Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Romeo and Juliet (Analysis)

I would give this Tragedy of Shakespeare 7/10 

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most well known and quoted work of Shakespeare.  Almost everyone has heard of the story, but few have read it through.  I found many misconceptions between the story I heard about and videos I watched compared to what I read.  The main story line is simple.  Two houses are at war the house of Capulet and the House of Montague.  The book begins with a fight between the two houses and the Prince getting angry at both sides threatening any who would disrupt the towns peace.  It then breaks away with Romeo who pretty much spends the entire book either in mourning or being love struck.

In the beginning Romeo is not infatuated with Juliet.  In fact he has not even laid his eyes upon her.  He is first sad that Rosaline will not be with him.  Rosaline plays no major role within the story itself, but sets the tone of Romeos passion.  He goes to a ball in the Capulets place and this is where he first meets Juliet.  They instantly fall in love of course finding no one from either house who understands the passion between them and they are constantly told to look elsewhere for love.

In one of the fights between the houses Romeo ends up killing a member of Capulet and as punishment banished.  He mourns and leaves saying over and over that death would be better than banishment.  The friar works with Juliet in a plan avoid getting married to Paris a friend of the Capulet house.  The plan is Juliet will take a potion that makes her look dead and Romeo will come and take her away.  The friar and Juliet set the plan into motion, but are unable to get the message to Romeo that Juliet is only asleep and not really dead.

Romeo hears of the death and ends up coming back.  He goes into the Capulet house where Paris is mourning for for Juliet.  They fight and Romeo kills Paris then takes a poison that kills himself.  Juliet awakes sees what has happened and kills herself to join Romeo.

I found the story line itself somewhat boring mainly since I knew it before reading it.  I do not read Shakespeare for the story I read him for the use of language.  It really does not matter what the story is if you are a lover of poetic language you will admire the way Shakespeare delivers his prose.  My favorite example of this is probably the best known part of the play and is written as follows:
(Juliet steps out on the balcony and Romeo begins speaking)
"But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady; O, it is my love!
O that she knew she were!"

Written by Shakespeare

This short quote when Romeo stands below and attempts to Woo Juliet is one of many amazing uses of language and poetics.  With language such as this the story will play little since the language is so incredibly strong.  Another part of Shakespeare which I absolutely adore is the dynamic characters.  Within Romeo and Juliet my absolute favorite is the Drama Queen Mercutio.  In this quote from Mercutio he is literally talking about how little the subject matters on which he is speaking.  Placing drama where none belongs and making it worthwhile is a skill few have the master of course being Shakespeare:

"True, I talk of dreams;
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy;
Which is as thin of substance as the air,
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
Even now the frozen bosom of the North,..."

This is what Mercutio began saying after Romeo told him what they were talking about did not matter.  He goes on for a full page of how little meaning it had blowing the conversation way out of portion. Before I close I would like to say that even though the way Shakespeare displayed content was amazing it certainly is not the best work of his which I have read.  The characters within this Tragedy were no quite believable.  I know he loves to make insane characters, but in this piece he went a little too far.  The reason for this was to prove a point that love is the most important thing that has ever been on this earth, but the way given goes a little overboard.

I hope you enjoyed this review and even though I am not sure I think my next analysis will probably be Herman Melville "Moby-Dick" or Dean Koontz "Lightning".  Thanks for reading.

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