entertaining. The drama is so over-the-top, and is highly comparable to the drama seen on T.V. and movies nowadays (which is probably why this story is still being adapted to this day). I think that the dramatics of Romeo and Juliet's love and relationship are meant to mirror the dramatic and ridiculous feud between the two families.

Elements and Themes to Watch for While Reading:

Fate: This is a huge theme in this play, after all Romeo and Juliet are "Star-crossed lovers." Fate is a really interesting idea to me, and it's really interesting to read this play with the mind-set that the events of the play were fated to happen, they were unavoidable because the Universe stated that they must happen. R&J become sacrifices in order to end the feud, and fate would say that this was the only way to end it, so the young lovers had to die.

Individual Wishes vs. Society/ Peer Wishes: To me, this is the biggest conflict and theme of this play. Everyone in the play must decide to do what makes them happy or what will make society happy, Romeo and Juliet especially. The wishes and expectations of society are what sets this play up to be a tragedy in the first place. Is this play meant to be a warning about putting individual happiness over the good of the group? Let me know what you think.

Foreshadowing: This play is full of foreshadowing. I really enjoyed going through and picking out all the examples of it on this second read. (Yeah, I know I'm weird- I'm an English major, what can I say?)

Foils and Parallels:  This is another elements that Shakespeare does in a lot of his plays, along with foreshadowing. See if you can pair of the foils (opposites) and the parallels (characters who mirror each other) while you read the play.

I'm hoping to make a post about Romeo and Juliet movie adaptations very soon, but there is one more that I have to watch before I write that post- so be on the look out for that. Let me know what your thoughts are on R&J, Shakespeare, movie adaptations, or anything else down below!

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