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.
That50 Romeo should, upon receipt51 thereof, Soon sleep52 in quiet.53 O how my heart abhors 100 To hear him named and cannot54 come to him,55 To wreak56 the love I bore my cousin Tybalt Upon his body57 that58 hath slaughtered him. Lady Capulet Find thou the means, and I’ll find such a man. But now I’ll tell thee joyful tidings, girl. 105 Juliet And joy comes well in such a needy time. What are they, I beseech your ladyship? 46 Lady Capulet hears “till I behold [Romeo] dead.” But
affords65 no law to make thee rich. Then be not poor, but break it66 and take this. Apothecary My poverty but not my will consents. 75 Romeo I pay thy poverty and not thy will. Apothecary Put this in any liquid thing you will67 And drink it off,68 and if you had the strength Of twenty men, it would dispatch69 you straight. Romeo There is thy gold – worse poison to men’s souls, 80 Doing more murder in this loathsome world, Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell. I sell70
world-wearied flesh.76 ( to himself ) Eyes, look your last. Arms, take your last embrace! ( embracing Juliet) And lips, O you The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss 115 A dateless bargain to engrossing Death.77 ( kisses Juliet) ( to the poison) Come, bitter conduct,78 come, unsavory79 guide, 68 put an end to, cut off 69 Tybalt (cousin by marriage) 70 without body/material substance 71 lady love, mistress 72 (1) storehouse, (2) palatial/stately mansion 73 with worms ϭ together
dreams he of another benefice. Sometimes she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes, And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two And sleeps again.This is that very Mab That plats the manes of horses in the night And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hair, Which once untangled much misfortune bodes. This is the
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