1. notleia says:

    Ha, I probably have that same book bludgeon I kept from college. ALL the plays, and ALL the sonnets, in one not-actually-convenient package.
    But yeah, R&J is a picture of immature love. They were star-crossed in the sense that they were born into families/a society that set them up to fail. Would Romeo have killed himself over Rosalind? Heck, he didn’t, because he could respectably moon over her until he got over it.
    The (better) play about a more mature love would be Much Ado (with Benedict and Beatrice rather than the two boring chits that have top billing).

    • Autumn Grayson says:

      I read Much Ado About Nothing on a whim and actually enjoyed it. Though the title is extremely fitting :p

      • Lauren Beauchamp says:

        I actually was going to bring up Much Ado About Nothing too! One of my favorites. As a whole I like Shakespeare’s comedies better than the tragedies. Best college class ever — and I saved all my English major textbooks too — all my Norton anthologies and the giant Shakespeare brick of a book. Prepping for their 5th move and I’m still keeping them!

  2. Chris says:

    Hilarious! It almost makes me want to read R&J, but I am steadfastly resisting on the grounds that I’m supposed to be reading one book a week in my genre.

  3. My parents forced me to go to see Henry the IV, part 1 when I was 10. I went in grumpy, but was awed by the pre-show troubadors, then awed by the swordfights on stage, then humored by Falstaff’s locker room level jokes (plus, the actor actually spit his drink all over the first three rows, which I thought was the height of comedy – I was 10). I was bored by the history, but the sword fighting was wonderful! I vowed to read and or watch everything written by Shakespeare. I did. It took me 14 years. Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be performed. They are best in the context of history, of his time and of their references. R&J was one of his first plays and reads like it. He based it on an Italian play and the original source – a Greek myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. He later made fun of R+J and his sources in Midsummer Night’s Dream. While I no longer have a poster of Shakespeare in my wall like I did in college and while I never loved R+J (and have never thought of it as romance), I still enjoy The Comedy of Errors (performed is better than read), Macbeth aka the Scottish play, and many others.
    Shakespeare was flawed. His time was not perfect. But he did something unique that has lasted, and not only because he’s required reading for many.

  4. Abigail Falanga says:

    I’ve never READ Romeo and Juliet, but I did listen to it – an excellent dramatized production starring Kenneth Brannagh and Sophie Thompson. I was struck by the same thing you were, that the whole thing was almost senselessly tragic. But one thing I loved about it was how the production emphasized that Juliet knew this. She was much more mature than Romeo, wanting to avoid their foolish choices, but swept along by passion. They were both children, but at least she knew it.

  5. Romeo and Juliet is a great way to look at teen love. Everything is life and death and the world is ending.
    Once you look at it in that light, it can really help you enjoy it more.
    But reading it as a freshman in high school all I could see was how the enjoyment of a great play was destroyed by pedantic teaching.

What do you think?