Ovid’s Pyramus And Thisbe Influence On Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet

1051 words - 4 pages

One can hardly argue against Shakespeare’s love affair with classic literature. Within a few pages of his works you are sure to sense an aura of the writings of great, ancient authors, and, of all those authors, Ovid was Shakespeare’s most beloved. The two writers’ connection has been noticed from almost the beginning of Shakespeare's career. Ovid was Shakespeare's master of poetry. Ovid’s influence over Shakespeare’s works is clearly evident in one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic plays, Romeo and Juliet. Although Shakespeare may have extremely embellished the story, the plot of Romeo and Juliet is extremely parallel to the one in Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe. The two stories share a common theme. And the stories’ conclusion is essentially identical. It is clear to see, apart from Shakespeare’s extra ornate details, that the stories of Romeo and Juliet and Pyramus and Thisbe are extremely related to each other.
In Ovid’s story, the parents of Thisbe and Pyramus forbids the two from seeing each other, which is the same decree the parents of Romeo and Juliet made for their children. All of the lovers make the decision to go against their parents and secretly plot a way to be with each other; Pyramus and Thisbe plan to run away together, while Juliet and Romeo plan to be married in private. In both stories there is a young couple in love and desperate to be with each other, no matter the consequences may be, and in the end they all pay the ultimate cost. Cleary, Ovid’s and Shakespeare’s stories follow the same basic plot, from the beginning, where the love begins, to the end, where everyone is left dead.
Love: it can surge you up, or it can tear you down; it can launch wars and put an end to them as well. The power of love is a force that no one can outstand. The stories of Pyramus and Thisbe and Romeo and Juliet teaches this lesson well: Love is mighty, and it can blind you. Ovid chooses this for his theme in Pyramus and Thisbe. When Thisbe is assumed dead by Pyramus after he finds her veil covered in blood, Pyramus becomes so frenzied that he decides to kill himself exclaiming “...‘accipe nunc' inquit 'nostri quoque sanguinis haustus!’”(Which means “‘accept now', he said, 'my blood as well’”.) He stabs himself, just as Thisbe comes out of hiding from a lioness. After watching her love die, she stabs herself as well. Thisbe even recognizes the potent of love by saying “...’tua te manus’ inquit ‘amorque perdidit...”(Which means “...’your hand’ she said’ and love has destroyed you…”.) Shakespeare followed Ovid’s lead and used the same theme for Romeo and Juliet. The love Juliet and Romeo shared was so vigorous that not only did it add fuel to the bitter dispute the montagues and the capulets shared, it also “...with their death bury their parents' strife...”(brought an end to a long fight between their parents.) When Romeo is banished, Juliet is so desperate to be with him she takes an iffy drug to make it happen. The drug makes her appear...

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