romeo and juliet Essay

491 WordsOct 23, 20082 Pages
One of the most popular romantic tragedies in all of English literature, Romeo and Juliet has entertained readers and theatergoers for nearly four hundred years. The play is based on Arthur Brooke’s poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet, published in 1562, which tells the story of two young lovers frustrated by fate and destroyed by their own out of control obsession. Despite the close similarities between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Brooke’s poem, there are also some important differences. The two books have some differences like, for instance, his expansion of the character Mercutio. Where Mercutio is barely mentioned in Brooke’s version of the book, and Shakespeare makes him into a lively character who also serves as an obvious distinction to the obsessed Romeo early on in the play. Another disjunction between the two books is the way Shakespeare reduces the path of Brookes’s story from the number of months to just a few days, adding to the sense of importance and approaching fate, as well as protecting his lovers from a thought of wicked behavior – something Brooke’s hero and heroine never manage to overcome. Critics have projected three main ways of interpreting Shakespeare's appearance of the conditions in Romeo and Juliet. One reason is to regard Romeo and Juliet as helpless victims of the random operation of fate. Many tricks of probability in the play support this theory: for example, Romeo's failed attempt to stop the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt and Friar John's inability to leave Verona due to the plague. A second serious point of view is that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of Providence, or divine will. A third interpretation of Shakespeare's tragic design holds that the lovers' own reckless passion leads to their double suicide. Closely related to the dilemma of Shakespeare's tragic design is the question of the play's

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