Criticism On The Morality Of "Romeo And Juliet"

1776 words - 7 pages

A CRITICISM ON THE MORALITY OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'SROMEO AND JULIETDoes Romeo and Juliet need an introduction? Of all Shakespeare's plays, it has been the most continuously popular since its first performance in the mid-1590's. It would seem, then, the most direct of Shakespeare's plays in its emotional impact. In this paper, the researcher examines the play Romeo and Juliet, its contents, characters, setting and theme being criticized.During his second period, Shakespeare brought historical drama and Elizabethan romantic comedy to near perfection. Particular in his histories and comedies of this period, Shakespeare demonstrated his genius for weaving various dramatic nations into a unified plot, rather than writing a series of loosely connect episodes. Throughout the second period, Shakespeare moved steadily toward the matchless gift for characterization that marks the great tragedies he produced in the early 1600's.Romeo and Juliet derives its story from several sources available during the sixteenth century.Shakespeare's primary source for the play is Arthur Brooke's Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet (1562), which is a long, dense poem. This poem in turn was on a French prose version written by Pierre Boiastuau (1559), who had used an Italian version by Bandello written in 1554. Bandello's poem was further derived from Luigi da Porto's version in 1525 of a story by Masuccio Salerhitano (1476).In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a world of violence and generational conflict in which two young people fall in love and die because of that love. The story is rather extraordinary in that the normal problems faced by young lovers are here so very large. It is not simply that the families of Romeo and Juliet disapprove of the lover's affection for each other; rather, the Montagues and Capulets are on opposite sides in a blood feud and are trying to kill each other on the streets of Verona. Every time a member of one of the families dies in the fight, his relatives demand the blood of his killer. Because of the feud, he will be killed. Once Romeo is banished, the only way that Juliet can avoid being married to someone else is to take a potion that apparently kills her, so that she is buried with the bodies of her slain relatives. In thisviolent, death-filled world, the movement of the story from love to the union of the lovers in death seems almost inevitable.What is so striking about this play is that, despite its extraordinary setting (one perhaps reflecting Elizabethan attitudes about hot-blooded Italians), it has become the quintessential story of a young love. Because most young lovers feel that they have to overcome giant obstacles in order to be together, because they feel that they would rather die than be kept apart, and especially because the language that Shakespeare gives his young lovers is so exquisite, allowing them to say to each other just what we would all say to a lover if we only knew how, it is easy to respond to this...

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