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All You Need To Know About Shakespeare
The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
             

      Romeo and Juliet
Much Ado About Nothing
Twelfth Night
The Tempest
A Midsummer Night's Dream
As You Like It


Characters:
Juliet- daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet
Capulet- head of the Capulet family;  father of Juliet;  enemy of Montague
Lady Capulet- wife of Capulet;  mother of Juliet
The Nurse- Juliet's nurse and friend
Paris- relative of the Prince;  most favored suitor of Juliet (by her father)
Tybalt- cousin of Juliet on her mother's side;  supreme hater of Montagues
Friar Laurence- Friend to Romeo and Juliet;  Franciscan monk
Romeo- son of Montague and Lady Montague
Montague- head of the Montague family;  enemy of Capulet
;  father of Romeo
Lady Montague- wife of Montague; mother of Romeo
Prince Escalus- Prince of Verona;  relative to Mercutio and Paris
Benvolio- Montague's nephew and Romeo's cousin and friend
Mercutio- relative of the Prince;  close friend of Romeo
Friar John- Monk sent by Laurence to Romeo with news of Juliet's death
Balthasar- servant of Romeo
Sampson- servant of the Capulet house
Gregory- servant of the Capulet house
Abram- servant of Montague
The Apothecary- apothecary in Mantua who sells Romeo the poison
Peter- servant of Capulet
Rosaline- woman who Romeo is in love with at the start of the play;  she is destined for a nunnery

   Plot: Romeo and Juliet, written in 1594 (published in 1597), centers in on two feuding families of Verona: the Capulets and the Montagues.  Romeo, a young Montague, is  in love with Rosaline (a woman who is destined for a nunnery) and miserable.  Juliet, a young Capulet, is to be married to the count of Paris, whether she likes it or not.  These two will unwittingly shake up the ideas they have been raised on.
    The play opens in a market, where servants from the families get into a fight.  Benvolio tries to stop the fighting, but instead gets wrapped up in it when Tybalt shows up.  The Prince arrives on the scene and says anyone feuding who disturbs the peace will be killed.  
    Benvolio finds Romeo moping about.  Benvolio finds out it is because Rosaline doesn't love Romeo, and tries to cheer him up by telling Romeo that there are many other beautiful women, and Romeo should forget her.  He won't.  Romeo's friends take him to a masked ball  at the Capulet's in an attempt to raise his spirits. He goes, and there he and Juliet see each other for the first time.  It's love at first sight.  Tybalt sees Romeo and recognizes him, but Capulet stops him from ruining the festivities.  Romeo is known for being peace loving, and fighting would be unpleasant at a ball.  Later that night, Romeo goes to the Capulet's house again in hopes of seeing Juliet.  Thus the famous balcony scene.  Both declare their love for each other, but Juliet must go back inside because her nurse calls.  They agree to meet the next day at nine.  
    The next morning, Romeo goes to Friar Laurence to ask that the Friar marry Romeo and Juliet.  The Friar hesitates to agree, but then the thought occurs to him that perhaps this marriage could end the feud between the Capulets and Montagues.  He consents to wed the two.  Benvolio and Mercutio  meet him in the road, and tell him Tybalt has delivered a message to their house for him.  Juliet's nurse comes along, and Romeo tells her to get Juliet to come to Friar Laurence's cell that afternoon under the disguise of confession.  Then they would be wed.  The nurse goes back to Juliet and delivers that message. The couple are wed.  
     The next day, Benvolio and Mercutio come across Tybalt.  He is still angry about Romeo coming to the feast, and indeed the message delivered yesterday is a challenge to Romeo.  Then Romeo pops up. Romeo, being related to Tybalt now, begs Tybalt to hold off for at least a while.  Mercutio finds the plea for peace absolutely revolting, and says that he'll do the dueling.  Tybalt and Mercutio begin to fight, ignoring Romeo.  Desperate to do something, Romeo places himself between Mercutio and Tybalt. Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo's arm, and Mercutio falls.  Romeo is taken by anger, and kills Tybalt on the spot.  Romeo flees the scene, but the prince finds out and banishes Romeo to Mantua.  Romeo must leave the next day.
    Juliet in the meantime is nervously waiting for her new husband.  The nurse enters and after some babbling on her part, Juliet finds out what Romeo has done.  She is caught in a conflict.  She is suddenly married to a man who killed her kinsman.  However, Juliet decides that her loyalty belongs to her husband, Romeo.  
    That night Romeo sneaks into the orchard of the Capulets and spends the night with Juliet.  At dawn, the two part.  Juliet soon finds out that her father has decided that she is to marry Paris in three days.  Juliet is not sure what her next actions should be, so she asks the Nurse for advice.  The Nurse tells Juliet to act as though Romeo is dead and marry Paris.  Juliet is totally appalled with the Nurse's betrayal and goes to Friar Laurence.   He comes up with a plan to give Juliet a poison that will make it appear that she is dead.  She won't have to marry Paris, and when the poison's effects wear off, she will wake in her tomb.  At that time Romeo will meet her, and they will be reunited.  Juliet goes home happily, only to find out that the wedding is to be moved forward a day.  She is to be married tomorrow.  That night, she takes the potion.  Her nurse discovers her the next morning, and they all think she's dead.  On the day of her wedding to Paris, she is buried in her family's tomb.  
    Romeo hears that Juliet is dead.  The message from Friar Laurence telling him of the whole plot is missed, because Friar John (the messenger) is held up in a quarantined house.  Deciding that he cannot live without Juliet, Romeo buys poison from a reluctant apothecary.  Romeo goes to the tomb to find Paris mourning.  Romeo kills Paris, and enters the tomb.  He sees Juliet's apparently dead body, and despairs.  He drinks the poison, and dies beside her.  One moment too late, Friar Laurence shows up and realizes that Romeo has killed not only himself but Paris as well.  At the same late moment, Juliet wakes up.  Friar Laurence begs Juliet to go with him, but she refuses to leave Romeo's body.  Friar Laurence hears the watch and runs away.  Juliet, who doesn't find any left over poison, grabs Romeo's dagger and kills herself.
    The watch shows up, and are followed by the Prince, the Capulets, and Montague.  Montague informs everybody that Lady Montague has died from grief over Romeo's exile.  After seeing the dead bodies of their children, Capulet and Montague end their feud, and raise a gold statue of the other's child side by side.  Verona knows peace.

