The Greatest Love Story Of All Time

1588 words - 7 pages

Romeo and Juliet—the greatest love story of all time. What an odd thing to say about a play with one off-stage sex scene and seven on-stage deaths. Why would a book with such renown be removed from any list of great books? Some people may look at the story and say it holds immature values. After all, from a very straightforward angle, the story is about two teenagers killing themselves because they cannot have what they want. There is much more to the story, however, and by analyzing its origin, setting, structure, writing, ***, one can discover the true depth of the play.
Let’s quickly review the plot—Romeo goes to a party to get over a girl, Rosalind, with whom he is completely obsessed. ...view middle of the document...

This story itself borrowed from many tragical romances dating back to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Brook refers to his story as about “A couple of unfortunate lovers, thralling themselves to unhonest desire; neglecting the authority and vice of parents and friends… attempting all adventures of peril for th’ attaining of their wished lust… abusing the honourable name of lawful marriage.”
Brook’s poem appears to be a fairly standard poem about unruly teenagers receiving the typical punishment for their unruliness, death. Shakespeare, however, offers a much more compassionate view of the lovers, as his play encourages us to empathize with them. While the two certainly do lust for each other, they are polite about it, as their most amorous (on-stage) scene has them physically distanced by a balcony. Shakespeare even uses the type of sacred metaphors recommended by etiquette experts of the day pertaining to courtship. Also, Shakespeare’s Juliet is only thirteen, while in other versions of the story, she is sixteen or older. Making her character younger makes it harder to see Juliet as a dishonest harlot.
Shakespeare may have also been influenced by the love poems of Petrarch, who is much more approving of intense adoration. However, the play cannot be seen as an endorsement of “following your heart”, as doing so gets the main characters dead.
Now, take a look at the setting. Shakespeare set the play in Verona, Italy, because the other stories had. But, more than that, when writing a play concerning certain morality and values (like individuals’ responsibilities to their own interests versus their responsibilities to their families, and the larger social order, for instance) it’s much safer to set it in faraway Italy. While Romeo and Juliet is a love story, it’s also a political story. The Montagues and Capulets often ignore the proclamations of the prince of Verona, and arguably the biggest hurdle to the main characters’ love is when the prince exiles Romeo. Should one be loyal first to his/her own feelings? Or to family? Or faith? Or prince? These are not just the questions of an obsessed teenager, these are central questions of Elizabethan England. However, the romance itself is very hot-blooded, Mediterranean, and Catholic. The stereotype of Italians being passionate goes back very far, and Shakespeare takes advantage of it.
Let’s turn briefly to the structure. The play is, of course, a tragedy, and Shakespeare’s tragedies follow the same structure of tragedies first described by Aristotle. The tragedy occurs when a mostly good character or characters of nobility (Romeo and Juliet) make an error (getting married too quickly, ignoring the feud) and are brought low (double suicide).
While this narrative of tragedy, of noble people suffering when they act badly, is not reflected often in the real world, it remains a really powerful idea, both in our fiction, and in the way we imagine our world around us. What makes the Shakespearean tragedy so interesting...

Find Another Essay On The Greatest Love Story of all time

Pelé - One of the Greatest Soccer Players of All Time

1883 words - 8 pages Pelé - One of the Greatest Soccer Players of All Time Athletic Genius, Soccer Legend, Master of Offense, Pelé. All are names for Edson Arantes do Nascimento, undoubtedly one of the greatest soccer players of all time. The purpose of this essay is to inform you about the things Pelé accomplished throughout his life and career, and also about what he did that effected the world so much. Pelé was born on October 23rd, 1940, in the

Friedrich Nietzsche: One of the Greatest Thinkers of All Time

1633 words - 7 pages objective truths and untruths, right and wrong, and focus on the individual society and what it's made up of. He laid the foundation for numerous of other great thinkers, a new movement called existentialism, and even mistakenly the Nazis. His name is still uttered every day around the world in school buildings, books, discussions, and magazines not only because of what he said, but because of the impact what he said had on the world. Friedrich Nietzsche to this day is unsurprisingly regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of his time and will remain that way for centuries to come.

