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Romeo and Juliet

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2016 at 3:39 AM
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Just finished reading this (a translated to modern English version) with DS today and I just really never realized how crappy this story truly is.

I never even realized they actually DID get married, and it happens after a DAY? One DAY? Come on people.

And then, oh yeah, in matter of a day or two her father decides Juliet's ready to marry someone she barely knows in just a couple of days when before he said she wasn't old enough and should be courted. 

Why is this considered some great love story? Yuck.

We're going to watch the 1996 modernized version with the Elizabethan old English because, in all honesty, it's the only one I can get through, and probably the only one I can probably get DS to watch.

I really just don't get the thrill of this crap. Do you (or will you) teach Shakespeare?

by on Jan. 23, 2016 at 3:39 AM
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by Member on Jan. 23, 2016 at 3:46 AM

We've not read any stories in detail yet.  Dd is in 6th and we haven't gotten that far.  We have watched the Leo version of R&J and she enjoyed it.  But yes, it's not the best example of a love story.  Even dd thought the whole thing was silly. 

by on Jan. 23, 2016 at 5:03 AM
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On the surface, "Romeo and Juliet" does seem to stink as a love story.  But it was not meant to be a classic love story but rather a Romantic Tragedy - a genre that was rather unusual as tragedies were typically political.  The important themes of "R&J" love vs. lust, parent/child conflict, role of women, definition of masculinity, light vs. darkness, and the passage of time.  In Shakespeares' comedies, he continually pokes fun at relationships between men and women as well as relationships between elders and the young.  Often parents are projected as being stupid and not knowing what is best for their children.  

As far as Shakespeares' use of language, it is masterful.  Look at the beginning of "R&J".  The introduction is written in the form of a sonnet so the audience knows that it is going to be a romance or a love story.  But the verbiage used ("death" "tragedy") sets the stage for what is going to follow.  Shakespeare invented iambic pentameter and the soliloquy!

I believe it is important to teach Shakespeare but I don't really love "Romeo and Juliet".  However, without "R&J", we wouldn't have the phrases "What's in a name?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and "wild goose-chase".  

by Member on Jan. 23, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Shakespeare has three play categories, Tragedy, History, or Comedy. It's not exactly a love story. We read it in high school and I was like "WTF is this crap?" but then we talked about it more in depth in college and I got a much deeper understanding of the story and why it isn't considered a Romance story. 

msb64, you hit it right on the head. 

I have to say my favorites are Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth. 

by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2016 at 10:21 AM
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It's not really a "love story."  

It's really more a story about a family feud, and what gets lost when social authority is flouted.  If various individuals in the families hadn't continued the violence they wouldn't have lost their children.  The kids wouldn't have married (or if they had it would have been with family approval and support).  No one would have been killed, etc.  

It's pretty clear that Shakespeare didn't think that their romance was deep.  Look at Romeo -- he was "in love" with another girl just one day before he meets Juliet, and, as you point out, they get married after one day.   

by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2016 at 11:57 AM
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My kids are into theater, and one guaranteed way to get my DD to read is to hand her a play script. I just ordered several of Shakespeare's plays actually.
by Group Admin on Jan. 23, 2016 at 6:18 PM

OK, while some of it (the marrying off a child of that) is more offensive/outrageous to us than it would have been to them, and the "falling in love in a day" is sort of rediculous, I could name gobs and gobs of modern movies with the same basic plot idea, even if they don't get married at the end of the day--where they fall in love and are willing to die for each other after a day or a few days (Titanic, nearly every Disney Movie,  etc.), care more about their love interest than the parent who raised them  (Zorro, and Tangled among others).

Shakespeare does have some things that make it rise above a lot of the movies I mentioned, but basically it was  entertainment.  It's main purpose was to fill theater seats--and Shakespeare wasn't above being gratuitous.  And, like many other great writers he had no problem sacrificing realism for a good story ("suspension of disbelief" may be a new term, but it's been going on since storytelling first began.   You sort of have to do that with Romeo and Juliet to enjoy it. 

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