Romeo and Juliet An Introduction Romeo and Juliet
- Slides: 18
Romeo and Juliet: An Introduction
Romeo and Juliet: The Origins › The earliest known version of the Romeo and Juliet tale akin to Shakespeare's play is the story of Mariotto and Gianozza by Masuccio Salernitano, in the 33 rd novel of his Il Novellino published in 1476. Salernitano sets the story in Siena and insists its events took place in his own lifetime. His version of the story includes the secret marriage, the colluding friar, the fray where a prominent citizen is killed, Mariotto's exile, Gianozza's forced marriage, the potion plot, and the crucial message that goes astray. In this version, Mariotto is caught and beheaded and Gianozza dies of grief. Source: http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet
Romeo and Juliet: The Origins Continued… › As with most of Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare has used an older work as a reference for Romeo and Juliet. In fact, Shakespeare has kept virtually all of the original plot intact and made only minor changes. However, what Shakespeare did that very few other writers could have done is to add layers upon layers of meaning through his use of the written word. › When reading Shakespeare’s play, be on the watch for: metaphor, simile, allusion, paradox, oxymoron, imagery, and puns.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot › Enter Romeo, a love-sick boy, › These two families have been who pines for Rosalind, the sworn enemies for some time. most beautiful girl in the In fact, the problems caused world…that is, until he meets by their feud have led the young Juliet. Prince of Verona to declare that the next violator of the › Unfortunately, Romeo and peace will be executed. Juliet, despite their instant attraction for one another, › Of course, none of this descend from two rival matters to Romeo or to Juliet, families – the Montagues and at least in part because the Capulets. neither knows the other’s identity when they first meet.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot Continued… › In fact, Romeo is so smitten by the teenage Juliet that he instantly abandons all thoughts of Rosalind and begins to imagine ways in which he can meet the fair Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot Continued… › Romeo soon gets his opportunity to speak with Juliet alone. › In spite of Juliet’s protestations (playful or deliberate depending upon your viewpoint), she, too, falls in love with Romeo.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot Continued… › However, like Pyramus and Thisbe of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Romeo and Juliet are fated to meet a disastrous end. › Minutes after their first meeting, Romeo asks Juliet’s nurse his young lover’s identify and is horrified to learn that she is a Capulet. › This information causes Romeo no little trouble. Essentially, he must decide whether to abandon all thoughts of wooing the lovely Juliet, or risk a major rift within his own family, who would be outraged to hear of his preposterous ideas regarding Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot Continued… › Interestingly, Juliet also seeks to learn her lover’s identity and is equally disturbed to learn that she has fallen in love with a Montague. › However exciting the drama may be, it is complicated by the fact that Juliet has just been informed that her parents have chosen a husband for her – a wealthy Count named Paris. › http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=OZLVlajiih. I › In the video above, Juliet stands on her balcony, musing about Romeo and lamenting the fact that he is a Montague. In the meantime, Romeo has crept into the Capulet garden, intending to snatch a glimpse of his new love. In one of the most famous literary scenes ever written, we see the two lovers begin to overcome their scruples about their relationship.
Romeo and Juliet: Basic Plot Continued… › Ultimately, what begins as a love story turns to a tragedy, a tragedy brought about in large part by Romeo and Juliet’s decision to defy their parents’ wishes and to try and make a life together. In other words, even though the pair does not intend to create negative consequences, the consequences take place nevertheless.
Romeo and Juliet: A Tragedy › According to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of great importance, defines a tragedy as: › “the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in appropriate and pleasurable language; . . . › in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear [emphasis added], wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions. ” Source: http: //cuip. uchicago. edu/~ldernbach/msw/xhgkaristrag. pdf
Romeo and Juliet: A Tragedy Continued… › Moreover, a good tragedy, like Romeo and Juliet, must have a tragic hero. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero “cannot be too good or too bad, but he must end up in misery”. In other words, he “concluded that the best tragedy centers on a basically good man who changes from happiness to misery because of some great error. For example, he might have a good quality, like pride, that gets out of hand. ” Source: http: //cuip. uchicago. edu/~ldernbach/msw/xhgkaristrag. pdf
Romeo and Juliet: A Tragedy Continued… › A final key to Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy involves the plot of the tale. Ultimately, “The plot of a tragedy also involves some horrible o r evil deed. The tragic hero either does it consciously, does it out of ignorance, or mediates it (makes it easy for the deed to happen). For the audience to be horrified by the evil deed, the evil has to be done to someone important to the tragic hero. If the hero kills his enemy, the deed won’t seem so bad. On the other hand, if the hero kills someone he doesn’t care about, the audience won’t care much either. To make it really horrible for the audience, Aristotle suggested that the evil deed should be done to a family member. ” › Source: http: //cuip. uchicago. edu/~ldernbach/msw/xhgkaristrag. pdf
Romeo and Juliet: Key Themes › Youth versus age and the problems of understanding › Innocence › Appearance versus reality › Fate versus free will › Revenge › Tragedy › Coincidence › Love, especially first love
The sonnet form refers to a very strict type of poem made famous first by the Italian poet Petrarch, and then modified by Shakespeare himself.
The Sonnet Form Continued… › Petrarch’s sonnet has a total of 14 lines, each line containing 5 feet of iambic pentameter. › Moreover, Petrarch’s sonnets contain a definite rhyme scheme of: abba, cdecde OR abba, cdcdcd › By comparison, Shakespeare’s sonnet has a total of 14 lines, each line containing 5 feet of iambic pentameter. › His rhyme scheme is similar to Petrarch’s: abab cdcd efef gg
The Sonnet Form Continued… Two households, both alike in dignity, a In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, b From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, a Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. b From forth the fatal loins of these two foes c A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; d Whose misadventured piteous overthrows c Do with their death bury their parents' strife. d
The Sonnet Form Continued… The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, e And the continuance of their parents' rage, f Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, e Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; f The which if you with patient ears attend, g What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. g
As you begin to read Romeo and Juliet, ask yourself – what would you do, or not do, for love? Would you turn your back on your family? Abandon all you hold dear? Commit any number of sins? Or, would you, like any number of practical people, give up your newfound love?