Romeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareIn Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud.
In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers.
The authoritative edition of Romeo and Juliet from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
*Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
*Newly revised explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
*Scene-by-scene plot summaries
*A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
*An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
*An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
*Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
*An up-to-date annotated guide to further reading
Romeo and Juliet
The play opens with a public brawl. A simple hand-gesture from a Capulet servant to a group of Montague servants spirals into a full-out fight, but the Prince is so over it. - Initially, we may expect that the lovers will prove the unifying force that unites the families. Were the play a comedy, the families would see the light of reason and resolve their feud, Romeo and Juliet would have a public wedding, and everyone would live happily ever after.
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. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but expanded the plot by developing a number of supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris. Believed to have been written between and , the play was first published in a quarto version in The text of the first quarto version was of poor quality, however, and later editions corrected the text to conform more closely with Shakespeare's original.
An age-old vendetta between two powerful families erupts into bloodshed. A group of masked Montagues risk further conflict by gatecrashing a Capulet party. The message fails to reach Romeo, and believing Juliet dead, he takes his life in her tomb. The grieving family agree to end their feud. Romeo and Juliet begins as the Chorus introduces two feuding families of Verona: the Capulets and the Montagues. On a hot summer's day, the young men of each faction fight until the Prince of Verona intercedes and threatens to banish them. Soon after, the head of the Capulet family plans a feast.