Quotes/excerpts:  
Romeo:
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!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
act ii;  scene ii
   
Juliet:
 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
act ii;  scene ii


Mercutio:  A plague o' both your houses!
act iii; scene i

Review:  This is considered one of the most beautiful plays.  It is indeed the most quotable, with "Wherefore art thou Romeo", and "A plague o' both your houses", and "It is the east and Juliet is the sun".  It is perhaps one of the most romantic and powerful.  Romeo and Juliet is also a cautionary tale, warning us of the impact of the grudges we hold.  You may start a feud with some one now, carry it on, and then twenty years from now your children die. You could accidentally kill your child, because you raise them on hate.  It calls into question our fights we think are absolutely necessary.  A strong message that is in Romeo and Juliet is that love can bind together what has been torn apart, and that hate will ultimately bring destuction.     

Shakespeare in Love (1998)  
Shakespeare In Love  
Directed by- John Madden
Written by- Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

Cast-
William Shakespeare- Joseph Fiennes
Viola De Lesseps- Gweneth Paltrow
Philip Henslowe- Geoffrey Rush
Hugh Fennyman- Tom Wilkinson
Richard Burbage- Martin Clunes
Tilney- Simon Callow
Ned Alleyn- Ben Affleck
Lord Wessex- Colin Firth

Review-  Will Shakespeare is in trouble.   He is supposed to write a play for Henslowe and Fennyman, but he hasn't written a word.  Auditions are held, and Viola De Lesseps, a young noble woman with a love of theater, goes as a boy. Will follows her back to her house, and finds out who she is via ball.  The movie takes off.  This movie is a charming take on how Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet.  It is rated R for sexual content, but don't let that stop you from watching it. While there are some historical inaccuracies, this movie is definitely worth while.    

                                                                               

Sources:
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
www.imdb.com
www.smithtown.k12.ny.us
www.sparknotes.com
www-tech.mit.edu