Donatello: One of the Greatest Artist of All Time

1106 words - 5 pages commemorate our history, and to put ideas into tangible forms. The universal psyche of our species is developed by monumental, and oftentimes biblical, pieces of work. One of the most talented and critical artists of all time was Donatello. Born in 1386 in Florence, Italy, Donatello made use of natural talent and high-priced education to start making a living off of commissions at a young age. His first great work was the life-sized sculpture, “David

Isambard Kingdom Brunel: The Second Greatest Brit of All Time

969 words - 4 pages Isambard Kingdom Brunel: The Second Greatest Brit of All Time Less than five percent separates Isambard Kingdom Brunel from Winston Churchill in a survey about the greatest Britons, making him the second greatest Briton of all time ("The Greatest Britons List"). Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a British engineer who designed and built many important constructs. He was a dedicated engineer who showed his versatility through his numerous projects

Why John Locke is the Greatest Philosopher of all Time

1615 words - 7 pages Why John Locke is the Greatest Philosopher of all Time John Locke was a British philosopher and physician who lived from 29th August 1632 to 28th October 1704. He is one of the most outstanding of enlightenment thinkers, who explained many of the ideas that affect human life in today’s society. He is widely known as the father of classical liberalism, because of his emphases on liberty of persons by, restricting the authority of the government

Greatest College Basketball Coach of All Time

2435 words - 10 pages the greatest college basketball coach of all time. He is the best college basketball coach because, most importantly, he puts his players first, he has an unbelievable reputation for sending young athletes the NBA, he is a great recruiter, he has proven that he is a winner, and he has accomplished an incredible amount of accomplishments at such a young age. As a parent, the main component that you look for in a coach is that he cares for your

michael jackson greatest entertainer of all time

844 words - 3 pages that many people believe that he is the greatest entertainer in the world. On top of all that, he has won another 9 awards and has been nominated for 11 awards. He has accomplished so much throughout his life and continues to accomplish many things even now that he is gone. To become the greatest entertainer in the world, you need to be able to do more than just sing. Michael Jackson could not only sing, but he was also an extremely talented

"Babe Ruth Is Greatest Of All Time"

576 words - 2 pages homerun hitter of all time but he also had the best average of any power hitter.It has been argued for years that "Hammering" Hank Aaron was a better homerun hitter than Babe Ruth. Many factors play into the fact that Aaron had more homeruns than Ruth, not to take anything away from Aaron's 755 career homeruns. Ruth though was mainly a pitcher for the first five years of his career. This took away two to three hundred at-bats a year for

This is the biography of the greatest actor of all time, Marlon Brando

10810 words - 43 pages Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled as an actor only by the more-theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his

Miles Davis: One of the Greatest Jazz Musicians of All Time

1345 words - 5 pages It would be an understatement to say that Miles Dewey Davis III was one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. Widely considered one of the most revolutionary and influential figures in the history of music of the twentieth century, Miles Davis has played an integral role in shaping the sounds of jazz, one of the few uniquely and entirely American genres. Needless to say, the brilliant artistry that coolly flowed from his trumpet speaks

Napoleon Bonaparte as One of the Greatest Military Leaders of all Time

1928 words - 8 pages Napoleon Bonaparte as One of the Greatest Military Leaders of all Time Napoleon Bonaparte is considered one of the greatest military leaders of all time. His victories were decisive, powerful and brought greatness to a suffering France. His military power reigned supreme for over fifteen years until the drive that got him to where he was brought him to ruin. The question that I am plagued by is; How was Napoleon able

Similar Essays

The Greatest Essay Of All Time

1736 words - 7 pages This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is the greatest essay of all time. This is

Scarface The Greatest Movie Of All Time

800 words - 3 pages yet another reason why this is the greatest movie of all time.      Lastly, the reason that Scarface should be considered the best movie of all time is simply because it has all the characteristics of a great movie. Rather it’s the great screenplay by Al Pacino, the unbelievable script by Brian DePalma, or the awesome development of the plot, Scarface has all the elements of a legendary film. If one was to list the

The Greatest Bands/Artists Of All Time

2325 words - 9 pages +) and revenue.The largest number of advance orders for a single (2.1 million copies in the U.S. for "Can't Buy Me Love").The Beatles had the fastest selling single of all time with ("I Want To Hold Your Hand", which sold 250,000 copies within 3 days, and one million in 2 weeks.The Beatles are the only artist to have back-to-back-to-back number one singles on Billboard's Hot 100.The Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard singles chart at

Greatest Of All Time? Hardly Essay

1171 words - 5 pages Reyna, Tab Ramos, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, while Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda were the voters' choices at the forward position. These are all great players who achieved much during their time on the national team. However, the list only covers the final quarter of the federation's century of existence. What of the first 75 years? Rather than celebrating the federation's centenary, it seems to show how shallow the roots really are