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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
Shakespeare's tragic drama of the "star-crossed" young lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet is best remembered for the famous balcony scene. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are teenagers who fall deeply in love but their families are bitter enemies. They seize the moment and marry in secret, they make every effort to conceal their actions but these end in tragedy when Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio and Paris all die.

Themes running through the play address the issues of the consequences of immature blind passion, hatred and prejudice.

Information provided about the play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616 ) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that the play was first performed between 1594 and 1595. In the Elizabethan era 
there was a huge demand for new entertainment and the tragedy would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date was first printed
It is believed that Romeo and Juliet was first printed in 1597. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings
The settings for the production are Verona and Mantua in Italy

The play Romeo and Juliet is categorised as a Tragedy

Number of words
The number of words in Romeo and Juliet, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 25,948 

Most important characters
The most important characters in Romeo and Juliet are:
Montague and Juliet Capulet.

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from Romeo and Juliet are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'Parting is such sweet sorrow' and 'What's in a name'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click the link for the full text of the script of the play.

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun" . (Act II, Scene II).

"Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."
(Act II, Scene II).

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".
(Act II, Scene II).

History of the play
Romeo and Juliet was based on real lovers who lived in Verona, Italy who died for each other in the year 1303. At that time the Capulets and Montagues were among the inhabitants of Verona. 

William Shakespeare's Main Source
Shakespeare found the story in Arthur Brooke's poem 'The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet' (1562). 

Inspiration from the play
Romeo and Juliet has inspired other works, such as Berlioz's dramatic symphony (1839), Tchaikovsky's fantasy-overture (1869-80), and Prokofiev's full-length ballet (1938).
The academy award winning musical West Side Story is based on the story of Romeo and Juliet.

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Text - script of the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Index of plays by William Shakespeare
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